Joseph Kony 2012: Obama administration congratulates success of campaign 3/9/12 The Obama administration has congratulated the people behind the viral internet campaign that has sought to bring attention to Joseph Kony and the Lord's Resistance Army. THE TELEGRAPH The 30-minute video, Kony2012, was produced by three US videographers campaigning for greater efforts to capture Kony, the leader of the LRA. The video has been viewed on YouTube alone almost 50 million times in the last five days. Jay Carney, the White House Press Secretary, congratulated the "hundreds of thousands of Americans who have mobilized to this unique crisis of conscience." Mr. Carney said: "I think this viral video that you mentioned is part of that response, raising awareness about the horrific activities of the LRA, and consistent with the bipartisan legislation passed by our congress in 2010 the United States continues to pursue a comprehensive multi-faceted strategy to help the governments and people of Central Africa in their efforts to end the threat posed by the LRA and reduce the human consequences of the LRA's atrocities." Critics argue Kony and his diminishing troops, many of them kidnapped child soldiers, fled northern Uganda six years ago and are now spread across the jungles of neighboring countries. “What that video says is totally wrong, and it can cause us more problems than help us,” said Dr Beatrice Mpora, director of Kairos, a community health organization in Gulu, a town that was once the centre of the rebels’ activities. “There has not been a single soul from the LRA here since 2006. Now we have peace, people are back in their homes, they are planting their fields, they are starting their businesses. That is what people should help us with.” The video aims to make Kony “famous” by encouraging supporters to plaster US cities with posters, in order to make the fight against the Lord’s Resistance Army an issue of “national interest” to Washington. That, the video’s makers claim, will ensure funding for 100 US military advisors sent to train African armies to find Kony will continue. “Suggesting that the answer is more military action is just wrong,” said Javie Ssozi, an influential Ugandan blogger. “Have they thought of the consequences? Making Kony ‘famous’ could make him stronger. Arguing for more US troops could make him scared, and make him abduct more children, or go on the offensive.” Rosebell Kagumire, a Ugandan journalist specializing in peace and conflict reporting, said: “This paints a picture of Uganda six or seven years ago, that is totally not how it is today. It’s highly irresponsible”. There were criticisms that the film quoted only three Ugandans, two of them politicians, and that it spent more time showing the filmmaker's five-year-old son being told about Joseph Kony than explaining the root causes of the conflict. Invisible Voices has faced criticism over its finances. Of more than £6 million it spent in 2001, less than £2.3 million was for activities helping people on the ground. The rest went on “awareness programmes and products”, management, media and others. “It is totally misleading to suggest that the war is still in Uganda,” said Fred Opolot, spokesman for the Ugandan government. “I suspect that if that’s the impression they are making, they are doing it only to garner increasing financial resources for their own agenda.” Invisible Children said the video focused on Uganda because its "people and government...have a vested interest in seeing him stopped". "The LRA was active in Uganda for nearly 20 years, displacing 1.7 million people and abducting at least 30,000 children," it said in statement.
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