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March 10th, 2012
09:53 PM ET

Kony victim reacts to "Kony 2012"

It's been hard to turn on the T.V.– or log onto Facebook or Twitter or email– and not hear about Ugandan warloard Joseph Kony. He's blamed for torturing, killing, and brainwashing children and families in central Africa.

Most had never heard of him until a 30-minute Youtube video called "Kony 2012" went viral.

Evelyn Apoko is one of Kony's victims. She weighs in on "Kony 2012."


Filed under: Anchors • CNN Newsroom • Don Lemon
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Scot Wolfe

    I am the founding chairman of the board for Invisible Children, KONY 2012. I current serve on the board. I appreciate the awareness CNN is putting forth. I also really do appreciate the vetting process we have gone through. The interveiw of the courageous women that had escaped the LRA was moving. I would love for you to gain a perspective from a woman named Jolly. A formally abducted woman who still lives in Uganda. Her perspective is priceless .

    March 10, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
  2. annon

    I realize she is upset about the film focusing on Uganda however if you pay attention to the film as it says in the very beginning he clearly says Uganda is not where he is anymore. He states Uganda is basically secure and that Kony has moved to other places, that was made clear in the film...he never mentions where and I for one believe that was done for a reason. The media needs to leave it alone and quit mentioning location. Quit trying to find fault in people trying to do a good thing.

    March 10, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
  3. annon

    I realize she is upset about the film focusing on Uganda however if you pay attention to the film as it says in the very beginning he clearly says Uganda is not where he is anymore. He states Uganda is basically secure and that Kony has moved to other places, that was made clear in the film...he never mentions where and I for one believe that was done for a reason.

    March 10, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
  4. Troy

    Nice piece Don. Thanks for letting this couragous young lady tell her side of the story.

    March 10, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
  5. joel handy

    hi ,im concerned with the kony deal,when i watched the film i was disturbed. i told my daughter too do some checking into this before we made a contribution,when she googled fraud she found some disturbing info .if true these guys are using these kids for travel(7million)last year just in travel! but what gave it away for my daughter ,a 2nd year college student was the date they want everyone too come together .(4/20) ask any outgoing mid teen tooearly 20 year old what this date is .i had no idea myself till this came up. after that and looking at this guy doing the story ,it makes sense .the last thing he did on pierse morgan was give the peace symbol .i had too laugh .thanks and please check it out to keep us from being used.i dont think we have to pay these guys to travel and enjoy themselves too stop kony!i had rather you didnt use my name on such an important topic please.research 4/20 and come to your own conclusion thank you!

    March 10, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
  6. Wolfgang Von Zubaz

    Vast oil reserves have recently been found in Uganda. This may explain why US troops are on the ground in Uganda pre-Kony viral.

    They are just trying to find Kony to head up a human resources dept for the oil companies. He seems to know how to recruit hard working youth

    March 11, 2012 at 12:04 am |
  7. Max

    I don't understand why they are calling it Kony 2012 as if he is a political figure running for president. If you really want to stop this guy I don't think using his name would be the best way to do it. It is somewhat giving him power and recognition instead of weakening him and punishing him for what he has done. Someone please explain.

    March 11, 2012 at 1:58 am |
  8. anon

    I think they used his name because they wanted to bring attention to who this person was and the atrocities he was committing. That way when he's captured and tried at the ICC people will know the magnitude of what that means as opposed to not knowing who this guy was.

    Also, I just want to point out one thing. I get that people are upset about traveling fees but flights to Uganda and the DRC are not cheap. Especially in the DRC- and I'm sure they are constantly traveling there because they are running their new non-violent and rehabilitative programs there that I learned about here: http://www.lracrisistracker.com.

    Believe what you want. But I encourage everyone to check out this information to learn about the other side of this organization and the sustainable development programs they are creating, which happen to have exit strategies to encourage the local communities to run them.

    But no matter what- Evelyn is an incredible young woman and did have some thought-provoking points.

    March 11, 2012 at 3:28 am |
  9. Blair

    After watching the KONY 2012 video and this one, along with some other research, I can't help but wonder if this was really the right way to go about spreading the word. I do agree that Kony needs to be stopped, but this does almost seem to be making him famous in the wrong way. I think Evelyn has a point in we need to bring more attention to the victims.I personally feel that the KONY 2012 portrayed Uganda to be a very weak country, which I feel is unfair. It focused on what outside sources have done to help Uganda, but not what THEY have done themselves, and I'm sure they have done SOMETHING. I think we need to be aware of what is going on, but time, money and resources should also be going to help restore balance and improve the lives of conditions of those who have been affected. Medical car for those injured, more education opportunites, etc. But within reason, I think the U.S. needs to consider and ask themselves, "to what degree do those countries even WANT us involved in their affairs?"

