Opinion

The Great Debate

Don’t dismiss the Kony video

Last fall, my high school history teacher showed our class a documentary called Invisible Children. It was amazing: We got to know a boy in Uganda named Jacob, who shared his fears about being abducted again and talked about why he would never be normal. It made me want to do something, though I wasn’t sure how I could help.

The movie had been made in 2005. Then on Mar. 5, Invisible Children Inc. released a video on YouTube about Joseph Kony, head of Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army, based partly on the documentary.

When I saw the video I decided I had to show my family. It was very moving, even more so than the original movie, and was deliberately directed toward teenagers. It showed young kids doing something — putting up posters, wearing bracelets and T-shirts, and writing letters to politicians and celebrities. I decided I wanted be a part of this.

I got on Facebook and created a group called “Blanket Marin,” with a goal of creating a big event on the designated day, Apr. 20. In two days, 216 people had already agreed to join in. We were going to cover Marin in posters to make Joseph Kony infamous.

I’ve since seen the criticism of the Kony 2012 campaign, and I think a lot of the people who don’t like it are missing the point.

from Africa News blog:

Time to stop aid for Africa? An argument against

Earlier this month, Zambian economist Dambisa Moyo argued that Africa needs Western countries to cut long term aid that has brought dependency, distorted economies and fuelled bureaucracy and corruption. The comments on the blog posting suggested that many readers agreed. In a response, Savio Carvalho, Uganda country director for aid agency Oxfam GB, says that aid can help the continent escape poverty - if done in the right way:

In early January, I travelled to war-ravaged northern Uganda to a dusty village in Pobura and Kal parish in Kitgum District. We were there to see the completion of a 16km dirt road constructed by the community with support from Oxfam under an EU-funded programme.

The road is bringing benefits in the form of access to markets, education and health care. Some parents say their daughters feel safer walking to school on the road instead of through the bushes. Many families have used the wages earned from construction work to pay for school fees and medical treatment. This is the impact of aid.

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