Kony 2012 Screening In Uganda Elicits Strong Criticism

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Unless you've been under one mighty huge rock lately, the words Kony 2012 probably engender some sort of feeling deep inside you. Whether it's disgust at the actions of Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony, or skepticism about the movement's tactics and concerns about "slacktivism," you probably have something to say on the topic.

And people's opinions have been shared, to an almost unprecedented degree. Everyone from your friends on Facebook, to celebrities on Twitter, to talking heads on the cable news channels have put in their two cents about the social movement. The video, created by the Invisible Children group, is approaching 80 million views on YouTube - a staggering number.

But what about Ugandans? What do they have to say about the Kony 2012 movement? According to a report from Al Jazeera, many of them aren't too pleased with the video's focus.

The African Youth Initiative Network (AYINET), an African non-governmental organization, decided to screen the Kony 2012 film to some remote areas of Northern Uganda.

"It’s our commitment to bring the world to the victims’ communities, and the victims’ communities to the world,” said AYINET Director Victor Ochen.

AYINET planned that "the screening will continue throughout March in remote areas of northern Uganda to inform people about the film and the realities of what is happening nationally, regionally and internationally on the issues raised."

Over 35,000 people attended the first screening and apparently, it didn't go too well. This video, now going viral, shows many Ugandans reacting with frustration and eventual anger over the Kony 2012 video. AYINET's first screening of the film ended in rock-throwing, if that tells you anything. Check it out below:

As you can see, they weren't too thrilled with the commercialization of their plight:

The audience was at first puzzled to see the narrative lead by an American man – Jason Russell – and his young son.

Towards the end of the film, the mood turned more to anger at what many people saw as a foreign, inaccurate account that belittled and commercialised their suffering, as the film promotes Kony bracelets and other fundraising merchandise, with the aim of making Kony infamous.

One woman I spoke to made the comparison of selling Osama Bin Laden paraphernalia post 9/11 – likely to be highly offensive to many Americans, however well intentioned the campaign behind it.

On the heels of this incident, AYINET has decided to suspend their future planned screenings of the film in Uganda. You can check out their release below, which highlights some of the more prominent responses for angry Ugandans.


"Why give such criminals celebrity status?" one person asked. It definitely is a fine line between awareness and creating a celebrity - albeit for horrible reasons. From this, we see that the first film reviews from the Ugandans themselves are in - and Kony 2012 gets a two thumbs down.

If for some reason you haven't seen the Kony 2012 video that's causing all the fuss, you can watch it in its entirety below:

What do you think about the Kony 2012 film and social movement? Let us know in the comments.

[Hat tip to BoingBoing]
Josh Wolford
Josh Wolford is a writer for WebProNews. He likes beer, Japanese food, and movies that make him feel weird afterward. Mostly beer. Follow him on Twitter: @joshgwolf Instagram: @joshgwolf Google+: Joshua Wolford StumbleUpon: joshgwolf

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