Firstly, I hesitate to post this, based on my obvious disagreement with, well, nearly everything the Machine Gun Preacher stands for (and yes, yes that means I hate children and love war and pretty much am Hitler), and am remiss to give him any more notoriety, but last week he posted a response to the IC-Kony 2012 madness on youtube:
And – while this may shock you – despite large and additional shortcomings in this video he does make two points that I appreciate: First, that Kony is only a very, very small part of the instability in the region; Second, that right now there is a far more acute crisis in the Blue Nile/South Kordofan region (recent updates estimate refugees in northern South Sudan have reached over 100,000 – a massive number of people for a relatively small area).
That being said, that’s about where we part ways. Sam more or less replaces the mantra of “Kony BAD” with “Kony and Bashir BAD,” and while both statements might be true, it remains a vast oversimplification of the problem(s) (ie, quote: “The root of the evil is President Bashir.” Uuhhh…). In terms of the LRA, there remains an incredibly complex backdrop of political forces, ineptitude, and corruption between Uganda, South Sudan, Sudan (yes, Bashir being a major player, but his national government and military as well), CAR, DRC, and yes, the US and AU/UN, which, again, have been written about ad nauseum in the past few days (I love when the internet fights).In terms of BN/SK, singling out Bashir as the problem once more ignores that situation’s own set of just-as-incredibly-complex geopolitical forces at play. But that being said, I’ll give props where it’s due and once again acknowledge that at least he’s pointing out the role of Bashir.
So no, despite posting it here, I still don’t condone MGP (nor Kony2012). And yes, again, it’s because I hate puppies and children and love pain and war. No, it’s because I think that overall, both aims (awareness raising with disingenuous purpose and messages, and vigilante justice) do, or have the potential to do, more harm than good. And I suggest anyone interested in this read one of the many, many, many blogs (and books) on aid and development and engage on the debates of why these are extremely complex issues.
(Although does anyone except me think it would be hilarious if Jason Russell and MGP joined forces to hunt Kony through the bush? No? Just Me? Oh. Okay then.)
But speaking of BN/SK, looks like Georgie boy’s visit here last week is finally out of the bag. While it may have been “quiet” globally, I can assure you that most expats in Juba were whispering about his movements (“Damn, off to Yida after only two hours in Juba? What a tease.”). And while I didn’t see the Cloonster, Prendergast did sit down about 7 ft away from me on Saturday. I may have attempted to subtly eavesdrop on his conversation for about 5 minutes before I realized I didn’t care.
Both are scheduled to testify at Wednesday’s Senate hearing.