Terry Torok

Founder at Angel Producers, Founder at Live from Earth


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KONY 2012 -Glossing over a complex issue, missing the subject of Healing for Victims? OR a powerful point towards tragedy of Child Soldiers?

The video and movement is an undeniable phenomena... I am curious to hear from the intelligence and compassion of the TED Community...

  • Mar 24 2012: My husband and I had quite a heated discussion regarding this topic. He takes the view of some here that "it's been happening all over the world since the beginning of time" and "why Kony? what about (fill in your favorite bad guy)" etc..

    I feel the story of the boy on the beach with the starfish is the best way to express this. As he picked up the starfish along the beach and threw them back into the ocean he was asked why did he do it when he couldn't possibly save them all. He picked one up, threw it into the ocean and said, "It made a difference to that one".

    I find the KONY campaign fascinating, if nothing else, as the global social experiment that it is. Can we, a global community, come together and affect change that can prevent future atrocities in our world? Maybe Kony is our focus now, but when the "bad guys" find out they can no longer hide due to global visiblity, it might prevent just one from doing the same as Kony or those like him.

    Knowledge and awareness, implies responsibility. Like it or not, we are a global community and we must learn to help take care of each other, the strong protect the weak and empower them to become strong. It's real easy to sit here in our nice comfy homes in front of a computer and debate this issue when we do not experience it ourselves. We are fortunate to be born where we are and have what we have. Why shouldn't we try to make the world a better place for those that have not had the same blessings?

    I don't really care if KONY is "faked", "misleading" or anything else. Fact is, this IS happening in our world and it is our shared responsibility to make it stop. Or fail miserably as human beings.

    Change in the world begins with me.
  • Mar 12 2012: Unless someone can convince me that we're going to cause harm, I'm following through with getting people together for a screening of Kony 2012 and I plan to be part of papering the city of Akron Ohio with Kony posters. I don't mind that issues are simplified to a level a child can understand. A global action by citizens to stop an international war criminal is something I want to be a part of. I think the objections I've heard are mostly valid, and I'm glad they are linked to a discussion that is likely to be viewed now by people who didn't even know the problem existed.
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      Mar 12 2012: Thank you for your thoughts and action Auburn...
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      Mar 16 2012: I'm on the same level as you Auburn, unless someone can convince me, or do something as extraordinary as the KONY2012 Campaign, fine, furthermore, I will take part of it also!!

      There is a tragedy going on in Unganda, something as to be done, and something amazing is being done, instead of finding faults to it, get involve, do something, put an action towards it...change, justice will prevailed.

      I make my pledge, I make my donation, tweet all the 20 and all the 12, to bring KONY2012 to justice in 2012, bracelets and kits are sold out...this is great news!! I post it on my LinkedIn page etc..

      This is a great endeavours going on since early 2003...get with it already and be the changed!!

      STOP Joseph Kony by making him famous!! Got to love that!
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      Mar 16 2012: Thanks Auburn Sandstrom . Those trying to bring down the campaign refused to put forward an argument. I know of Joseph Kony and the Lord resistance Army long before the viral online campaign . . His atrocities cannot be captured in written terms .
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    Mar 11 2012: maybe working on economic progress in the region, so they can deal with their own outlaws seems to be a better idea.

    i mean, those american advisors are in the area for many years, so it does not seem to be a solution. and funneling more money to the corrupt ugandan government also does not seem to be a bright idea.
    • Mar 11 2012: ‎"The opposite of poverty is not wealth. … In too many places, the opposite of poverty is justice.”
      (Bryan Stevenson)
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      Mar 11 2012: ...

      also looking into the economics that do exist in the region... and break the chain of injustice... eg - mining the elements like Blood Diamonds and columbite-tantalite - coltan for short, the element found in your cell phone that contributes to slave and child labor in the Congo. These are economies that also feed child soldier regimes.
    • Mar 12 2012: The American advisors have not been there for a long time, and are leaving at the end of the year, hence why the Kony 2012 video is made. While IC and other Uganda NGO's have got the attention of DC and been able to get this far, a lot of it will be in vain if Kony is able to run loose.

