What is striking about Invisible Children’s video campaign, and the often harsh response to it, is the yawning chasm between two groups of people who essentially share the same values and want the same thing.
On one side is Invisible Children, a group that began raising funds a decade ago to help affected communities acquire radio equipment and schools to heal the wounds of war and to protect themselves from future attacks. On the other side are African intellectuals and international aid workers who feel that Invisible Children is dangerously simplifying a complex problem in order to raise money.
Both sides want the communities of Uganda, Central African Republic, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo to be free of Kony’s murderous militia, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). But they have different perspectives on how this should be done, and who should do it.
For critics of Invisible Children, its video highlighting the victims of Kony’s campaign, and then the mainly American students and activists pledging to help out only ends up reinforcing the stereotyped vision of Africa as a weak, damaged continent that needs foreigners to set things straight.
Typical among the critics is Ugandan journalist and blogger Rosebell Kagumire of Kampala, the Ugandan capital, who notes that the story portrayed in the Invisible Children video is about five years out of date.