The video below, Kony 2012, has been doing the rounds on Facebook, G+ and Twitter today in an attempt to bring to the world’s attention the plight of child soldiers in the Lord’s Resistance Army(LRA) in Uganda. Now the LRA is a despicable organisation that has been involved in some of the most sickening acts imaginable including slavery, abduction, rape and using children as soldiers and their leader Joseph Kony, from whom the film takes its name, is a piece of shit. There is no debate about this. The man is scum through and through.
This video, and the campaign that created it, is extremely disturbing. From watching the video ones immediate reaction is to share it and to try and ensure that something gets done, possibly by donating to the campaign or buying something from their line of t-shirts, badges and the like to further spread awareness of what is going on. A natural reaction when faced with such a horrible situation.
However when we look at the facts surrounding the film a rather unpleasant stink begins to fill the air. Something that smells a lot like the white man’s burden and possibly cynical opportunism.
The campaign calls for military intervention in Uganda to capture Kony and bring him to justice, something he most certainly deserves. However the film and campaign are rather liberal with the truth. Kony and the LRA have been pretty much smashed and have been inactive in Uganda since 2006 and there is now a peace process in place. A process that stammers and stalls, but that is what they always do.
Of the money that gets made by Invisible Children only 31% goes on their charity work and the rest on film making, though the charity has never been audited so we assume. But this 31% of your money, that you either directly give to them or help them raise through sharing their video, goes on things like funding Uganda’s military and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army. Both forces have been associated with despicable acts such as using rape as a weapon of war.
Photograph of the founders of Invisible Children posing with members of the SPLA.
Do you really want to fund this? If so then share the video to your hearts content and be glad when the violence continues and more children die. Seriously, how do you expect to take military action, which Invisible Children support, against a person who uses children as soldiers without killing children? What do you think will happen when military action is taken? Do you not think that there will be more reprisals and bloodshed?
All the while that you are sharing this video, changing your Facebook status or photograph and tweeting about this far and wide you are promoting a wrong headed initiative that supports a most brutal regime, one that tortures prisoners and has sought to condemn homosexuals to death for simply loving people of the same sex, which can only make matters worse in the region. We need to support people when they seek to better their living conditions, when they seek to put an end to murderous scum like Joseph Kony and Yoweri Museveni. What we must not do is support, probably well meaning, rich Westerners flying around the world trying to solve the problems of poor old Africa.
Some more on the story and on Invisible Children can be found at the following blogs.
The last one there, ilto, is a post from 2006 showing that this criticism of Invisible Children has been around as long as they have.
Please, if you want to do something to help the people who suffer in Uganda, and anywhere else in the world for that matter, educate yourself on the situation there in ways that go beyond Youtube videos and listening to a bunch of rich white people. Try reading the local news, reading blogs from the area if any are available. Hell even start with the Wikipedia entry or reading the New Internationalist world guide. Don’t allow emotive and snazzily made videos play on your basic humanity. Read, read and then read some more before you go making a mistake and supporting an initiative that could just make things so much worse.
If you think what i said makes any sense at all, please share it with your friends and family.
Married or not you should read this…
“When I got home that night as my wife served dinner, I held her hand and said, I’ve got something to tell you. She sat down and ate quietly. Again I observed the hurt in her eyes.
Suddenly I didn’t know how to open my mouth. But I had to let her know what I was thinking. I want a divorce. I raised the topic calmly. She didn’t seem to be annoyed by my words, instead she asked me softly, why?
I avoided her question. This made her angry. She threw away the chopsticks and shouted at me, you are not a man! That night, we didn’t talk to each other. She was weeping. I knew she wanted to find out what had happened to our marriage. But I could hardly give her a satisfactory answer; she had lost my heart to Jane. I didn’t love her anymore. I just pitied her!