      IC is looking towards long term solutions, and education is one of the best things that they could help with, which they have been doing for many years.
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        Mar 12 2012: 4 years seems to be a long time to me. but we don't need too much evidence to admit, the US advisors does not represent too much value. if the US wants, it can still provide satellite coverage. btw google also can. and the people on the field, in the villages especially can provide intel if they have access to the internet or mobile phones. these are actually working ideas, unlike the advisors.

        and also note that handing out money and resources to ugandan government or military might be a bigger problem than what we are trying to solve.
  • Mar 11 2012: I have volunteered for IC in a couple different times in different capacities. If you look at it skin deep I could see how they may possibly be missing the part about healing for victims. IC has been around for a while, with a huge base of people involved in their campaigns for a lot of years, so the foundation for this to 'go viral' has been there for a long time. From the time of the first IC event, the 'Global Night Commute,' they have always been looking for long-term solutions, not just making videos. I planned one of their first events in my city, then was invited to meet with some of their staff, who at that time were either unpaid, or making less than minimum wage. They were always about finding long-term solutions, building schools and doing whatever was in their power to bring prosperity and justice to the people. It would be a mistake to judge the countless hours that volunteers have done to help this cause based on one video when there is almost a decade of work behind it.

    Kony 2012 is about using the power of the people to put enormous pressure on the US and anyone else that can prevent Kony from continuing his reign of terror. He is no longer in Uganda, but roaming the borders of nearby countries. His capture could mean the end to his threat, which is also a long-term solution.

    It is impossible to sum up everything IC has been doing since 2003. It was founded and fueled by young and passionate people who wanted to make difference, not by people with Masters and PHD degrees in foreign policy.
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      Mar 11 2012: ...

      Justice thank you so much for this, for you and the work you do...

      • Mar 12 2012: no problem, but in truth I don't do much anymore! I moved to China to teach Business classes at a university so there's only so much I could do with this issue. But with that, a few of us teachers are going to show this video to many of our students. I can incorporate it into my marketing course, and I volunteer with some of our students at one of the local orphanages, so I think they will feel even more inspired that they can make a difference!
  • Mar 11 2012: I would tell you a story, my story...
    I was born in Massawa, Eritrea (horn of Africa), and the war for independence got heated so much during the 70's that we (my family and I) had to flee. I was around 4 years old, and we had to walk for maybe six days through deserts, then using camels and finally by trucks provided by the rebels. I don't remember much, but there are scenes, smells, and moments in my mind that I will never forget!
    There were genocides everywhere, villages completely destructed and burned, killing of men on the front of their own families and so on. And we were one of the lucky families who managed to stay together and moved to SA. And this war went on till 1991.

    Now I wonder....

    If I went through a time machine back to those few moments, the very silent moments with my family and neighbors sitting on a circle inside a man-digged holes into the ground and the only sound we can hear is the airstrike missiles and the only way we talk is the eye contacts, the "everything will be OK" , although I didn't understand back then...
    If I went back through that again...
    knowing that.... someone out there , somewhere in the world, using some sort of a miraculous power to gather millions of people to come and rescue us !!!

    I wonder then....

    how would I feel about it !!!
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      Mar 11 2012: ...

      Thank you Tofig for sharing your most important story. Many people want to help but also want to know if their effort really is helping. Faith, trust and understanding our action is often the best we can do...
  • Mar 24 2012: Latest news from CNN:
    "African Union beefs up forces to hunt Joseph Kony"
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    Mar 21 2012: I am a member of a new band called Action Required Now. Action Required Now! is an organization that seeks to create a culture of mindful, proactive people who inspire others to support goodwill causes.

    We produce our first single and is about the tragedy of Child Soldiers. "Enough" is a March of Hope, a song for freedom...it is intended to be a symbol of hope for those suffering by the hands of those that use children as soldiers and as a battle cry for ourselves and the many groups working to put an end to this horrific practice!

    Our music is designed to support and uplift those that are suffering and by "Healing our world with a song" we aim to inspire people to take action and get involved. If you would like to hear it please visit youtube - Enough by Action Required Now. If you like it please spread the word... Peace
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    Mar 18 2012: Kony 2012 is a phenomenon of public outrage. I can’t remember when the public marched to shame their government into taking action - even if only in an advisory capacity.