    March 11, 2012 at 5:10 am |
  10. Ronnie

    In the first place, the Invisible Children blinded the world. It was doctored from the word go. I am Uganda and film documentaries around Uganda, including a lot of photography and have various footage from around Uganda including a lot from Northern Uganda, including Gulu, some of it, very shocking, but not at any one time, have I ever been able to film Kony's Child Soldiers. That was one of the hardest things for anyone to film and how can a guy just come out somewhere and claims he filmed Kony's child soldiers, just like that? Yes, he had them, but those children were trained to kill not to pose around for photos and video. Me and couple of other experts in this field are 100% certain after analysis of Invisible Children documentary some years back that there is a lot of footage in that film that was not Uganda. I have also had several interviews with former Child Soldiers and still have access to many of them. Many of his claims are just doctored and untrue.

    To put the nail on the coffin, back in the days when his website wasn't as fancy looking as it is now, he had a discussion board, I posted all my concerns and comments on there and at first, his board moderator was very harsh to me with his reply comments until when I exposed more truth and all my comments were deleted from the discussion board. If Google had a cached version of this, it would prove it. All my comments were removed instantly and nothing that I posted again ever got published.

    The guy faked footage from other african countries and put them into the Invisible Children documentary that was first released, even this one that they are talking about. Guys look carefully at the documentary invisible children, some of THAT FOOTAGE IS NOT UGANDA. Those kids with bald heads are not Ugandan and not from the LRA. I have moved into every corner of those areas and those areas never exist. People flew from different countries to Uganda when they watched Invisible children and no child soldier was seen as portrayed in the Video. I am not saying Kony didnt do trash and horrible stuff. I am saying that some dude came up with a way to mint money from this. Check with Acholi Inn, one of the places where people who came from different countries used to stay those days...they just lounged around and waited for their days to get get finished and fly back home...and they did but saw nothing on the ground as was portrayed. Expert Analysis of the Invisible Children Documentary shows that it was a fake with footage from probably some West African country or some other war-infested country with Child soldiers so that it would be blown out of proportion.

    Why after 5 years of Kony Silence? He is just a hoax and scam. It's time these so called humanitarians wake up and realise it's time to build Uganda, not dwell on some video of a guy who is after his selfish gains.

    Thanks to all those who are exposing the filth and wrong with this guy who is taking people for a ride. I am sorry to say this but if people continue to follow KONY2012, people will be turning to uneducated humanitarians. He is just looking for a way to make more money. His niche is no longer there and now he wants to get more from the generous humanitarians at this time when his campaign is not even helping.

    I am willing to give you more information on this should you so require. I can even give you a telephone to contact me if you ever need to have more information. You may contact me through the email I have submitted.

    March 11, 2012 at 5:23 am |
  11. heidi

    In America we are inundated with information every second of our lives. If a person saw a picture of a thousand African children on a poster they would look at it and turn away. How many years have we watched the commercials of children suffering of starvation and yet, it has continued. It's true the US cannot guarantee relief for starvation, I understand that, but what I'm trying to say is that, like for myself... I see Kony everywhere, on Facebook, on Twitter, on the news and I googled the video. I was so moved that I want to get involved. It isn't enough to show pictures of children anymore, unfortunately. But, when you can identify one name, one person, it speaks for his atrocities.

    Additionally, I think that although this woman's story is moving and something I can never imagine to experience, I think it's possible she is misunderstanding the word celebrity and I think that CNN has pushed it's agenda in the way that it chose to ask interview questions. CNN clearly seems to not be interested in the message of the video, but rather the criticism of it.

    Also, if this was a scam, I think that with how many? how many hundreds of thousands people have gotten involved? that someone would have made a bigger deal about the fraud. America is skeptical of everyone because of our own need to live in our tiny bubble of freedom and our selfishness to not give another dime to another organization pleading for another social cause. It's terribly unfortunate. And if anyone knows anything about fundraising or raising awareness for a cause, testimonies are the way to get support....which is why money on travel is important. And I'm sorry Joel Handy, but, let's get serious- Uganda, third world countries are hardly a vacation spot. So think about that before you call fraud on someone who's dedicated a significant amount of their time on a cause that matters. I don't know if you know this but, people who work for non-profits make barely anything. The motivation isn't in the money, it's in the cause.

    Again, I support Evelyn and understand how she must be hurt, but I am disappointed by CNN's spin on the interview, I feel that it took away from the impact that the video can be.

