ISIS Orphans and Kony 2012: Propaganda, Religion and Media Representation

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I’ve seen a lot of conflicts in my life. Many that involved child soldiers. I’ve never seen these levels of hatred and demonization aimed at children until the age of ISIS. 


Does anyone remember Kony 2012? Let me give you a refresher, because it’s extremely relevant to the case of ISIS orphans. I’m going to break down the Kony comparative in some detail — because the “Western” public reaction to abused children in Uganda? Let’s just say — as an intro — that reaction couldn’t be more different from Western public opinion about ISIS children. 

ISIS children don’t need an organization named “Invisible Children” to rescue them. Because ISIS children? They aren’t invisible at all. But your latent bigotry and biases are. That’s a large part of the problem.

Ya rabb, I am so exhausted, demoralized, worn the fuck out by this topic. I feel like I’m screaming into a void. But here I go again. Because we don’t have the luxury of exhaustion.

Before I start on who Joseph Kony is, what the campaign Kony 2012 was, and why it matters for the children of ISIS — I’ll begin with this: Child “soldiers” or child “recruits” are racially and religiously classified in extremely disturbing ways.

You need to know that first.

Joseph Kony is the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda. Kony aims to turn Uganda into a theocracy. Not a Muslim one, though. A Christian theocracy. Kony wants his Ugandan theocracy founded on the Ten Commandments. 

All you Christians — why haven’t you denounced him yet?

Joseph Kony has been charged with war crimes for — among others — kidnapping kids, and abusing them into LRA service. Child soldiers. But for Jesus — so I guess they deserve your sympathy, huh.

Joseph Kony (of pious Ten Commandments infamy) is responsible for forcing children to serve as soldiers and sex slaves on his way to the Ugandan Caliphate. Christians, why would you follow a disgusting religion that lets grown men rape little girls and keep them as slaves?

Pretty horrifying, right? Oh but – “Obviously Kony isn’t representative of Christians. He’s a lunatic fringe psycho. I won’t apologize – that’s not MY version of Jesus.” Fuck off and stop asking Muslims to apologize for the same group that’s massacring them way more than YOU.

On his march towards Christian paradise on earth, through the Ugandan caliphate project — Kony had well over 65,000 child soldiers. But those kids? You CARED. You were OUTRAGED. You wanted to do something for them. They were, after all… “INNOCENT CHILDREN.”

I hope you’re uncomfortable right now. You sure as hell should be. Otherwise, there’s not a chance we can make it out of this.

In 2012, the American public was outraged over the way Joseph Kony abducted and abused little children, victims in need of help. Innocents, after all. Not so the children of ISIS. No, not them. Never them.

I wonder why.

To “stop Kony,” a group called Invisible Children launched a video campaign in 2012 — and it went viral. It went so viral, in fact, that the website kept crashing — inundated with all the good folks who care…

… about “brainwashed” child soldiers.

Kony 2012 is one of the most viral videos of all time. Because that’s how much the plight of Uganda’s child soldiers drove you to speak up. Wonder how that would work with the orphans of ISIS…but…No. No, the fuck I don’t — I already know.

Keep in mind – I started this thread by talking about the case of 60-some ISIS orphans. Kony? Over 65,000. So why weren’t you as scared then? Why did you manage to find compassion? You’re not going to like the answer. But that doesn’t make it any less true.

First, there’s the issue of “Christianity’s perversion” by Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda. Who could stand to see their religion so twisted, so monstrous — so heretically and brutally redefined? Not you. Never you.

Second, there’s a more uncomfortable issue. Of course you “feel” for these children, abused into forced military service, traumatized by experiencing violence, and being forced to commit it. 

At least when YOU don’t have to deal with them. They are, after all… “over there.” Was it really compassion and concern for Kony’s child soldiers that made you act? Truly? If you claim “yes” — please explain why I don’t hear your hoarse voice, throat scratched from screaming for the protection of ISIS’ orphaned children. 

I’m waiting.

Where are you, Taylor Swift?  George Clooney, Angelina Jolie, Oprah Winfrey? Why aren’t you trying to repatriate these children abused by ISIS? Are you too tired after Kony? Or did Uganda never really matter to you at all? Is there another explanation? 

Condoleeza Rice, George W. Bush, John Kerry — you took action to save these children from Joseph Kony’s campaign of Christian terror. Where are you now? Why so quiet on the traumatized children abused by ISIS, left to rot like garbage by their Western “home” nations?

Imagine Justin Bieber, Bill Gates, Christina Milian, Nicki Minaj, Kim Kardashian, Rihanna and Ellen Page visiting a refugee camp where ISIS orphans are imprisoned. 

Laughable, right? …………. now, why do you think that is?

Thing is, you see Joseph Kony’s African child soldiers as in need of saving, worthy of protecting from this psychopath who hijacked Christianity. But the children of ISIS? In your heart of hearts, ISIS orphans don’t even deserve the condescension of the “white man’s burden.”

It’s quite surreal, this comparison…and it continues. 

Kony 2012 received considerable criticism from Americans who decried the campaign as “white savior” or “slacktivism.” But I’m not here to debate the efficacy or ethical foundation of Kony 2012. I’m here to disturb you.

Paramount among the criticisms leveled at Kony 2012: the film was too late. These children were done for. The film was slacktivism. No one would really help, beyond a Facebook “like.” Criticism: IT DIDN’T DO ENOUGH ON BEHALF OF THESE KIDS ABUSED INTO CHILD SOLDIER SERVICE.

Imagine a film about ISIS’ use of children. Imagine that film receiving criticism for “not doing enough” to help these kids. Are you having a hard time? Of course you are. Because “imaginary” is outside the limits of what you — or I — can imagine.

You mobilized all the big name celebrities to “Save the Children” from Joseph Kony — all 65,000+ children. But as for the 60 children trapped in Syria, denied return home by “Home” Secretary Priti Patel? All you can say is “they’re too far gone” — if, even, that. GTFOH.

Just realize: every time you shrug your shoulders because “these children are ticking time bombs,” because “they’re ISIS kids – who cares,” etc…I hope you know: ISIS is playing your cynical indifference, fake compassion, and grotesque bigotry … like a fucking fiddle.

ISIS wrote the script. ISIS directs.

But you accepted the role.

Those cynical government leaders, obsessed with fear’s political expediency, the media concerned more with sensationalism and clicks than ethics, your hollow compassion, and unrecognized bigotry?

Without you to act the part, there’s no show.

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