    Naturally, western powers are reluctant to charge into Africa due to the potential call of colonialism and the bottomless pit of becoming involved in intractable tribal wars. However, if ever there was a case for making an effort to halt this horrific cruelty then perhaps the time is now for other African countries to get involved. If that means redrawing the map of Africa then so be it - the UN working alongside the African Congress may have a role in this regard. Africa is plagued with tribal / religious conflicts so maybe better defined tribal lands are needed. Profits from non renewable natural resources across the whole African continent should be divided between all African countries or tribe lands so as not to create new reasons for conflict and to ensure wealth is dispersed amongst all peoples. Kony may need a face saving way out - it’s distasteful, but perhaps finding a longer term way around African conflict will be found quicker if a continental wide cease fire is called as soon as possible.
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    Mar 17 2012: Krisztián, that part of the article points to a bigger problem. that does not take anything from the movement.
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      Mar 17 2012: sure it does. it attacks the central point of it.
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        Mar 18 2012: Are you saying bringing Joseph Kony and his cohorts to the spotlight was a bad idea ? I don't think so neither does the article. The core of the movement was to inform people of a bad guy name Joseph Kony and the article helps remind us that there are more Joseph Konys out there and that the problem is rooted from the legacy of colonialism. The movement does not pretend to know the root of the problem - it merely attempt to bring Kony's atrocities to the spotlight. You can attack them only on that terms. Well, you can attack the campaign delivery which is trivial and not touching on the issue.

        So if you come to think of it, the core of the article which you quoted is on the same page with the movement . There is no real difference between my position and yours . . . the followup of a US style invasion is not necessarily supported by an advocate of the campaign . .

        The movement in one sentence . ."Joseph Kony has committed so much atrocities, if we bring him to the spotlight we could help get him arrested and free his captives". You can only attack the movement on that terms.
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          Mar 18 2012: i wonder what is your motivation to distort the facts. kony2012 is not aimed to make the people informed. it is only the mean. the end is to push the US government to increase or at least not decrease its involvement in uganda.

          which does not solve anything. for various reasons.
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        Mar 18 2012: No Krisztián, the real end is to bring Kony to justice. US government intervention is a desired means so you can support the movement and argue for a different means of bringing Kony to justice.

        On your last point, nothing solves everything. The creation of UN did not stop all wars but it has prevented at least one. The declaration of human right did not stop all human right atrocities but it prevented at least one. When you criticize those who try do something for a change because it "does not solve anything" you are saying we should leave the world the way it is because we cannot solve everything. In a way this is the core of the article because it says "the problem of child soldiers has existed for decades and there are literally hundreds of Joseph Konys across the African continent" so we should do nothing. It makes no sense.

        The mind behind the movement may well be that of a useful idiot but attempt to change something within their understanding - for the better.
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          Mar 18 2012: again, the distortions. did i say does not solve everything? i said does not solve ANYthing. did i say we should do nothing? no i didn't. that is not polite, that is lie. stop that.

          and that is the problem here. bringing kony to justice is not a good goal, and the means to achieve that does not serve even this unfit purpose.
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        Mar 18 2012: Pure semantics on your part. But bear with me - how is bringing kony to justice is not a good goal?

        Please watch this documentary : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_srovvMLoA&feature=watch-now-button&wide=1

        Krisztián, you know i still think we agree on the general points.
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          Mar 18 2012: you know, i lived in a ten story house once. someone raised the issue that we should renew the insulation on the roof, so those living on the top floor don't have problem with the leaking rainwater. everyone agreed to it, they voted on the issue, and allocated some money to it. we lived on the top floor. there was no leakage. the insulation was fine. actually it was overdone. but you know, we, top floor people, were fewer, so we were outnumbered in the vote.

          you are the one living on the 4th floor. you want to solve a problem that does not exist, and nobody cares.

          so next time when people in uganda are on the streets, and demanding kony to be arrested, i will listen, probably send over money. if some rich white filmmaker wants me to send US troops in a country that did not ask for it, and hopes i will care, sorry, but i don't care.

          instead, i'm thinking on raising the monthly donation to the acumen fund.
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        Mar 18 2012: I am also a supporter of Jacqueline Novogratz and I think she is doing a marvelous job.

