Ugandan Street Interviews: Kony 2012

Intro from Jay Allison: Andy Mills and Aaron Appleton's vox pop features the voices of Ugandans and their opinions on the viral video phenomenon Kony 2012. We're featuring it on the occasion of "Cover the Night," a global campaign demanding justice be brought to Joseph Kony, who is accused of terrorizing northern Uganda for decades.

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Notes from Andy Mills:

I lived in Southern Sudan in 2007 and 2008, working as a research journalist for an aid and development organization. Most of my work was done in the small villages alongside Sudan’s southern border with northern Uganda. I met many people who had been devastated by Joseph Kony’s rebel force: the LRA. I heard terrible stories about child soldier abduction, torture and dismemberment. I saw the scars these rebels left on the bodies and communities of this area. Yet, it seemed very apparent that the LRA was now a feeble body of rebels in hiding, not a frightening force of power any longer.

So when the Kony 2012 video went viral, I wondered what Ugandans thought of all the attention.

But, in most of the media I listened to/watched, their voices were missing.

photo of African child

So, motivated largely by my own curiosity, I called my friend Aaron who lives and works in Uganda and asked him if he’d go around and record a few interviews with Ugandans on the subject.

Since we felt their voices were missing from the conversation, and since Kony 2012 is planning a media blitz on April 20th called “Cover the Night,” we decided to produce a short radio piece on the subject.

Aaron has never made radio before, but he does a hefty amount of music recording and producing for his non profit organization: Ensigo. I taught him the basics for recording a vox pop and a tape sync, and we spoke over Skype – me in Denver and he in Kampala. He sent me all the sound files and I compiled this story from my apartment here in Denver (recording the narration in my closet).

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  • jina

    4.21.12

    Reply

    Terrific to have the literal voices of Ugandans involved in this conversation. Photographer Glenna Gordon, who took the infamous photo of Invisible Children posing with guns and RPGs in Juba in 2008, has a photographer’s version of this up at Wired:

    http://www.wired.com/rawfile/2012/04/new-photos-show-a-reality-the-kony-2012-video-misses/?pid=2199

  • Helena

    4.25.12

    Reply

    I would like to point out, that while the video does over simplify a very complex problem. However, in order to get the world’s attention no one is going to watch an hour long documentary on the atrocities committed by the LRA. Instead, in order to get the world’s attention and get people talking, you have to make it simple. Joseph Kony is still notorious. I really did enjoy this piece, but I would have preferred the reporter to have gone out to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, or the Central African Republic where Joseph Kony and his rebel army are still committing mass atrocities. Thank you for your reporting.

    • Andy

      4.25.12

      Reply

      Hello Helena,

      I think you have a good point here. This is a (very) small sample of Ugandan reactions and is by no-means giving everyone involved a voice. Rather, it is just trying to get a little more perspective on the local aspect of a global issue. When I was in Southern Sudan the village next to the mountain range where I lived was attacked by the LRA and I got a small taste of how frightening it can be to hide in the bush and wait for trouble to move on. Thanks for listening and sharing your thoughts!

  • Ryan

    5.02.12

    Reply

    Awesome! I met Aaron back in 2009 when I was studying in Uganda – he was an alum of the same study abroad program. Thanks to both of you for doing this project!

    • Aaron

      5.24.12

      Reply

      Hey Ryan!

      As they say in Uganda “Thank you for appreciating” 🙂 I’m so glad that you were able to hear the radio piece.

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