There is a way here in which campaigns like “Save Darfur” and “Kony 2012” are analogous to popular military science fiction.
In the Guardian article, “Military Science Fiction Shouldn’t Simplify the Complexity of War,” Damien Walter explains how the standard trope of contemporary military fiction bleeds neo-conservative ideology, essentially playing over and over again the tired cliche of “a milquetoast government leaving our nation/planet/galactic empire undefended after dismantling the military-industrial war machine built to protect it.”
The lust for intervention displayed by so many liberals whenever a conflict in Africa is labelled a “genocide” can be quite startling, and such impressions are not produced by accident, as the video above illustrates.
I think it is important to point out the ideological function that military science fiction holds in our society, an ideological function that mirrors in the world of fiction what also takes place at the level of political agitation, whether its “Save Darfur” or “Kony 2012.”
What both of these products have in common is an underlying theme that dissuades viewers/readers/subjects from critical reflection of their own institutions. As we are bombarded with images of “over there” and how we are not doing enough to fix the situation of “those poor people,” the only reflection we have on ourselves is that our institutions are not doing enough to intervene, not swift enough in their ability to mobilize resources and people to impose our will on whatever situation is at hand.
Whether it is in the form of military science fiction working on our consciousness to push us towards even more militaristic practices or a subtle humanitarian gesture cloaking an agenda of military intervention, we are subject to multiple layers of ideological persuasion. Such ideological production ultimate produces subjects who are already prepared for the next military conflict: the neo-conservative types because every conflict is part of their broader pornographic obsession with total military conflict; for liberals, they are already prepared with a list of reasons why we must reluctantly shoulder the burden to save the world, really a new version of Kipling’s “white man’s burden.”
So whether its Battle: Los Angeles or Kony 2012 that’s haunting your thoughts, the effect on you is the same. For the sake of your own humanity, abandon such nonsense.
See my previous post on this topic.
According to diplomatic notes leaked last year by whistle-blower site Wikileaks, Invisible Children tipped off the Ugandan government about the location of Patrick Komakech, now under arrest for treason. Komakech had been involved in a rebel group (the PPF) seeking to overthrow the current President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni.
The June, 2009 cable, from the US Ambassador to Uganda (Steven Browning) to the Secretary of State, claims that Komakech (who had previously been featured in Invisible Children films) had been arrested by the Ugandan government for treason and extortion, thanks to a tip from Invisible Children regarding his location. The cable reads, in part:
“The latest plot was exposed when the Government received a tip from the U.S. non-governmental organization (NGO) Invisible Children regarding the location of Patrick Komekech.* […] Invisible Children reported that Komekech had been in Nairobi and had recently reappeared in Gulu, where he was staying with the NGO. Security organizations jumped on the tip and immediately arrested Komekech on March 5 [of 2009].”
Invisible Children has denied their involvement, with Uganda spokesperson Florence Ogola saying, “We are not involved in anything to do with security. We only deal with development.” A further spokeperson told Foreign Policy: “[W]e do not conduct intelligence efforts of any kind for a foreign government.”
This story hasn’t really been picked up by mainstream media yet, so I’m going to break with my rule of not asking for reblogs and ask you to please reblog this if you think it’s worthy of media attention.
*Spelling of Mr. Komakech’s name is currently unclear – Foreign Policy and the Daily Monitor both spell it as “Komakech”, while the original cables from Mr. Browning spell it “Komekech”
Didn’t See That Coming of the Day: Jason Russell, co-founder of the controversial nonprofit Invisible Children and the star of its ultra-viral fundraising campaign video KONY2012, was arrested last night in the San Diego neighborhood of Pacific Beach for masturbating in public while under the influence.
The San Diego Police Department says Russell, 33, was taken into custody after he was caught masturbating in public and vandalizing cars. Lt. Andra Brown also noted that he was under the influence, but did not identify the substance.
His overall behavior was said to have been “Very strange.”
35,000 people attended a screening of the Invisible Children film in Lira, Northern Uganda. The screening was organized by a great local organization called The African Youth Initiative Network (AYINET). Here is a video of the community response. HINT: they’re not happy.
The quote the video ends with speaks volumes: “Kony2012 may be the most watched video on youtube this year, but it clearly doesn’t resonate with many of the people it claims it’s meant to help”
(trigger for potentially graphic images of war wounds)
Respectfully, I don't think the article linking IC to the Christian Right organizations is relevant if one is using sound reasoning. While I support gay marriage and I am currently weighing IC as an organization (who I believe to be well-intention, but possibly more harmful than good), I do not think you can fault a non-profit for accepting money from an organization that is against gay marriage. They are not responsible for the views or actions of their donors, and to say so is a straw-man.
The National Christian Foundation is well known for their anti-gay agenda though and I guess people assume that IC are aware of it, but you bring up a good point. Personally I figured charities do background checks on larger organizations before accepting their donations to make sure they’re not associating themselves with anything that might hurt their cause, but perhaps that was naive of me. Anyone else know?
