What Jason Russell Can Learn From His "Misfortune"
Perhaps he now regrets being co-opted by the Museveni regime and later by the U.S. foreign and military policy establishment. In that sense, he too may be a victim. In recent days, in a dubious attempt at spin, the Ugandan regime even "denounced" KONY2012 in statements and through certain media personalities, without accepting its own role in the tragedy.
[Black Star News Editorial]
IC Should Apologize and Produce Film Showing Both sides' guilt
The details will eventually emerge but Jason Russell hasn't been himself lately.
The co-founder of Invisible Children and the maker of KONY2012, was reportedly detained by San Diego Police for masturbating in public, vandalizing cars, and running in traffic between cars while in his underwear only.
Video clips have now emerged showing him completely naked and yelling in an agitated state.
Russell knows the power of such publicity. It seems to us that Russell is having second thoughts about KONY2012. What faster and better way than this unusual display, to have the millions of people who had quickly embraced the docu-movie, quickly abandon it.
Russell has been under much media scrutiny since Invisible Children released KONY2012. This newspaper was one of the first to denounce the 30-minute video as a publicity stunt for the Ugandan regime of Yoweri K. Museveni and also as a booster for U.S. military presence in Uganda and Central Africa.
Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord's Resistance Army is for sure responsible for terrorism and crimes against civilians in Uganda's Acholi region. Already he has been indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on crimes against humanity charges. Yet, Gen. Museveni is the opposite side of the same coin; in fact the Ugandan president is the "heads" to Kony's "tails."
The ICC's Luis Moreno Ocampo has always refused to investigate the role of Museveni's army in the crimes committed against the people of Acholi, including the confinement of 2 million people into concentration camps, leading to the deaths of a possible million over a 20 year period, based on World Health Organization statistics of 1,000 excess deaths per week in the camps.
At the same time, the crimes committed by this same Museveni army was well documented and investigated in the Congo , when he used it to occupy Congo's Ituri region. In 2005, the International Court of Justice found Uganda liable for what amounts to crimes against humanity and war crimes there. The court ordered $10 billion in compensation to Congo. Gen. Museveni asked the United Nations to block an ICC probe of the same crimes, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal on June 8, 2006. So far, Ocampo seems to have obliged.
Where does Jason Russell and Invisible Children fit in all this?
It's possible that Russell years ago may have set out to try and help the victims of Museveni's and Kony's war in Uganda's Acholi region. We all remember the "night commuters" calamity, when thousands of children, fearing abduction, fled their rural homes to sleep outdoors in towns such as Gulu. Invisible Children highlighted their plight.
At some point Invisible Children took the wrong turn. The group abandoned its neutrality and started advocating the same solution that Gen. Museveni had tried for 25 years and failed. Which was to defeat the LRA militarily, at all cost, even if thousands more innocent civilians perished in the course. The Juba Peace negotiations to end the war was slow and frustrating; but it officially ended when Gen. Museveni, with U.S. support, launched "Operation Lightening Thunder", an aerial attack against the LRA's camps in Congo.
In the meantime, Invisible Children had joined other questionable organizations such as The Enough Project and Resolve in advocating for more militarism. These groups were successful in bulldozing legislation, the LRA Disarmament bill, through Congress, even though most Ugandans in the war-torn zone had no say in it and it was opposed by leading church leaders who wanted a resumption of peace negotiations. The bill paved the way for President Obama to then send U.S. forces into Uganda.
Invisible Children developed a close working relationship with the Museveni regime and even fed it intelligence information but was most useful in public relations. KONY2012 was very powerful in exposing the world to the tragedy in Uganda's Acholi region, and Kony's role in it. Yet by only presenting a half-truth and whitewashing Gen. Museveni's own role, Invisible Children ended up offering a Big Lie to the world.
Perhaps Jason Russell started having second thoughts when the criticism came down. Perhaps he now regrets being co-opted by the Museveni regime and later by the U.S. foreign and military policy establishment. In that sense, he too may be a victim. In recent days, in a dubious attempt at spin, the Ugandan regime even "denounced" KONY2012 in statements and through certain media personalities, without accepting its own role in the tragedy.
Now Invisible Children can do the right thing.
Apologize for presenting a half-truth. Use the organization's filmmaking and marketing skills to present to a world a documentary that offers the other half of the coin. Show the world Gen. Museveni's role in the Ugandan calamity and demand that both he and Kony negotiate an end to 26 years of bloodshed.
"Speaking Truth To Empower."