‘No Longer Invisible’

March 24th, 2012

Uganda's 'invisible children' are no longer so invisible.

Uganda's 'invisible children' are no longer so invisible.

This article on the Kony2012 campaign is worth reading. It’s good news if the campaign results in renewed resolve to catch the bastard. I hope they do!

But meanwhile, please don’t forget the St Nicholas African Education Fund (see the Paypal or ChipIn link at the right), especially if, as I do, you have a problem with Invisible Children spending only 32% of funds raised on any Uganda children, visible or not. As I’ve mentioned, we send 100% directly to our kids, minus only the bank fees and about $75/month for our hard-working manager in Uganda.

Update: Also have a look at “Guest Post: I’ve met Joseph Kony and Kony 2012 isn’t that bad” by Norbert Mao, a Uganda politico. As he points out, “The sky is overcast with an explosive mix of dubious oil deals, land grabs, arms proliferation, neglected ex-combatants, and a volatile neighborhood full of regimes determined to fish in troubled waters. What we have is a tentative peace.”


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Nodding Disease

March 21st, 2012

Someone just sent me this link about a new disease striking families in Northern Uganda. I’ve heard of it, but haven’t ever seen anything specific about it until now. It’s not known what causes it, or can cure it. Hope they find it soon; over 3000 children have been affected so far.

As I said to him, just imagine if africa had… education, jobs, medicine, food, and peace!

Well, at least please help with the education part of it— click the paypal link to the right.


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Invisible Children vs St Nicholas African Education Fund!

March 19th, 2012

Moses and Jescah at Gayaza Secondary

Moses and Jescah pose for a photo op at Gayaza Secondary. Keeping them in school costs about $100 per month. They and 22 other kids need your help!

A friend on Facebook points out that only 32% of the funds taken in by Invisible Children actually ends up in Uganda— and that a goodly portion ends up in the pockets of the Ugandan military (known exploiters of children themselves). The 32% figure was derived from the group’s own financial statements for FY 2010 and 2011. See this link on reddit.

And actually what I’m quite afraid of is this. Altogether too plausible!

If people want to help Uganda kids, one way they can do so is to contribute to the St Nicholas African Education Fund through the link in the right-hand column of this page. Unlike IC’s 32%, almost all the money we receive goes directly to the kids we support; we lose only the bank transfer fees and a very modest stipend of about $75 per month paid to our local manager, who runs around all month to make it happen. He even forgoes pay sometimes if we’re really in a bind, even though loss of that income makes his life a lot harder.

By March 23, we have to come up with about $500 to keep five of our kids in school for their final exams, which begin in April. Help!!


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More on Invisible Children

March 16th, 2012

This article in Guernica Magazine is another very good discussion of the Invisible Children organization and its Kony2012 campaign.

You might also read, if you haven’t seen it, today’s news, Uganda screenings of Kony film halted after protests. That’d be because “Joseph Kony No Longer [seen as] a Threat“.

I’m sorta wondering whether IC is starting to regret their rather unconsidered enthusiasm.

The real invisible children are Uganda’s high school kids. There just isn’t much support available for them. Lots o’ people go all mushy over grade school kids— and not unreasonably so— but what about when they actually get old enough to where they might soon begin working for a living, if they just had education and training?

Well, click the paypal link to the right! Kony may be pretty much out of the picture by now, but these kids are very real, and they need your help right now!


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Joseph Kony and Invisible Children

March 10th, 2012

Joseph Kony, leader of the LRA

Stop this man.

See http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/03/07/guest_post_joseph_kony_is_not_in_uganda_and_other_complicated_things

here’s what i posted, with one or two later edits, after sharing that link on facebook:


I was living in Uganda in 2003, when Kony made his LAST major incursion there– he came from the north and got as far as Soroti, but it turned out it was just a raid, and after killing and burning for a few days, his forces melted back into the north, over the border of Sudan, then northeast Congo, now the Central Afr. Rep., and more or less hasn’t been heard of since. THAT WAS 9 YEARS AGO!! Yes, he made a couple of brief raids after that in Uganda and, if memory serves, he stirred up some trouble in Congo around Christmas of 2010, but pretty much hasn’t been heard of, otherwise.

And by ALL accounts, his present forces are estimated at a few hundred at most. He apparently gets his weapons from China, but through what channels I don’t know. Those questions never have clear answers, especially when ‘enemies’ often serve the same masters.

I was in Uganda again from 2005 through 2007, and the kids who were still sleeping in churches and schools in Gulu in early 2005 (only half as many as 2002) were all back in the villages by the end of 2007.

