by Paul Clark
A socialist group in Sydney has alleged there is a hidden agenda behind the not-for-profit organisation, Invisible Children.
Mr Dean Maloney, of Socialist Alternative, addressed a public meeting yesterday at the University of Technology Sydney, where he linked the activities of Invisible Children with US foreign policy and the exploitation of oil reserves in northern Uganda. Mr Maloney said the US had shown no previous interest in Uganda. With the discovery of oil reserves, he said, “There is now something in it for the world’s big powers.”
Invisible Children, which has headquarters in the US city of San Diego and operates in Uganda, attained a new level of fame with the release of the film Kony 2012.
Invisible Children seeks to end the operations of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in Uganda, and arrest LRA leader Joseph Kony, through an international public action campaign. Socialist Alternative says the organisation has a different agenda, which is to promote the intervention of the US in Uganda and throughout the African continent. “US Intelligence says Joseph Kony isn’t even in Uganda,” Mr Maloney said.
Mr Maloney told the meeting that Invisible Children was either operating directly with US interests or was being used as a cover for military intervention. “Invisible Children, whether through design or not, or whether it is just naivety, has played the role of useful idiot in this, in that it managed to line up with the current drive to dominate central Africa,” he said. “Imperialism always tries to cloak itself in more acceptable garb. The drive to war is never explained honestly.”
Mr Maloney said that he did not disagree that warlords such as Joseph Kony should be stopped, but this should be left to the people of Africa without interference from Western nations. “The West should stop meddling in the affairs of ordinary Africans, stop meddling in government, stop meddling to try and steal resources. If you leave the people of Africa alone they are perfectly capable of sorting out their own lives, perfectly capable of standing up for themselves, and perfectly capable of toppling dictators,” he said.
Amnesty International Australia believes that the governments of African countries where the LRA operates should lead efforts to arrest leaders of the LRA who are suspected of criminal human rights violations. Amnesty International Australia’s Campaigns Director, Andrew Beswick, said that social media does provide an effective way for people to start getting involved in social justice. “The widespread interest and support captured by the Kony 2012 campaign has demonstrated how social media can give everyday people the tools to organise and coordinate together at unprecedented scales and speeds to act against injustice,” he said. “However, this online activism also needs to be paired with a physical presence in the community and translated into real action at a street level. The combination of the two forms of activism is needed for the success of any movement.”
Invisible Children has a representative, Ms Rebecca Fowler, located in Blacktown, Sydney. When contacted for comment regarding the claims made by Socialist Alternative, Ms Fowler did not return calls.