Not enough focus on child soldiers' lives in "Kony 2012" -War Child

by julie-mollins | @jmollins | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Thursday, 5 April 2012 11:40 GMT

* Any views expressed in this opinion piece are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The focus of "Kony 2012" about warlord Joseph Kony should have been on helping child victims, Amanda Weisbaum says

The focus of a film calling for the capture of Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony should have been on helping child victims instead, Amanda Weisbaum of non-governmental organisation War Child UK said on Wednesday.

The 30-minute film about Kony, the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) who is accused of terrorising northern Uganda for more than 20 years, went viral on the Internet after it was released last month.

Kony is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes. He is accused of abducting children to use as fighters and sex slaves. So far, regional forces and foreign troops have been unable to capture Kony.

"Kony 2012", made by charity group Invisible Children, has been viewed almost 87 million times on YouTube and almost 18 million times on Vimeo.

In the film, which has been criticised for inaccuracies, director Jason Russell juxtaposed shots of his son with suffering Ugandan children.

“The message is wrong, it's not about Kony, it's about the children and who is suffering within the areas that the LRA are in at this time,” Weisbaum said.

“Just getting rid of one person does not solve the problem.”

Weisbaum was part of a panel discussion titled “'Kony 2012', a Force for Good?” at London’s Frontline Club for journalists, moderated by Paddy O'Connell of the BBC’s "Broadcasting House" radio current events programme.

A second film on Kony by San Diego-based Invisible Children titled "Kony 2012, Part II: Beyond Famous " was released on Thursday.

Listen to the interview with Weisbaum:

Not enough focus on child soldiers? lives in "Kony 2012" -War Child (mp3)

Picture caption - From left to right: Paddy O'Connell of BBC's "Broadcasting House"; Musa Okwonga, author, poet and musician; Benjamin Chesterton, radio documentary producer, co-founder of Duckrabbit; Mareike Schomerus, director of Justice and Security Research Programme at London School of Economics; Callum Macrae, filmmaker and journalist who made a film about Joseph Kony and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in 2003; Amanda Weisbaum, programmes director at War Child UK.

(Editing by Rebekah Curtis)

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