Kony: What Jason did not tell the Invisible Children

The Lord's Resistance Army is a Ugandan problem calling for a Ugandan political solution.

Mahmood Mamdani in Al Jazeera:

ScreenHunter_04 Mar. 15 11.48Only two weeks ago, Ugandan papers carried front-page reports from the highly respected Social Science Research Council of New York, accusing the Ugandan army of atrocities against civilians in the Central African Republic while on a mission to fight Joseph Kony and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). The army denied the allegations. Many in the civilian population however, especially in the north, were sceptical of the denial. Like all victims, they have long and enduring memories.

The adult population recalls the brutal government-directed counterinsurgency campaign, beginning in 1986, which evolved into Operation North, the first big operation in the country that people talk about as massively destructive for civilians, and which created the conditions that gave rise to the LRA of Joseph Kony and, before it, the Holy Spirit Movement of Alice Lakwena.

Young adults recall the time from the mid-1990s when most rural residents of the three Acholi districts were forcibly interned in camps. The Ugandan government claimed it was to “protect” them from the LRA. But there were allegations of murder, bombings, and the burnings of entire villages: first to force people into the camps, and then to force them to stay put. By 2005, the camp population grew from a few hundred thousand to over 1.8 million in the entire region – which included Teso and Lango – of which over a million were from the three Acholi districts. Comprising practically the entire rural population of the three Acholi districts, they were expected to live on handouts from relief agencies. According to the government's own Ministry of Health, the excess mortality rate in these camps was approximately 1,000 persons per week – inviting comparisons with the numbers killed by the LRA even in the worst year.

More here. Also see: Ugandans react with anger to Kony video.

And also this: “The Road to Hell Is Paved with Viral Videos” by David Rieff in Foreign Policy.

And one more (this time in favor of the video-makers): Nicholas Kristof in the NYT on Kony video.