Mr. Kony's 26-year war started in northern Uganda, where tens of thousands of children were abducted to be soldiers, “wives,” or porters, and where thousands more who resisted were permanently disfigured. Kony became the first suspect indicted by the International Criminal Court, in 2005, and faces 33 charges including murder, rape and kidnapping children.
Invisible Children, and Kony2012’s director, Jason Russell, have been criticized for over-simplifying the conflict’s causes and for spending more money on management, media, and movies than on grass-roots projects.
But Mr. Ochen, whose brother and cousin were both kidnapped by the LRA and are still missing, says the criticism misses a key point.
“How would we ever be able to have so much global attention come to us, on an issue which has been running for almost three decades, and which still needs more attention on a daily basis,” he asks.
“That film has put Kony’s name on people’s lips. They are asking questions, they are trying to understand.
“The film is not without its challenges, but the more people get connected directly to the victims, and the more that people understand what Kony did here, and what he may still be doing in other countries, the more everyone can work together for real, long-lasting peace.”
Fred Opolot, a spokesman in the office of Uganda’s president, Yoweri Museveni, agrees.