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Day March 15, 2012

I support the ‘Invisible Children’ Video


Dear Kony 2012 Critics,

After watching the Kony 2012 video with all its hysteria and excitement, and then watching the so-called experts on Uganda verbally assault and attack the intentions of the organization, I concluded that I also had to voice my response to the Kony Mania.

First, let me address the video and its organization, Invisible Children. Despite how everyone may feel about the organization, its intents, they way they do business and how they distribute their profit, lets just remember one thing, they are still an organization that has gone out of its way to come to Uganda (years ago) and promote positive change in an area that had previously been ravaged with the some of the worst atrocities that Africa has seen. So despite their Hollywood style, dumb down, made for high school video about Joseph Kony, I believe their intent was still and still is good. And if you don’t think that their intent is positive, than you may want to ask the thousands of Ugandans that have been positively affected by this organization.

Second, let me address the critics who keep complaining about how this video does not address so called REAL Ugandan issues, and doesn’t accurately reflect what is going on in Uganda right now. My response is, “OKAY, SO MAKE YOUR OWN VIDEO!” Is it Invisible Children’s job to create multiple videos about all the issues that affect Uganda now? Of course not. Remember one thing, organizations exist generally for one purpose. It’s obvious that IC created this video to address the issue of capturing a man who’s committed some of the most horrific atrocities the world has seen. So despite its inaccuracies and theatrics, I’m sure that we can all agree Joseph Kony should be captured and tried by Ugandans for his crimes. Despite what you may feel about the method of capturing him, he should and will be brought to justice one day. His victims deserve the right to see justice served. And if you really don’t agree with the video or are confused about the content then go do some research, the internet is out there for your disposal. Or better yet, find people who are from Uganda and ask them how they really feel about the Kony issue (not the video), but the real Kony Issue.

Third, all of the conspiracy theorist who have these grand ideas that somehow Invisible Children is part of the Illuminati and that the grand scheme is to take over Uganda because of its oil reserves, let me just say that you guys all need to get off the crack pipe. Do you really think that as broke as the U.S currently is (15 trillion in debt and rising), and as high as the gas prices currently are in the U.S ($4.30 avg per gallon), and as weary as U.S citizens are of war overseas (currently pulled all combat troops out of Iraq, and beginning withdrawal in Afghanistan), do you really think that the cheapest smartest place for the U.S to drill for oil is 8,000 miles away in Uganda? When they can drill in their own back yard in the Gulf Coast?? REALLY? Give me a break. Any idiot can see that the American Tax payers will never agree to that type of wasteful spending again, after billions were blown on erroneous spending in the past 10 years since 2001. It amazes me that no matter what there will always be the conspiracy theorists… Keep dreaming guys.

Fourth, I want to address Ugandan’s directly, and say this, “SHAME ON YOU”. For years we have been terrorized by many dubious actors, who had nothing but selfish intents for themselves and nothing for Uganda. When Amin came we watched as he terrorized, when Obote came we watched as he terrorized, when Museveni came we also watched as he promised false hope and false dreams, when Kony came, we continued to watch as he terrorized our children and women. We have become a Nation of observers. How can 30 million people stand by and watch the atrocities committed by just a few, or by one man? How does the saying go? First they came for the communist, and I didn’t speak out because I was not a communist, then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me (Martin Niemöller). We should take all take a note from the book of Arab Spring Uprisings. The Moroccans, Tunisians and Egyptians taught the world one thing, that one man cannot oppress the will of millions. So it is with that, that I write this letter. A famous quote once said, “A cause is worth nothing unless you are willing to die for it.” How many of you harsh critics out there are willing to Die for Uganda?? How many?? I implore you to seriously reflect on yourselves and how we can all rise up and defeat the problems that currently face our Nation. It isn’t up to anyone else to solve these problems, it’s up to us.

Lastly, I want everyone reading this to understand that I’m not writing this letter because I’m a strong supporter of Invisible Children, or that I’m trying to advocate for their Kony 2012 Campaign. In actuality I agree with many of your comments about the video, but also believe its counter productive to continue arguing this instead of producing our own products. The point is, this video has brought recognition to an issue that had, in the past, ravaged Northern Uganda for years. And now those children are a by product of that generation. Because believe it or not, those children and women will forever be the victims of the heinous crimes committed by Kony.