    March 11, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
  12. heidi

    On one more note, if we look past the message of the video it serves as an inspiration. So many people think, "I can't do anything about this, I can't make a difference," this video provides inspiration (and tactics) for how a small group of individuals can make a difference. I think that Margaret Mead said it best, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

    March 11, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
  13. ADONG

    I don't understand why everyone is trying to find fault with Kony 2012. If all the energy put in finding fault with it would only be put into actually doing what you people think is better, Kony 's challenge would be resolved by now. Everyone is turning this into a contest to show that they understand or can find someone who understands the Kony situation better. What none sense about giving Kony's name more power! We do study Hitler in history to date-why haven't we stopped studying him in order not to give his name more power. I am an Acholi who went to Sacred Heart Girls school same year 44 girls were abducted by Kony and his men and I survived amidst all other things. In 1996, I was one of those children in the Invisible Children film sleeping at the Gulu bus park to avoid being abducted but I appreciate that their effort got 50+ million people to know about Kony and his atrocities, including some of you who are trashing the film, yet admitting that you have read more about Kony after watching the film. Would you have read more if you hadn't watched the film? Would have even known about Kony? I had a reading of my play about this situation in New York City last year and quite a number of people hadn't even heard of the country Uganda let alone Kony. What does it do to appreciate an effort from someone else while pointing out some weakness it has, like all things have some weaknesses anyway? Nothing or no one is 100% perefct. They did the best they knew how. I can't believe that someone would think everything about the IC film is bad. This film has called on the world to be witnesses to our ordeal-the Acholi ordeal amidst 25 years of being ignored. Whether or not they do something about it at this pint for me is none issue. But I know that part of my story has been told and that counts for something even if for the sake of Aristotle's Catharsis. I for one as an Acholi person appreciates this. My only fault the film is that the solutions suggested don't seem practical-and that is all! But now you know there is a problem with a man called Joeph Kony whether he is not in Uganda currently, he is moving freely between Congo, South Sudan and Central Africa doing the same things he has done in Uganda. These countries harbor humans too not aliens. So if northern Uganda is peaceful like all you people seem to believe, then do something about Congo, South Sudan and Central Africa. Absence of war is not equals to peace. Plus, Kony is just for a recess believe you me-and Acholi people leave in constant fear of his return. Wait when you hear he is back in Northern Uganda and all of you will think back and realize IC wasn't as bad as you are trying to make it look right now. And the Acholi people finding fault with the IC film will wish IC had been taken on their words to STOP Kony. We are not save as long as Kony is still out there!!! TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT!!!

    MOST UGANDANS ARE AFRAID AMERICA COULD USE THIS AS AN EXCUSE TO INVADE UGANDA AND 'STEAL' OUR PRECIOUS OIL SO THEY ARE DETERMINED TO MAKE IC LOOK A FAKE 100%. REALLY? I DON'T WAnT AMERICAN TROOPS IN UGANDA BUT THAT ISN'T GOING TO MAKE ME RUBBISH EVERYTHING ABOUT THE IC FILM....

    March 11, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
  14. anonymous

    Ok ...so a guy makes a video about someone we should all go after for his crimes based on his video evidence. If this is the way justice is to occur then in time do we just go after the next guy posted in his next video. This a slippery slope .. justice by video. American justice? ... whose justice? What if you get put on this guys hit list down the road? Ok ... you can poopoo these thoughts but who decides who go on the list .. and whose next .. a video creator?

    March 11, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
  15. amin dad

    Why did Konny come to life, ?
    He was defending his people from the most notorius killer Museveni , Kagame and Kabila whenthe two were still in the Ugandan Army.
    Uganda having capacity to invade Rwanda in 1994 and Congo in 1997 and now in Somalia, why cant this same army abandon its Nationals and engage in wars far from home.
    Konny has been used by money makers from affiliates in White house, to NGOS In africa but the victims are the vulnerable, young and old.
    Konny is a Ugandan Govt Pawn. To justify money from white house and nO 10 ; AND GRABING OF LAND RICH IN oil.

    The good thing about konny 2012 is that YOU CAN NOW GOOGLE MUSEVENI AND GENOCIDE IN AFRICA:

    March 11, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
  16. MrUniteUs

    I think the best solution is to offer a 1 million dollar reward.

    March 11, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
  17. Emma Aspray

    MrUniteUs
    a reward is NOT the anwser !! we need to save children no to reward other from finding him ! these are childrens lifes !