What does Invisible Children share in common with the Discovery Institute, the leading organization promoting “Intelligent Design”, a pseudo-scientific theory created to insinuate creationist ideas into public schools — or with The Call, whose leader Lou Engle claims homosexuals are possessed by demons, calls God an “avenger of blood” and a “terrorist”, and in May 2010 staged a rally in Kampala, Uganda, at which Engle warned of a gay menace to society and shared a stage with one of the authors of Uganda’s notorious Anti Homosexuality Bill ?
(I said stalking horse for the “kill all the queers” people two days ago. Right there, people. Right. Effing. THERE.)
OH LOOKY HERE
What a motherfucking coincidence.
14 Jan 2009 “The Times” - -Heritage Oil announced details of a large oil discovery in Uganda yesterday, which the company claimed could be the largest onshore discovery in sub-Saharan Africa.
Heritage said that its latest discovery – Giraffe1 – in the Lake Albert region, could total at least 400 million barrels of oil.
However, Paul Atherton, chief financial officer, told The Times that the wider field it was developing, dubbed Buffalo-Giraffe, had several “billions of barrels of oil in place”, although it was unclear how much of this would be recoverable.
He said that the field, which is 9,000 square kilometers in size – or six times the size of Greater London – was unquestionably the largest onshore discovery made in sub-Saharan Africa in at least 20 years, possibly ever.
Mr Atherton said that of the 18 wells the company had drilled in the basin so far, all had produced oil. “Clearly the entire basin is full of oil,” he said. “It’s a world-class discovery, the most exciting new basin in Africa in decades.”
Previously, the largest onshore fields discovered in sub-Saharan Africa were at Rabi-Kounga in Gabon, where 900 million barrels were found in 1985, and at Kome in Chad, where 485 million barrels were found in 1977.
Mr Atherton said that it would take at least another three years to start commercial production. [this was posted in 2009, do the math] The crude could be exported by road or rail, he said, but analysts believe that the most practical solution would be to build an 806-mile pipeline to take it to Kampala, Uganda’s capital, and then the Kenyan coast. The pipeline would need to be heated and designed to traverse swampy and mountainous land. It would cost an estimated $1.5 billion (£1 billion) to complete.
Heritage and its partner Tullow Oil, which also has a 50 per cent equity stake in the project, would need to demonstrate that the field could produce at least 400 million barrels of oil to justify the cost of building such a pipeline. Richard Griffith, an Evolution Securities analyst, said the latest discovery “thrashed” this commerciality threshold.
See Also - Uganda : Pressure Mounts To Make Public Oil Agreements:Uganda’s oil discovery is already attracting major players like Italian oil giant Eni Spa, U.S. Exxon Mobil, France’s Total and of recent the China National Offshore Oil Company. The country does not have the funds to finance the production of oil and instead signed agreements with oil giants spelling out how the revenue will be shared with investors willing to fund the production phase. The companies will build an oil refinery in Uganda and an oil pipeline to the Indian Ocean. This will enable the landlocked country to sell its estimated two billion barrels of crude oil internationally
Uganda’s oil contracts leaked - a bad deal made worse: The repeated claims by the Ugandan government and the oil companies that Uganda has received a very good deal and the best in the region are not only a fiction, but were reliant on the real terms of the contracts being kept secret. While the contracts will deliver vast profits to Tullow Oil and Heritage Oil, the contracts will prevent the Ugandan people from receiving their due benefits.
Oil extraction and the potential for domestic instability in Uganda: The paper identifies and discusses in detail three sources of domestic volatility that may arise as a result of oil development.
Uganda: Oil could cause war : The attacks are by armed gangs suspected to be rebels of the FDLR, LRA, and the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF). In the ongoing campaign in DR Congo, President Joseph Kabila is being criticised for failing to restore peace in this vital area.
As always, these are just my personal opinions and observations, feel free to message me, tell me what you think.
The reason that so many people have jumped on this bandwagon is essentially due to a misguided at best and racist at worst mindframe. I feel like it’s like a movie for some people; that African warlord kidnapping children to make an army terrorizing everything in their path. And this is your feel-good moment to do something to “stop him” …and you get a trendy bracelet in the process. Do you see what I’m getting at? The video wasn’t even as bad as many I’ve seen say from Iraq or Palestine or recently Syria, but it got so many people mobilized because it requires no effort, they didn’t have to research anything; learn about the complex history or culture or even the specifics of this man and his crimes; “omg he kidnapped 30, 000 children, and the cute little 5 year old in the video says we have to stop him!!!” Well let me tell you about a few people who killed 500, 000 children -perhaps one million civilians all together, and condemned thousands of babies to a life with deformities (kinda like the way Kony got his soldiers to mutilate people’s faces)- and guess what? You won’t even have to go 8000 miles to get these guys. They’re in your country; they’re running your country. Getting Kony is a long shot, but you can actually get these guys! In fact Amnestly International even asked for one of them to be arrested. Multiple times.
Only I forgot, they’re not African warlords and it’s not as romantic arresting old white dudes in suits, is it?