BOSTON (CBS) – It’s a chilling account of the atrocities in Uganda, especially against children, at the hands of rebel army leader Joseph Kony. It’s all exposed in the documentary KONY 2012.
The California non-profit, Invisible Children, is behind the film that’s gone viral. As of Thursday evening it had more than 38-million views in a matter of days on YouTube alone.
There’s no question the group has been successful spreading their message and doing some good but Tim Longman who heads up the African Studies Center at Boston University says the video raises questions and doesn’t portray the Uganda of today. Longman says, “One of the problems they do mention but quickly pass over is that Uganda itself is very peaceful. Most of the problems in the north have been resolved for now because the group has moved to other countries that are more lawless.”
The video has sparked interest in Uganda which Longman appreciates but he wishes more of the money donated actually went to the people of Uganda and not to making films. The group is very open about where the money goes.
According to their financial statements, 20% is spent on management expenses and overhead. Last year $1.7 million were spent on travel, $3. 8 million were used for the film, advocacy and spreading their message and $3.3 million went to programs in Central Africa. Longman adds, “It’s very slick, not in a bad way. They do a great job of publicizing this cause but I wish they supported the established groups working in the area.”
There’s tremendous support for this group. It is a legitimate charity that’s spreading their message. Invisible Children’s mission is to make the world aware of this issue which includes film-making and touring the film around the world. They want to spark a campaign to stop Kony and his army. They also operate programs in the affected areas that they say offer protection, rehabilitation and development assistance.