An open letter to friends and family--Kony2012

Saturday, March 17, 2012

By Karen Dolan
Dear Friends and Family,

Like you, I was captivated by the heart-wrenching stories of the Ugandan children who have been abducted, tortured, murdered and forced to do unspeakable things by Ugandan war criminal Joseph Kony in the Invisible Children's viral video, Kony2012.

Like you, I felt compelled to act, to get others to act with me-- for the tortured children, for my own children, for the beguiling innocence of children as represented by Jason Russell's young son, Gavin.

Since its release, there has been a lot of analysis, critique, Ugandan opposition and criticism, including the revelation that Joseph Kony has not been n Uganda since about 2005 and his LRA army has about 200 soldiers now. He remains at large and dangerous, but the situation seems different from what we may have been led to believe. It seems possible that the Ugandan President Museveni may be the strongest perpetrator of injustice in Uganda presently.

Questions swirl about how the Invisible Children movement has been funded, its connections to extreme religious and political agendas. And now, Jason Russell has been detained for very inappropriate public behavior, fueled either by bad choices or by mental illness.

It is so confusing.

However, what comes out of this experience for me is a feeling of gratefulness that there is so much compassion in all of us and that we can come together for a cause greater than ourselves. Ugandans have powerful voices and are fighting for justice themselves. If Ugandan's global neighbors, like us, also feel inspired to help, this link offers a few ways to do so.

I think this has been a learning opportunity for all of us and next time we will all be more cautious and research, with our kids, issues that are new to us and to weigh whether things are as they appear, compelling as stories may be.

I am grateful for the compassion of my child and the compassion of all of you and I feel encouraged that we can have a new, global orientation to our compassion and work for good whenever we see the opportunity.

Karen Dolan is a Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, an independent think tank based in Washington DC