Please Stop All This Phony Kony Baloney

Submitted by Andrew Stewart

Reviewing the Invisible Children platform, anyone familiar with Africa’s burgeoning oil industry quickly realizes this is merely a power grab. The group openly supports military intervention in the region under the pretenses of a peace keeping mission.

For more than three decades, Drs. Carolyn and Richard Lobban have been Africana experts.

Having studied Sudan for their entire careers, the couple, both retired from the Anthropology faculty of Rhode Island College, have been loud voices in campaigns to end human rights abuses in the region, including against Ugandan junta warlord Joseph Kony.

Kony, leader of extremist Christian militia The Lord’s Resistance Army, has an established war crimes record in multiple African nations. This is the same region that, prior to his emigration to more hospitable climes in Kabul, hosted Osama bin Ladin. There is no denying the blatant nightmare that is post-Colonial Africa.

However, in a truly sickening turn of events, it would seem that the Powers That Be, specifically Big Oil, have taken an otherwise noble cause and co-opted it into a lobby effort that would only engender more death for both Ugandans and Americans. Over the past weeks, a seemingly viral campaign, titled “Stop Kony,” has made its debut on the web. Using a 27-minute collage of flashy graphics and sleek editing, the campaign has already elicited response from major celebrities. The stated intention is to raise enough awareness internationally to lead to Kony’s arrest and trial at The Hague. So far, so good.

But the devil truly is in the details. First, the production values of the film are simply too professional to not have cost under half a million dollars. In fact, the film was produced by a charity called Invisible Children, a group the Better Business Bureau and Charity Navigator give low ratings to because of lackluster transparency and which openly admits its links to the equally wretched Sudan People’s Liberation Army. Quoted personalities and media artists featured in the film have stepped forward to explain they both were not made aware they would be featured in the program and that any reference to their work is extremely inaccurate in presentation. Finally, Ugandan newspapers express nothing but utter confusion and skepticism about a fugitive war criminal, wanted for all these years, suddenly becoming the focus of an international manhunt, coincidentally as the nation has recently found a massive cache of oil.

Reviewing the Invisible Children platform, anyone familiar with Africa’s burgeoning oil industry quickly realizes this is merely a power grab. The group openly supports military intervention in the region under the pretenses of a peace keeping mission. But that position neglects one major fact: China. Any invasion of Africa on the scale called for by Invisible Children would engender tension in the relationship between Washington and Beijing. The Chinese Army, protecting their oil refineries, would have serious qualms, and that would be the least of worries for the United States. The fragmented African branches of various extremist groups would not only have a new reason to invoke jihad, it could also re-activate the genocide of Darfur.

In the end, Big Oil is the only winner here, and no one, except for perhaps the Lobbans and their colleagues, truly grasp the actual results of such a catastrophically hawkish policy. If you are interested in becoming involved in a legitimate organization which promotes realistic goals, consider contacting the Sudan Studies Association, of which the Lobbans are founding members.

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