Amigos cautious on web campaign

A Barnstaple charity has spoken out after the ‘viral’ video campaign exposing an African war lord.

FOLLOWING a video campaign on social networking websites this week to “make Kony famous”, Barnstaple charity Amigos has spoken out.

The video made by American charity Invisible Children has had more than 60 million views online in a matter of days.

The 30-minute production is campaigning for the arrest of Ugandan war lord Joseph Kony, who became infamous for abducting children and forcing them into soldiers for more than 20 years.

Phil Pugsley, director of Amigos which runs the Kira Farm project in Uganda, is concerned the video is promoting the wrong impressions of the country.


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He said: “Anything that raises awareness to get Kony brought to justice is commendable and the ability of Invisible Children to use social networking in the way they have is groundbreaking, but the backlash from Uganda has been very interesting, especially as Kony hasn’t been operating there since 2006.

“I understand there has been a lot of concern by Ugandans over the objectives of the Americans who have made the video, and they have been criticised for the lack of funds spent on the ground helping those who suffered at the hands of Kony and his rebel army.”

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There has also been concern that the video promotes the “white saviour” solution, instead of listening to the views and working with Africans to bring about the satisfactory arrest of Kony who is now thought to be in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Phil said: “We need to be so careful when we seek to ‘help others’ and ‘do good’ anywhere in the world; what we perceive as helping might not be quite what the indigenous people really want or need.

Complex

“It’s really important that we tread lightly, respect cultures and understand the complex issues we seek to help.

“What Invisible Children has done is expose one of the world’s most evil men in an unprecedented way. What they have achieved is a first in using Facebook and Twitter to bring pressure for justice. For that I take my hat off to them.”

Gazette reporter Sarah Howells visited Uganda last year and met some of the former child soldiers at, Kira Farm. Watch her video above to find out more.

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