With a deep sense of guilt, I drafted a divorce agreement which stated that she could own our house, our car, and 30% stake of my company. She glanced at it and then tore it into pieces. The woman who had spent ten years of her life with me had become a stranger. I felt sorry for her wasted time, resources and energy but I could not take back what I had said for I loved Jane so dearly. Finally she cried loudly in front of me, which was what I had expected to see. To me her cry was actually a kind of release. The idea of divorce which had obsessed me for several weeks seemed to be firmer and clearer now.
The next day, I came back home very late and found her writing something at the table. I didn’t have supper but went straight to sleep and fell asleep very fast because I was tired after an eventful day with Jane. When I woke up, she was still there at the table writing. I just did not care so I turned over and was asleep again.
In the morning she presented her divorce conditions: she didn’t want anything from me, but needed a month’s notice before the divorce. She requested that in that one month we both struggle to live as normal a life as possible. Her reasons were simple: our son had his exams in a month’s time and she didn’t want to disrupt him with our broken marriage.
This was agreeable to me. But she had something more, she asked me to recall how I had carried her into out bridal room on our wedding day. She requested that every day for the month’s duration I carry her out of our bedroom to the front door ever morning. I thought she was going crazy. Just to make our last days together bearable I accepted her odd request.
I told Jane about my wife’s divorce conditions. . She laughed loudly and thought it was absurd. No matter what tricks she applies, she has to face the divorce, she said scornfully.
My wife and I hadn’t had any body contact since my divorce intention was explicitly expressed. So when I carried her out on the first day, we both appeared clumsy. Our son clapped behind us, daddy is holding mommy in his arms. His words brought me a sense of pain. From the bedroom to the sitting room, then to the door, I walked over ten meters with her in my arms. She closed her eyes and said softly; don’t tell our son about the divorce. I nodded, feeling somewhat upset. I put her down outside the door. She went to wait for the bus to work. I drove alone to the office.
On the second day, both of us acted much more easily. She leaned on my chest. I could smell the fragrance of her blouse. I realized that I hadn’t looked at this woman carefully for a long time. I realized she was not young any more. There were fine wrinkles on her face, her hair was graying! Our marriage had taken its toll on her. For a minute I wondered what I had done to her.
On the fourth day, when I lifted her up, I felt a sense of intimacy returning. This was the woman who had given ten years of her life to me. On the fifth and sixth day, I realized that our sense of intimacy was growing again. I didn’t tell Jane about this. It became easier to carry her as the month slipped by. Perhaps the everyday workout made me stronger.
She was choosing what to wear one morning. She tried on quite a few dresses but could not find a suitable one. Then she sighed, all my dresses have grown bigger. I suddenly realized that she had grown so thin, that was the reason why I could carry her more easily.
Suddenly it hit me… she had buried so much pain and bitterness in her heart. Subconsciously I reached out and touched her head.
Our son came in at the moment and said, Dad, it’s time to carry mom out. To him, seeing his father carrying his mother out had become an essential part of his life. My wife gestured to our son to come closer and hugged him tightly. I turned my face away because I was afraid I might change my mind at this last minute. I then held her in my arms, walking from the bedroom, through the sitting room, to the hallway. Her hand surrounded my neck softly and naturally. I held her body tightly; it was just like our wedding day.
But her much lighter weight made me sad. On the last day, when I held her in my arms I could hardly move a step. Our son had gone to school. I held her tightly and said, I hadn’t noticed that our life lacked intimacy. I drove to office…. jumped out of the car swiftly without locking the door. I was afraid any delay would make me change my mind…I walked upstairs. Jane opened the door and I said to her, Sorry, Jane, I do not want the divorce anymore.
She looked at me, astonished, and then touched my forehead. Do you have a fever? She said. I moved her hand off my head. Sorry, Jane, I said, I won’t divorce. My marriage life was boring probably because she and I didn’t value the details of our lives, not because we didn’t love each other anymore. Now I realize that since I carried her into my home on our wedding day I am supposed to hold her until death do us apart. Jane seemed to suddenly wake up. She gave me a loud slap and then slammed the door and burst into tears. I walked downstairs and drove away. At the floral shop on the way, I ordered a bouquet of flowers for my wife. The salesgirl asked me what to write on the card. I smiled and wrote, I’ll carry you out every morning until death do us apart.