I have remained continuously in touch with many people all over Uganda since then, and I was in Gulu again last year (2011), drinking beer outdoors even until late at night, and even sleeping in grass huts with some of those kids and their wonderful parents in a perfectly peaceful village outside of town. Kony is basically just a bad memory at this point. NO, he’s not dead and he needs to be brought to justice. But he is not an active presence there.

But understand this: Uganda’s President Museveni himself is NOT innocent of wrongdoing in the whole Kony affair from the git-go— he USED Kony to punish the Acholi people because they resist him, and Kony remains a potentially useful destabilizing force that he and the other corrupt dictators of Central/East Africa can call upon at will. One of Museveni’s highest advisors spent years with Kony (sorry, i don’t know the status right now). Do you think he was just enjoying a camping trip?

And the UPDF, by all accounts, is *just* as brutal and corrupt as Kony. Especially since they’re not well paid, and they’re armed, they loot and rape with impunity. So is supporting them such a great idea? They COULD have taken Kony down any number of times, had they been determined. But they don’t like fighting people with with weapons. Better just to live off the locals.

So ALWAYS remember this: there’s OIL in Uganda now, and MINERALS all over the place in that part of Africa, and what has been called “World War III” is happening RIGHT NOW in neighboring eastern Congo. Rwanda is up to its ears in murder. Congolese gold is a major export of Uganda. The uranium that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki came from Congo. Google “conflict minerals” and “coltan”— and you’ll find that estimates of those killed over the past decade in neighboring Congo run as high as ten MILLION so far; one in four women gang-raped, even *men* gang-raped— but all this merits not a whisper in our newspapers because THOSE MINERALS ARE IN YOUR CELL PHONE and every other cellphone in the world— got the picture yet? So what is Kony? Brutal, insane, murderous— and useful.

When all the killing was going on— nothing, not a single tear from the good ol’ USA. But NOW, in a great, magnanimous gesture of *humanitarian concern*, the US has sent 100 military ‘advisors’ to Uganda. Of course, no Kony-related ‘results’ have been reported so far— not least because they’re not even looking for Kony— at all!

But meanwhile the Uganda police are sitting in plenty of shiny new heavy military equipment at all major intersections now, as the people plunge further and further into desperation.

While i was there last summer, the US made a 10-year, $75 billion commitment to providing *fighter jets* to Uganda for “security”. Um, excuse me? *Fighter* jets??— for *Uganda*??? That’s like fighter jets for *Oregon*! (Well, and what it really means is, the criminals who run the US just donated $75B of our tax money to Lockheed, which will give a certain percentage of it to Museveni and his brother the top general; Museveni, who has proven himself ready to do US tricks in any country he can fly to, will spin some more tricks in Somalia, and feel more confident about taking over the new East African Union, that is, president of about 1/6 of the whole continent.

At first I thought this “Invisible Children” group had to be either *sinfully* naive, criminally corrupt, or (what is the same) simply a CIA front aiming to stir up support for a future destabilization program. Or patsies in a game larger than they knew. After further investigation, I wouldn’t say that now— perhaps they’ll do some good. But I just don’t see 100 US advisors in Uganda doing much to arrest Kony in the Central African Republic, nor Museveni’s government interested in the topic at the moment, so I still really wonder what this movement is actually accomplishing.

I feel sooooo bad and sorry for the beautiful, wonderful, innocent people of Uganda, who have done NOTHING to deserve the US’s government’s “humanitarian concern”.

If you want to support kids in Uganda, find the paypal link in the right-hand column of this page— and do some REAL good. I guarantee that EVERYTHING you contribute will go DIRECTLY to helping Uganda high school kids graduate. You know— education… jobs… future…. PEACE…!

That’s what we need. “Invisible Children”? As far as I can tell, they’re “Invisible”, indeed— because *they’re not there!*

Forgive if I’m wrong, and if I see some real action from IC, i’ll recant. And I do hope my mentioning the Education Fund which i direct isn’t self-serving; certainly I don’t mean it so. There are numerous ways to send aid to Uganda, even to Northern Uganda; my program happens to be the one I know best, that’s all— and, well, it is *direct* in a way that no others are, since i personally deal with the kids and their schools themselves. In fact i’m hoping i can find a sponsor for a new Acholi kid right now— but we desperately need better funding for the whole program. That is to say, I’m not criticizing Invisible Children just to raise money for “my” program. You’ll find lots of critical response on the internet if you look around a bit.

Let’s indeed *bring Kony to justice*— and rescue however many kids he still has in his army! But if you’ve been in Africa, you will know how many layers of shifting veils there are; and how, when people (including the US above all) say they’re doing one thing, it’s usually *not* what they’re doing.

So before you send any money, demand more transparency, demand clarity, and keep an eye on the *results*!


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