15 January 2013

A Civil Debate on Lessons from Kony 2012

A discussion during the Congo in Harlem event held last October featured a panel of experts and advocates to talk about Kony 2012. For two hours, the group, let by Elliot Ross of the Africa is a Country blog, dug into the concerns raised in response to a campaign that was led by the most viral video of all time.

They manage to cover a real wide range of issues such as the ethics of depicting victims of trauma to the appropriateness of the policy prescriptions advocated by the video. Representatives from Invisible Children and its partnering organizations participated in what was a civil and informative exchange.

It is long, but worth a listen. Roughly the first hour is opening statements from each panel member. It is a good way to hear some of the ideas that come from advocates and critics alike. Though Ross says he wants to stay in the middle, his introductory remarks suggest some further questions about the video and what it says about the audience that received it so well.

Listen below and see the list of participants further down. For further reading, also check out Kate Cronin-Furman's recent reflection post on the event over at Wronging Rights. She adds a bit of an addendum to her own remarks by describing her concerns regarding the consequences of advocating for prosecution through the ICC. "The international criminal justice system was set up to deal with the political that is also criminal – to ensure that human rights abusers don’t get away with murder because they happen to occupy positions of political power. But is it equally well-suited to dealing with the criminal that is also political?" asks Cronin Furman in conclusion.

Moderator: Elliot Ross, Africa is a Country

Milton Allimadi, Publisher and Editor-in Chief, Black Star News
Kate Cronin-Furman, Human Rights Attorney & Blogger, Wronging Rights
Richard Mark Ochaka, Uganda Program Mentor, Invisible Children
Michael Poffenberger, Co-founder & Executive Director, RESOLVE
Laura Seay, Assistant Professor, Morehouse College & Blogger, Texas in Africa
Amanda Taub, Adjunct Professor, Fordham University & Blogger , Wronging Rights
Bukeni Waruzi, Africa & Middle East Program Manager, WITNESS

Jennifer Lentfer Storified live tweets from the event that will provide further info about the discussion