If you haven’t yet heard of Joseph Kony, you’re probably living under a rock!
For those of you who have been watching this thing (for want of a better term) unfold over the last few days – seeing the internet buzzing with “Kony 2012” slogans using YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and just about every other site to spread ‘awareness’ may be (like me) asking ‘What is making this movement so huge?’ or ‘Why didn’t anyone care about this before?’
So I did some reading and I’ll explain where I stand on this whole issue.
Joseph Kony – A Ugandan Guerrilla Group leader is a terrorist who uses his fundamentalist beliefs to engage in violent campaigns and spread terror among people. He is also accused of kidnapping children and selling them into slavery all across Africa and other hateful crimes against civilians, including murder, mutilations, rape, and according to some people, even cannibalism. In short – he’s a wanted terrorist who continues to avoid capture.
The ‘Kony 2012’ campaign was started by Invisible Children where the “aim is to make Joseph Kony famous, not to celebrate him, but to raise support for his arrest and set a precedent for international justice.”
So here’s what I’m thinking. The Kony 2012 campaign, by appealing so powerfully to my emotions, prevents me from thinking clearly and looking for more information on the man or the crimes he is accused of. I don’t doubt for a moment that Kony is a man who needs to be brought to justice. However, the video going viral is making people feel like they know everything they need to know about Kony and the organization advocating the campaign. That to me is ridiculous. A 30 minute film with the power to sway public opinion should be viewed carefully and critically.
Deliberations about their (Invisible Children) motives are only natural. Red flags have been waved, but as conscious thinking adults, we need to step back study and then decide what our course of action needs to be. Situations such as these are not so simple that it can be explained in a 30 minute video. Besides, I’ve never heard about Invisible Children before. I don’t know what they stand for and I’ve no clue about other campaigns they’ve run. Maybe im being too cynical but, shouldn’t we question rather than blindly believe? Let’s remember that there is more than just one charity supporting similar causes all over the world. Well meaning efforts don’t guarantee flawless plans. In as much support the campaign has gathered, the cynicism has been equal.
Is awareness good? Absolutely Yes. But this problem is way too complex and, frankly not one that can be solved by simply changing your Facebook profile picture or making posters and pledges. Do I have a better answer or a solution to the whole issue? No, I don’t, but that does not mean that you should support KONY 2012 just because it’s something everyone is talking about. Remember this, something isn’t always better than nothing even if Oprah feels otherwise!