        If your only problem is that Ugandans are not calling for the arrest of Kony – then you have not been paying much attention. For one the documentary featured some Ugandans. But on a serious note – Ugandans cannot demand for the arrest of Kony because even the government is powerless on the issue. . Demand to whom? It’s like the Americans protesting for Osama bin Laden to be arrested. Doesn’t make any sense!
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          Mar 18 2012: wow, what? if some ugandans do it, then ugandans in general do it? they are some sort of hive mind? i doubt so. this movement comes from the white elite.

          and wow. they can't demand because they can't do? you can't demand something you can't do? isn't it the opposite? demanding something you can do sounds ... odd.

          if ugandans want kony to be arrested so much, they can offer bounty. it is as simple as that. every ugandan offers one dollar cent. that is usd300000. someone will collect his head within weeks. provided he is alive, which is unsure.
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        Mar 18 2012: "if ugandans want kony to be arrested so much, they can offer bounty." So they do not want Kony to be arrested - you really think that's the case. . . Please watch my documentary and just maybe you will get a feel of what this is all about.

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          Mar 18 2012: the do want, but they want other things more. and right they are. for example getting rid of corruption seems to be a more important issue. and things like getting all children vaccinated. rising gdp per capita. and such things. but i'm not there, so not sure.
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        Mar 18 2012: I told you from the get-go that we are saying essentially the same thing. Trust me - the most important thing in Uganda is putting a stop to the Lord's Resistance Army. There is a similar movement in Sierra Leone called Revolutionary United Front (the documentary i posted) . . . Nothing else matters to the 'people suffering from these rebel armies' - this is a fact, it is not debatable.
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      Mar 18 2012: I think everyone is overlooking the larger point in this Kony thing.

      The point being that social media is increasingly finding it's voice in the world and will affect more positive changes in the next generation or two than there have been in 500 years.
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        Mar 18 2012: You are very correct. But for me there is no larger point that the atrocities addressed in the documentary.
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        Mar 18 2012: either social media, or those who use it for manipulation.
  • Mar 17 2012: I found thid TED talk last night, and believe it really speaks to the problem that some people have with the video and its "simple" and single story of Uganda. http://www.ted.com/talks/chimamanda_adichie_the_danger_of_a_single_story.html?awesm=on.ted.com_AcAy&utm_campaign=&utm_medium=on.ted.com-android-share&utm_source=direct-on.ted.com&utm_content=ted-androidapp
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    Mar 14 2012: I should also add this interesting article criticizing the movement:
    • Comment deleted

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        Mar 16 2012: what about this part:

        "I have absolutely no intention of defending Joseph Kony or to say “he’s not that bad”. He, along with many other guerrilla factions across Africa, has committed despicable atrocities. However, the problem of child soldiers has existed for decades and there are literally hundreds of Joseph Konys across the African continent. In some cases, some of the armies are actually funded by Western countries. If we would truly go to the root of the issue, we’d discover that Africa has been plagued with the problem of warring factions and rebel guerrillas ever since Western forces “liberated” their colonies and divided the continent of Africa according to Western interests. Indeed, instead of setting the boundaries of each country according to the geographic location of the ethnic groups and tribes that live there, countries were created according to the economic needs of colonizing forces such as Great Britain, France and others. The net result is: A bunch of artificial countries that each contain several tribes, ethnic groups, languages and religions. When one group takes power, the others are repressed, which leads to violence and rebellion. Add to the mix extreme poverty due to resources being siphoned out of Africa by Western countries and you’ve got a breeding ground for merciless warlords. As long as this problem exists, Joseph Konys will continue to emerge in Africa."
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          Mar 17 2012: thank you... very insightful Krisztian - the boundaries have bound, in many cases, tribes dependent on migrated across great distances to survive naturally.
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    Mar 13 2012: How does a discussion about a warlord from Uganda end up under a talk by a nigerian writer?
    Africa really is a country, isn't it?
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      Mar 13 2012: ... and commented on by people around the world? by perfect subject matter, not by proximity.

