Invisible Children’s campaign has made Kony a household name with the hope that pressure on the US government will keep American troops hunting for him in Uganda

Since the release of the Kony 2012 video, its spread like wild fire on social media forums and with millions of viewer all over the world, you feel this virtual message is jumping into your living room, where people find themselves compelled to agree, disagree, donate money, even physically participate in related activities.

For those who have not seen this 30 minute video, it is about three young American men trying to bring to light the crimes committed by Joseph Kony in Northern Uganda. Their strategy is to make Kony famous, not in a good way of course, and with mounting pressure he could be captured and prosecuted.

When people were sharing this video, I watched it only once, which was enough to annoy me. The video illustrated Uganda as a warzone, though Kony was long gone. But then with the popular demand and viewing by millions of people, I wondered if there was something wrong with me.

To get more opinions, I contacted some of my knowledgeable Ugandan friends, mostly from Northern Uganda who should hypothetically “appreciate” this initiative and they had, no kind words.

One said that “the problem was that they were using a real problem that existed, they repackaged it and submitted something fresh, that is manipulations at its worst”.

So why this sensation? The answer is simple: lack of knowledge! Some people who liked and shared this video, had no idea where Uganda was on the world map. Even the producers of the video sited Uganda as a Central African country!

I find it extremely harmful to invite ordinary people to wage war, it is even worse to involve children in the making of such videos in a bid to touch that sensitive cord in our emotions. The producer involved his own young son in this hate campaign, as if realities of life around the little boy are not enough.

But then the most dreadful part is, the continued exploitation of the name Africa in order to attain personal achievements and financial gains! Isn’t it time for Africa to improve its image and portray its good sides too?

There is so much to be proudly shared with the world but sadly we can mostly see images of NGO’s running all over villages feeding children and giving handouts. Today some are finding a short cut by using the name Africa to attract hearts and spin minds in the direction they wish. Using this name is becoming like a franchise, but it seems only for wrong reasons!

Many people still think Africans are poor, sick and live in war zones, and God knows how many poor and sick have we seen in other continents, yet not many are talking about them. And with such videos who can blame people who have not seen otherwise!
Unfortunately, in this case franchise rules are not applied after using the name only little is given back to Africa.

While living in Uganda, I have met some individuals and NGO’s who have genuinely and through their hard work, managed to help the less privileged, but do we know about them? Should we really know who they are? I do not think so, charity was never showbiz, even soliciting and collecting funds should be done in utmost privacy and discretion.

I still have one problem! Whenever I told people I lived in Uganda, they immediately said : Idi Amin Dada !! I was sort of hoping that this will go away when the older generation moves on. So if we consider the fact that the new generation are at the helm of social media today, I guess you know what phrase we will hear for many years to come.

By Nafha Maani Ebrahimi, Daily Monitor

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