The Kony Problem

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!


8 comments on “The Kony Problem

  1. Good point!

    Not entirely good , and their motives may be questionable.. but still a great cause and some hood mentality spreading the whole cause even though more than half can’t locate Uganda on a map..

    can’t be bad.

  2. I agree with that sir – but let’s not blame that entirely on the group, it’s probably our fault more than anything else. i think we’re on the same side here – I’m saying that way too many people are irresponsibly siding with the group. Unfortunately people have begun vilifying the group for this – and that’s just not right.
    Not to say of course that they’re blameless – they’ve probably presented the facts in a manner that’s conducive to misunderstanding. Nevertheless I wonder how else you’d be able to present something of this nature that would appeal to so many people and so quickly.
    There’s questions that need to be raised against the group no doubt – but I don’t think that means they’re necessarily evil. That’s all I’m saying.

  3. And ‘Anonymous’ thanks for the comment…. 🙂

  4. I agree Shreyas. All I’m saying is that too many people are obsessing over this out of pure and simple mob mentality. Finding out the facts and making informed decisions is so important.

  5. That being said of course I don’t mean to say that the group is absolved of all blame. Yes, they’re at fault – but so are we.

  6. But some people believe the wrong things , lots are saying that the video is one sided and they portray the actions of Kony as exaggerated.. but the idea that they appeal so strongly to the people’s emotions is true .. no one can surely say that all this awareness will lead to his capture?

    But still a good cause nonetheless.

  7. Hmm, I agree with this – but I think a lot of people are being overly cynical about the entire issue as well. The intentions of this group[ are undoubtedly good, and even though their methods may be misguided (although none of us can honestly say), I’d share the video simply because of that. I hugely respect the fact that invisible Children has taken the initiative to educate the world about this guy, and I think a lot of the criticism that has been leveled against them has been unfair. The intention behind the video was never to brainwash people into believing something – and if we’ve allowed ourselves into this, then it’s our fault and not the group’s.
    The fact remains that there is no perfect solution to this – but let’s not get cynical in te name of rationality.

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