KONY 2012, Military Humanitarianism, and the Magic of Occult Economies

Sverker Finnström


The global success of the film KONY 2012 by Invisible Chil-dren, Inc., manifests far greater magical powers than those of Joseph Kony and his ruthless Lord’s Resistance Army, which it portrays. The most prominent feature of the Invisible Children lobby is the making and constant remaking of a master narrative that depoliticizes and dehistoricizes a murky reality of globalized war into an essentialized black-and-white story. The magic of such a digestible storyline, with Ugandan rebel leader Joseph Kony as a global poster boy for evil personified, not only plays into the hands of the oppressive Ugandan government but has also become handy for the US armed forces as they seek to increase their presence on the African continent. As the US-led war on terror is renewed and expanded, Invisible Children’s humanitarian slogan, “Stop at nothing”, has proven to be exceptionally selective, manifesting the occult economy of global activism that calls for military interventions.

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