Every interview I have seen on CNN and MSNBC and so forth is a result of this video going viral. If not for the popularity, I guarantee that none of those Ugandan’s being interviewed on CNN would have ever gotten a chance to even voice their opinions on that type of national scale. So I say to those bloggers and activists. Use that momentum to really voice the issues that affect us and continue fighting the good fight for Ugandans.

And to all those anti-Kony 2012 youtube videos from people who obviously don’t live in Uganda and have absolutely no clue about what goes on in Uganda on a day to day basis, except their yearly 2 week visit, please stop embarrassing us. You don’t speak for Ugandans who actually live here. Let us speak for ourselves.

Sincerely,

George Lubwama
UAH FORUMIST

It is time to rethink higher education in Uganda


By Omar Kalinge-Nnyago
Makerere, Uganda’s premier University is grappling with the spectre of falling standards occasioned by a largely demotivated faculty and outmoded teaching methods. Whatever changes the university may attempt should focus on a complete rethink of their concept of higher education. We have argued before that the University of the future will be without walls: a virtual learning community facilitated by technological developments. All students will have their own information technology (IT) bases in their own homes or very near their homes, providing individualised learning programmes managed by an elite group of teachers at satellite education centres.

We have also envisaged a leadership and management of the future university which would centre on a chief executive, possibly, but not necessarily, with educational experience. Future University leadership would be required more to understand the complexities of integrating large organisations. The Vice–Chancellor of the future would be a flexible problem solver, good at delegation and coordination, with full command of information and communication technologies.

We also imagine the university student of the future to have more freedom in the choice of subjects and courses to learn. S/he would have the choice to complete the course in his /her own time. The era of application for “dead years” would be over.

Governments would stop funding a few students doing so called “full time study” but would spread expenditure on higher education over more meaningful elements of the learning experience. Universities that can admit 30,000 full time students now, would be able to teach 150,000 or more distance learning students, most on line, at a fraction of the cost for full time study, at no risk of diminished standards.

There would be mass university education and more people would access university learning for “non-degree purposes.” Young and older people would be students at more than one university at a time. A Ugandan university student of the future would be able to do papers in Agriculture from Gulu University, Management from MUBS and Logical Systems Design from Kyambogo University or Boolean Algebra from the Islamic University in Uganda but finally graguate form any university of her choice.

The walled, fenced university would die and so would the out fashioned professors and lecturers who thought they held the future of the learners in their hip pockets – often withholding the graduation of students. Learners would meet their tutors at the “internet chat room” and not in their dingy, dimly lit offices on the second floor. Other meetings would be via video-conferences.

The workplace would be filled with graduates who have learned to “supervise themselves” over their years of self-study. This would produce employees who know the meaning of self-control, deadlines and personal responsibility.

But what about the learning products? Another distinguishing feature of the future university student will be her interdisciplinary education : an education that puts less emphasis on the compartments of knowledge. A medical student would be able to do a history paper if s/he so wished. A psychology student would be able to pick subjects in communication, or physics at will. Learning will cease to be narrow. The university student would seek knowledge s/he wants and would be able to use, not just a degree certificate to hang on the wall.

The challenge facing universities and colleges in the 21st century is the reconnection of the disciplines through facilitating the creation of meaningful inter-disciplinarily integrated units by university teachers who have the knowledge of required curriculum and the practical experience necessary for implementation. The preoccupation of the whole education system would be to create a culture of learning and promoting education for survival, understanding and wisdom.

Integration of knowledge would variously mean combining, amalgamating, assimilating, fusing incorporating, mixing, or unifying knowledge. While disciplinary work deepens knowledge, interdisciplinary work broadens knowledge by taking into account more variables, more methods, more viewpoints, more perspectives, and more theories (Klein, 1996). The goal of interdisciplinary higher education is the “complete, balanced graduate”.

Today’s undergraduate needs an education that includes five specific elements: communication, human heritage, the environment, individual roles, and values. We now know and are beginning to accept that an education system and culture based on the diverse population’s values and experiences can be a major step towards positive social changes, and that higher educational institutions can and should play a major role in creating these changes. [Levine and Curreton (1998)].

Diversity courses teach students skills they will need to succeed. They challenge students to think in more complex ways and to avoid stereotyping; develop more complex understanding of what shapes their own attitudes and beliefs, where their cultural traditions came from and how they interrelate with other traditions; gain expanded cultural knowledge and become intellectually better developed (Humphrey, 2000).

omarkalinge@gmail.com

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