Kony 2012 video makers using us to make profit, war victim says

Tuesday April 17 2012

By Sam Lawino


Ms Margaret Aciro, whose picture appears in the Kony 2012 video showing her lips, nose and ears mutilated, has criticised the documentary, saying it is aimed at making money using victims of the northern insurgency.

Ms Aciro, 35, abducted by rebels of the LRA in 2003 from Paicho Sub-county in Gulu Municipality, was among thousands of people who flocked Pece War Memorial Stadium on Friday to watch the filming of Kony 2012 by Invisible Children.

“I watched the Kony 2012 video but I decided to return home before the second one (Kony 2012 Par II) because I was dissatisfied with its content. I became sad when I saw my photo in the video. I knew they were using it to profit.” She said the screening was useless since only pictures of children commuting to town 10 years back were in the video.

Ms Aciro is one of the many victims of the LRA war and yet not benefiting from the organisation that claims to be supporting them. Since then, she has been surviving by knitting bathing sponges for sale.

The first video -Kony 2012, calls for among others, donation from well-wishers, but Ms Aciro says the money will not help people like her.


Another war victim, Ms Susan Anena, 26, mother of two, and resident of Kanyagoga Village, said the video cannot do much in addressing her needs as a returnee. “We expect the money they are using for making videos and organising for us to watch it, to be given to us for business. We have children to feed and provide them decent shelter. Life is difficult but can the video solve it?” she asks.

Ms Anena said the scholarships being offered by Invisible Children should benefit her children who are of school-going age. Ms Anena was abducted in 2003 and escaped from the rebels in 2005 following a campaign that returnees would get better life and treatment at home.

At least 10,000 people gathered at the stadium to watch the Kony 2012 video. Dissatisfied with the content, the crowd pelted the organisers with stones, injuring a police officer identified as Pamela Inenu and two musicians hired to sing at the event.
Police fired teargas at the crowd, and live bullets in the air, injuring dozens, who also lost valuables including phones and money.

The archbishop of Gulu Arch Diocese and member of Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiative, Rt. Rev John Baptist Odama, said the video has ill motives and geared towards igniting anger in the population to cause violence.

Bishop Odama said the chaos associated with the screening of the video is akin to a new war started since no stake holders were consulted. Bishop Odama, however, noted that “Invisible Children has done a commendable job during the conflict, they started when we slept in town streets with children and paying school fees for stranded children”.

He added: “However the Kony 2012 video has tricked them into war mongering instead of helping them. It’s the right time they should rethink their position.”

Critics have questioned the timing and motive of the video, with some saying it opens wounds of the war.