      The Danger of a Single Story by Chimamanda, is one of my favorite talks too Harald. It's a two-way street, in that you hope to lead good threads to great TED talks. Chimamanda's talk is great... as she points out, we can get lost in the tragedy, and people can lose their dignity unless we look at the diversity and complexity of an issue, in any country or continent. Videos like Kony 2012, can paint a single story, a stereotype, but hopefully it can help bring light as well as action to the complexity of the issue. it would be interesting if those who viewed the Kony 2012 video could listen, really listen to Chimamanda's talk for context, and know the Danger of a Single Story. The tragedy of child soldiers is more complex than eliminating one leader of the LRA... and I hope the phenom of the video will lead to that understanding. I hope the video also leads people to the vast work of healing by IC and others in the region and places like Hope North. I have pointed other threads to Chimamanda's great talk for it's powerful subject matter, not because it's a story that takes place on the continent of Africa, but because of the context of understanding... thank you for your thougths Harald.
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    Mar 11 2012: I haven't watched it but if it is exactly like what they did to the tamil kids of sri lanka then yeah that's terrible.
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    Mar 25 2012: I am hoping that KONY 2012, continues to bring a global spotlight to the autocracies, and to track the economic chain that feeds the autocracies, [as finite as the elements in our cell phones]. I am also hoping we bring more light to the work of HEALING the victims and the Child Soldiers... Invisible Children, www.invisiblechildren.com/ Acumen Fund, www.acumenfund.org/ and the amazing work at Hope North and the I AM Peace Center in Northern Uganda with the Lalela Project... http://www.lalelaproject.org/Uganda%20Hope%20North.
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    Mar 24 2012: ...

    We are the new Global Community, these tragedies happen in our town on our watch... whether we point towards the perpetrator or the healing, the phenomenon focuses on resolution and compassion in action... For this we hope every action is as true as possibly can be, and in our action we do not create another tragedy... I find the most important thing is that we ask good questions of ourselves and each other, and we do this often... we share our thoughts in forums like this, and here on TED... but we do not become paralyzed by these questions, we become driven, we become more passionate, focused and put great Ideas into greater Action and support each other on the journey as best we can... Terry

    ... We are not here to see through each other, we are here to see each other through... Anonymous

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    Mar 17 2012: ...

    "There are many Joseph Konys" as commented, do you think this campaign is helping point out the vast and ongoing autocracies and greater context as pointed out by Krisztlan? Thank you Ehis, Auburn, Mirrelle, and all, for your important thoughts and action on this tragedy taking place on earth on our watch...
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    Mar 14 2012: From what I understand, there's a lot of prejudice on the part of the Ugandan government against other ethnic groups in the region. Their military engages in violent, immoral behavior (surely a common behavior for armies, but still). And I mistrust the American government and the Kony 2012 campaign source. I find it very difficult to support the movement, as I feel it comes from a bad place. I feel like the problems in Uganda - and indeed many African countries - goes far beyond child soldiers (even though that should be a primary concern!). And strengthening a corrupted governments power doesn't seem to be a great solution to the whole problem.

    So how do we fix a complicated problem with roots in poor choices made by western and colonial governments through out the past couple centuries? I'm stumped. I feel like we can barely solve our own problems with regards to organized crime, political stagnation/corruption, society-wide amorality and run-away consumerism. So why should we think we're ready to be fixing the problems of the world around us? Then again, I've been despairing greatly, as of late. I feel like there are few reasons to have hope for humanity. TED has been one of the few sources of amazing human behavior in the past little while for me.
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    Mar 13 2012: ...

    What can we, TED community engage in... [perhaps even TED ED] to help bring awareness, education, healing and action to the tragedy of child soldiers?

    • Mar 13 2012: I think most of the criticism of "Kony 2012" is:
      - Why now ? not then ?
      - Why Kony ? not Laurent Gbagbo ?
      - Why Child soldier ? not poverty ?
      - Why using military ?
      and I think its all about loose of faith or lack of trust which then turn into conspiracy theories.

      So let us Open Source it !!
      here is my thought...

      What if there was an online awarness community, humanity whistle blowers, which produces simple Youtube documentary videos such as Kony2012 every year.

      And raise awareness every year (just like Kony2012) on ONE of the selected (voted for) main human crisis in a specific part of the world (child abuse,sex slavery,poverty, genocides...etc). And dedicate one day for it all over the world.... until politicians act (???).

      Next year...next target...

      dunno.... its just a thought!
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    Mar 11 2012: ...

    thank you for your thoughts and taking a lead...