Documentary reports on Uganda’s war criminal

Despite a UW-Madison project receiving $486,000 in grant funds aimed at curbing campus binge drinking earlier this month, some UW-Eau Claire students do not think similar action is needed here. The grant money will go towards Madison’s anti-binge drinking project called Policy Alternatives Community Education Coalition.

Story by Anna Soldner

On campus, there’s a group of students fighting fire with film.

The UW-Eau Claire Human Trafficking Abolitionists organization will hold a screening of Kony 2012, a documentary about Ugandan war criminal Joseph Kony at 6 p.m. on Feb 28.

The film is aimed to encourage awareness and action as a part of the national Invisible Children campaign dedicated to combating human rights injustices in Africa’s longest running war.

Kony is the head of the Lord’s Resistance Army, a militant group driving the 26-year-long war in Central Africa that has resulted in the abduction, murder and mutilation of thousands of men, women and children.

Senior elementary and special education major and president of the HTA April D’Water said the organization’s goal this semester is to familiarize the public with Kony — the face behind the current genocide.

“Kony (is) one of the worst war criminals in the world yet he’s not a household name,” D’Water said. “This whole campaign is to let the world know about this war criminal so that when he does get captured and tried by the International Criminal Court, the world will be watching and then it sets a precedent for the rest of the world.”

A large percentage of donations to Invisible Children goes toward building radio towers in order to warn villages of attack and increase communication in remote areas.

Within its first semester as a university-recognized organization, the Eau Claire HTA activists raised an impressive $5,500, but this semester they’re more focused on awareness efforts.

“I think number one is just to let everyone know what is happening and who Joseph Kony is because I think that’s the goal of this whole thing,” said sophomore and communications officer Tyler Henderson. “The community should come (to the screening) because this is something that they can learn about and it can really change their outlook about things that are going on around the world.”

Sophomore Carmen Quinlivan, a member and graphic designer for HTA said she joined the organization to be a part of something bigger than herself, and hopes others will too.

“It’s not just Invisible Children for us, it’s about raising awareness for human rights in general and that’s something we feel everyone should know about,” she said. “We’re hoping to not only involve the campus but also the Eau Claire community and just make it something that people know about because we’re so passionate about it we feel like everyone else should be too.”

Following the film, 23-year-old guest speaker Oyella Jane will share her experiences growing up in a Northern Ugandan war zone. Invisible Children representatives will also be present to provide recent updates on the conflict and answer any questions.

“I think a lot of times we get wrapped up in our own worlds and there’s a whole lot going on out there that we want to make our university campus aware of,” D’Water said. “We’re showing this film because we think it’s something that the university students and the community members could get a lot out of.”

Kony 2012 will screen at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 28 in the newly-renovated Schofield auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.