That evening I arrived home, flowers in my hands, a smile on my face, I run up stairs, only to find my wife in the bed -dead. My wife had been fighting CANCER for months and I was so busy with Jane to even notice. She knew that she would die soon and she wanted to save me from the whatever negative reaction from our son, in case we push through with the divorce.— At least, in the eyes of our son—- I’m a loving husband….
The small details of your lives are what really matter in a relationship. It is not the mansion, the car, property, the money in the bank. These create an environment conducive for happiness but cannot give happiness in themselves.
So find time to be your spouse’s friend and do those little things for each other that build intimacy. Do have a real happy marriage!
If you don’t share this, nothing will happen to you.
If you do, you just might save a marriage. Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up
“We will work closely with Interpol to locate the two of them and bring them to justice,” the police told The New Paper on 15 February. The police was referring to New Zealander Robert Stephen Dahlberg and Briton Robert James Springall, both of whom fled Singapore last year, after having been involved in an assault case in 2010. (See story here and here.)
Two of the victims of the assault, Paul Liew and Laurence Wong, had spoken up about the way the police have handled the case and raised questions about the length of time it has taken to bring the assailants, including Australian Nathan Robert Miller, to justice. Miller has since been sentenced to 3 weeks jail and is currently serving his sentence.
The police told the New Paper:
“We acknowledge that the case took a significant amount of time to be completed and are conducting an internal inquiry to establish the full facts of how the case was handled. If there have been any lapses, or any officers are found to have been professionally lacking or negligent in carrying out their duties, disciplinary action will be taken against them.”
Dahlberg was granted permission to leave Singapore for London and Hong Kong from 11 to 29 July last year. His bail was set at S$25,000. Dahlberg absconded while he was away on the trips.
Springall had applied to leave Singapore for the United States in August last year. The courts granted his request and his bail was doubled from S$6,000. He left Singapore from 25 August to 5 September last year. He returned to Singapore on 5 September and was supposed to surrender his passport to the authorities, but he failed to do so.
In December, he flew out of Singapore again and absconded.
Warrant of arrests have been issued for both men.
Mr Wong said, “With this news from the police, I am satisfied. I am very surprised that the police force will admit their mistakes. I am glad that they will set an inquiry board. The act and the thought that they want to make things right and to make sure that the officers who didn’t do their jobs are punished, it shows accountability on the police’s part.”
Mr Liew told TNP, “Now, at least, something is being done to bring back those two men.”
Still, Mr Wong is disappointed with how the entire case was handled, especially the fact that 2 of the assailants had been able to flee the country. “If this is the police force and they cannot even hold on to 2 people out of 3,” Mr Wong says, “it is not rocket science that a glitch has happened somewhere. I believe it is a case of mismanagement. Somebody who’s responsible is not doing his job.”
While he is appreciative that the police are taking the necessary action with regards to both the capture of the 2 men and addressing its internal failings, Mr Wong hopes that the police will inform him and the other victims of the assault through an official notification.
“From my experience with the police, they have yet to inform me that this is what they want to do,” Mr Liew says. “It’s still their responsibility to officially inform me and all the victims collectively. I am still waiting for the police to give me an official notification. I cannot rely on the news.”
Nonetheless, his search for justice continues and he says he is willing to wait however long it takes for justice to be served on the assailants.
“If the police need to take another 3 or 5 or 10 years, do it. It doesn’t matter. I hope they do not slacken and make the mistake again.”
While they are glad the police is taking the matter seriously now, there remains questions which need to be answered. For example, how did Springall manage to flee while out on bail? “The police should have taken his passport the moment he returned to Singapore,” Mr Liew says. “And how did he manage to board a plane and leave? These are questions which need to be answered.”