Expert Witness: Assessing Kony 2012 With Reason

It’s not often that when a video that goes viral:

A: It is about an actual issue and not a cute but mischievous cat.

B: It causes serious discussions across social and news networks.

C: You are related to an expert of the topic of controversy.



As a result I am beyond pleased that I had the excuse to interview my father Rev. Dr. Emmanuel K. Twesigye, Aden S. and Mollie Wollam Benedicts Professor of Christian Studies, at Ohio Wesleyan University.  Dr. Twesigye has studied the Lord’s Resistance Army in the context of his academic background in Christian ethics, theology and church history for the past several decades. As a result, he is able to give us a point of view on the current controversy over the video, Kony 2012, that is not the result of  rigorous googling but rather a career of research and personal knowledge of Uganda, as he left as an adult avoiding persecution from Idi Amin.

Here is what the interview has to offer you:

  • His take on the Kony 2012 video
  • A brief history lesson on the convergence of theology and political conflict as it relates to Joseph Kony, Idi Amin, former President Milton Obote and current President Yoweri Musevini
  • Thoughts on reconciliation and whether holding destructive leaders accountable for their atrocities actually leads to healing
  • What the reconciliation process may look like in Northern Uganda
  • The priorities of the people and organizations working in Northern Uganda

As always we have a Deep Dive conversation where the interview goes deep into all of the topics covered above above and for those who lean toward the ADD end I have two shorter versions for you.

This clip get’s right to the heart of what so many people have been asking recently: What do you think about the Kony 2012 video?


This clip discusses the history of religion, geography and political conflict that created the opportunity for Kony in the first place.

Many people have come up with many reasons on why not to give to Invisible Children.That’s fine. Some of you may want to start your own organization-in which case you need to read a previous helpful post.

I’m giving you links to people are providing services on the ground in Northern Uganda. So for those who would like to help—you may have to do some research (these are links and should not be construed as certification of good organizations) but you can help those who are helping others in a very tangible fashion.

Civil Society Organizations for Peace in Northern Uganda

Conciliation Resources

Developing Education for Africa (DevEd) [Disclaimer my Dad is the President]

Uganda National NGO Directory


Soccer Without Borders Baltimore
For those of you who want to keep your money in the US, I personally vouch for this organization. The student-athletes that make up the program have been recently resettled to Baltimore City from a variety of countries including but not limited to Cameroon, Eritrea, Somalia, Rwanda, DRC, Congo, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Iraq, Bhutan, and Nepal.




3 thoughts on “Expert Witness: Assessing Kony 2012 With Reason

  1. What part of the Ten Commandments does this so called Lord’s Resistance Army actually follow? Why does this theologian smile at what he calls the people who do not know enough about it? Simplifying a long continuing problem? You cannot send all the children to Baltimore – not in all those countries. Of help is not needed then why is this still occurring? Stopping corruption that is so very deep in a culture means that each person must stop it at the level that it occurs and must point out the corruption that they see rather than participating in it and criticizing any effort to stop what has not been ended over so many years. Helping rather than trying to stop efforts to end the mutilation and rape and kidnapping and torture is something that you could spend your energy on rather than discrediting an effort to bring to the eyes of the world the kind of futility in ending this desecration of Christianity – I am appalled. So be it. Like was said to me long ago by a service provider – “I don’t care” And thus it seems to the rest of the world about you and Ugandans who have their own little niche in the world to protect. Let the beasts continue – and when they come for you? What will you say then?

    An American who lives in Eastern Europe

    • Dear Nancy –

      it seems to me that you have misunderstood Dr. Twesigye’s message. This theologian smiles because he is a kind person with a lot of knowledge he is happy to share – that very much defines a profession of a professor and a researcher.

      If you listen to the video one more time, you will hear him not only to explain the history of the LRA group and Joseph Kony and learn how they became as powerful and dangerous as they did, you will also hear him commenting positively on the efforts of Invisible Children to share the knowledge, educate and inspire young people to get involved and fight injustice, so that there are no more Kony’s going unnoticed for 20+ years in the future. What Dr. Twesigye points out (and where I think your confusion comes in) is that killing Kony will not change the situation in Uganda in a way that the video is potentially suggesting. He does not say that people should keep ignoring this problem, he is just warning that killing Kony might have an effect that Invisible Children video does not cover – unrest, civil war and so on. This is not to say that people like Kony should not be brought to justice, this is just a reminder that even after Kony is captured or killed, there is a lot of work that needs to be done in order to help children and people in Uganda. The Invisible Children video might make it seem to young, passionate people, that capturing Kony is the main goal and once it’s done, there is no need to pay attention to Uganda anymore.

      I can see from your post that you care about the horrors those children had to go through. So do I. I would like to ask you to watch the full length video again, so you can see for yourself that so does Dr. Twesigye.

      I am also glad to see the list of the organizations that are involved in providing the services in Northern Uganda. I think Invisible Children did a great job at sharing the message and got not only people’s attention about Kony, but also got people asking in what other ways they can help Uganda. This list is excellent.

      (interestingly enough, I am an Eastern European who lives in the US)

      • I couldn’t have said this better myself Andrea. Thanks for your response. Thank you Nancy for your concern about a very important mission as well.

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