    March 13, 2012 at 8:58 am |
  18. Bob Cumming

    Adong has it right. Kony is not in Uganda anymore; instead he is in DRC, CAR and South Sudan. Do we care less about these people than about Ugandans? And people in the north of Uganda are worried that Kony and the LRA may return. I have been to Gulu a couple of times (2009 and 2011), and Lira (2008), and I know that there is a reluctance for people like doctors and teachers from Kampala to move to the north because of the fear of Kony's return. This is not helping northern Ugnada reciver from 20 years of war.

    I can also see that people are upset that Kony2012 seems to portray Uganda as a dangerous place still at war. (IThe video makes it clear that Kony left Uganda in 2006 but most people seem to have missed that.) In fact, Uganda is a wonderful place, full of beautiful people and entirely safe (except perhaps for the Karamoja region in the far northeast). At the very least, the video will teach people where Uganda is and will surely increase support/donations for organisations working aroiund Gulu.

    March 13, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
  19. Yos Riady

    "You are making our work here very difficult".

    It is a side remark, uttered politely and quietly. Near the start of the "Kony 2012" video, a man says this. If you have seen the video - and chances are you have - you might have missed this small interaction just four minutes into the film. But his words turned out to be prophetic: "You are making our work here very difficult."

    March 14, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
  20. Jason

    Interestingly, northern Ugandans REALLY did NOT LIKE the Invisible Children video. There is a story on Al-Jazeera with accompanying news footage of a screening done in Lira, northern Uganda. The local population had heard so many wonderful things about the film, that they wanted a public screening. So a local youth NGO screened the video to a crowd of 35,000 people.

    The screening ended violently as those present became enraged at what they saw as a film completely insensitive to their reality. One woman compared the IC film to someone peddling Osama Bin Laden images, even if well-intended.

    “The event ended with the angrier members of the audience throwing rocks and shouting abusive criticism, as the rest fled for safety, leaving an abandoned projector, with organisers and the press running for cover until the dust settled,” Webb reports for Al Jazeera.

    Goes to show that even though IC may have had good intention, and even if IC did gain a lot of attention here in the West, they failed at something so incredibly important: they failed to communicate and consult effectively with the community they claim to be helping.

    See Malcolm Webb’s reporting from Uganda here: Ugandans react with anger to Kony video

    http://blogs.aljazeera.net/africa/2012/03/14/ugandans-react-anger-kony-video

    If Invisible Children really cares about their mission, then they should be humble enough to take a long look in the mirror and open a real dialogue with the community of advocates here and in Uganda.

    March 15, 2012 at 1:44 am |
  21. anon

    If the U.N. wanted to stop Kony they would have done it by now. Your payments to this fraud of an organization is not going to help anyone. Nobody wants to intervene. Right now we need to worry about Iran and the middle east. It's funny that this has been going on for years and just now people realize what is going on. Kony 2012 is just a fad directed at teenagers that will easily be swayed to donate.

    March 15, 2012 at 11:59 am |
  22. Jack

    Jason Russell was detained by police in San Diego Thursday night for masturbating, vandalizing cars and acting under the influence of alcohol and possibly drugs. Police said they received several calls at 11:30 a.m. of a man in various stages of undress, running through traffic and screaming. Russell was taken into custody, then taken to a local medical facility. According to the CEO of IC, “Jason Russell was unfortunately hospitalized suffering from exhaustion, dehydration, and malnutrition. He is now receiving medical care and is focused on getting better...The past two weeks have taken a severe emotional toll...Jason especially, and that toll manifested itself in an unfortunate incident yesterday..”

    I feel bad for the guy, but wow...

    March 16, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
  23. robmorganaust

    Heidi, perhaps it's a bit unfair calling IC a scam.

    But, according to IC's own unaudited accounts, the actual delivery efficiency of aid that goes directly to beneficiaries is quite low – around 30%. It's irrelevant to the outcome whether that's a scam, poor planning or poor operational management.

    There have been plenty of charities as well as investment Ponzi schemes with thousands of intelligent and independent contributors or investors.

    Whether IC has a thousand or a million people contributing is irrelevant to it's legitimacy. But you should know that it's own material argues that spending a large portion of the charity's income in some years on film-making is a legitimate form of "aid".

    To your point, "people who work for non-profits make barely anything", you're right about all the ones that I'm more familiar with, but the core people in IC earn around USD $80k per year, and somehow managed to spend many millions each time they make a film.

    Great that you're keen to help, you need to decide whether IC is the most effective way to get your contributions flowing to the people that need it – and you really need to read some more (from Ugandans and others) on just how relevant is the focus on Kony.

    March 16, 2012 at 9:41 pm |

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