[BRIEF NOTE] On Kony 2012 and American Christian fundamentalists gone transnational
Uganda’s treatment of gay people has generated a lot of negative press for the country. Equally disturbing is that much of the recent prominence of the issue in Uganda is due to the work of US evangelists, who have been pushing the issue of late. One of them, Scott Lively, is being sued by an African group, Sexual Minorities Uganda, that advocates for gay rights.
Towleroad’s Andy Towle linked to a post by Alternet’s B.E. Wilson that makes the point that Invisible Children, the US-based NGO that made the Kony 2012 film, is actually closely connected to the transnational nexus of American Christian fundamentalists and their Ugandan allies, accepting funding from the National Christian Foundation that has sponsored all manner of homophobic and/or creationist NGOs in the United States. “Invisible Children Funded By Antigay, Creationist Christian Right” sets out the link in detail.
Why does it matter, if Invisible Children was funded by controversial donors? Two reasons – one, we can assume those donors thought IC aligned with their agenda – which is antagonistic to LGBT rights. Two, it fits an emerging pattern in which Invisible Children appears selectively concerned about crimes committed by Joseph Kony but indifferent to crimes, perhaps on a bigger scale, committed by their provisional partner, the government of Uganda – whose president shot his way into power using child soldiers, before Joseph Kony began using child soldiers. Like Kony, the government of Uganda was also indicted by the International Criminal Court in 2005, for human rights abuses and looting in the DRC Congo (PDF file of ICC ruling against Uganda). Like Kony, the Ugandan army preys upon civilians and is currently accused, by Western human rights groups, with raping and looting in the DRC Congo, where it is hunting for Kony. In the late 1990s, Uganda helped spark a conflict in DRC Congo that, by the middle of the next decade it is estimated, had killed up to 5.4 million civilians, more than any conflict since World War Two.
Kony 2012 simplifies the situation in Uganda. Kony 2012 also is associated with a very strong bias on affairs in Uganda and central Africa more generally that doesn’t deal terribly well with root issues.
Kony is a madman controlling a few hundred fighters, and lacks international patronage. He’s a terrible man who has done terrible things, but his power is now limited.
Yoweri Museveni controls an aggressive state with a large army that has inflicted suffering and death on millions of people, not only Congolese but the more than one million Acholi of Uganda whose homeland saw most of the fighting and who’ve been confined to terrible refugee camps for decades by their own government. Unlike Kony, Museveni certainly doesn’t lack for international patronage; he has, besides the pragmatic support of the United States government, the backing of Christian fundamentalists who want Museveni to implement all manner of Christianist policies including state-supported homophobia. Who’s worse? (Who didn’t get a film made about him?)