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Controversial film "Kony 2012" sparks backlash in U.S.

posted 19 Mar 2012, 06:04 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 19 Mar 2012, 06:05 ]

U.S.-Kony 2012 -- Controversial film "Kony 2012" sparks backlash in U.S.

CCTV BEIJING -The "Kony 2012" campaign has sparked a significant backlash in the United States.

Experts said the video over-simplifies the regional conflict and even glosses over the fact that some members of the Uganda army have also been accused of such war crimes.

"Invisible Children", the group behind the "Kony 2012" video, is now defending the video's message and addressing criticism about how it manages charitable donations.

"Kony 2012" calls for action to be taken this year to ensure that warlord Joseph Kony of Uganda is captured and brought to the International Criminal Court.

Regional expert Emira Woods of the Institute for Policy Studies is highly critical of the video.

"And I think the overall message of video - that Americans young well meaning can change face of history. And I think that strips away understanding that is critical in 21st century of Africans, of people throughout this world, taking their destiny into their own hands," said Woods.

In October of last year President Barack Obama authorized the deployment of 100 U.S. military personnel in an assistance role to help the armies in Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and the Central African Republic to track down Kony.

J. Peter Pham of the Atlantic Council said the video advocates a stronger military response.

"It endorses a military solution when even the U.S. military is saying the solution to this crisis involves a whole range of development, security and other issues that need to be brought to play. Secondly, another issue I have with this video is this notion that just because of the consciousness of mass audiences in the west is raised that you bring solutions. It treats Africans as if they were some kind of object to be rescued. This may have gone well in the 19th century, we are in the 21st century now," said Pham.

The video appears designed to appeal most to teenagers and young adults the most.

But international relations student Araba Sapara-Grand said she's encouraged her friends, who have been energized by the campaign, to be skeptical of the video.

"So people have to do their homework when it comes to this. It's not just all about because you feel bad, because you see the hurt and the suffering of one people, to just throw money at it. That's not the answer," said Araba Sapara-Grand.

In response to such criticisms "Invisible Children" Chief Executive Ben Keesey has posted a follow up video defending the group's financial record, its transparency and the video itself.

The video has been supported by the Enough Project, which is part of The Center for American Progress think tank in Washington D.C.

"The Kony 2012 film has been phenomenally successful. It's catapulted the story of a crisis that's been largely ignored for more than twenty years into the international spotlight and international conscience," said an expert from Enough Project.

The Enough Project also advocates for a broad range of solutions, including diplomatic pressure, regional engagement and the deployment of U.S. intelligence capabilities and helicopters to help track down Kony and the Lords Resistance Army.

Supporters and detractors of this controversial film agree on one thing: those who've been energized by the campaign should seek to broaden their knowledge and understanding of a series of complex regional issues.

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