Invisible Children Respond to 'Slacktivism' Complaints

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A 30-minute YouTube video from Invisible Children addressing the human rights atrocities of the Lord's Resistance Army has gone viral. In the process of making the LRA's Joseph Kony a household name, it's also drawn criticism, as reported by Mashable.

* The mission of "Kony 2012" as reported on its website is to make sure "Joseph Kony known as the world's worst war criminal" and to make sure that the U.S. military advisers sent in to support the Ugandan army aren't withdrawn.

* Invisible Children wants people to contact 20 "culture makers," including Bill O'Reilly, George Clooney, and Oprah Winfrey to get them to support the group's mission. They've also selected 12 "policymakers" with the same goal.

* The LRA is no longer in northern Uganda, having been forced out of the country in 2005, as Reuters reports.

* The LRA and Joseph Kony are infamous for forcibly recruiting child soldiers and sex slaves from neighboring communities.

* Though Kony is no longer in Uganda, as the video notes, but the activists are advocating that the Ugandan military should be supported and should be the strategic focus for capturing the wanted criminal. Uganda has permission to use its military to pursue Kony and his army in neighboring countries.

* State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland addressed questions regarding the video on Thursday, noted there are no plans to withdraw special forces advisers from Uganda, saying America's role had been to give logistical technical training support in East and Central Africa. She praised the video.

* Invisible Children developed a thorough response to criticism called "Critiques" on its website, clarifying that it is doing advocacy work as a major component of their work. It has been attacked by critics on a number of points, including that it has oversimplified the issues, the money being donated isn't going to on the ground solutions and advocating a stronger military role for Uganda is a problem due to the Ugandan governments human rights issues.

* The group has also come under fire for failing to comply with the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance and for promoting "slacktivism," the concept that sharing information helps support a cause.

Shawn Humphrey is a former contributor to The Flint Journal and an amateur Africanist, focusing his personal studies on human rights and political issues on the continent.

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