Joseph Kony is a relatively unknown name unless you’re among those who follow news that ended… six years ago. Perhaps breaking “olds” would be the more suitable name for the entire #StopKony/#Kony2012 campaign, a trend coined on Twitter by the Invisible Children advocacy group. That said, what is the “so-what” factor? Well, apparently a well-made, MTV-esque half hour-long video called “Kony 2012” is enough for people to rally for support for events they aren’t even remotely educated about. This concerns me, as it should for everyone else with sensibility.
We live in the technological era, where word-of-mouth is more accurately word-of-media. And the biggest problem with that? Media isn’t always truthful.
Making a 30 minute video laced with outdated information taken out of context, and posting it on the internet as a campaign sounds like the perfect blueprint for how to stimulate emotional responses, which in turn, leads to profit. It saddens me to say this, but that’s essentially all it is.
Joseph Kony is indeed a very sinister man, being responsible for terrorising millions of people, whether displacement, child abduction, murder, the list goes on. Kony was convicted in 2005 for war crimes by the International Criminal Court. Currently, Kony’s status is unknown: he’s either hiding in Uganda or a neighbouring country, or dead. This is where Invisible Children comes in and flips the table. A day after the release of their “Kony 2012” video, it’s gotten approximately 30 million views via YouTube and Vimeo. To sum up the video, it cleverly delivers facts to engage the natural emotional response of humans, essentially guilting us to step up and “do something” about it. Invisible Children thinks the exact thing we should do is cough up $30 and buy their “Action Kits” and collectively “cover the city” with Stop Kony posters on April 20, 2012. Only 31 per cent of the profits will go towards their campaign and the other 69 per cent is used by Invisible Children for themselves, you know, like going towards making even more misleading videos. Think about that: $10 (that’s rounded up!) will actually go towards the cause, the other $20 (that’s rounded down!) will be for Invisible Children to use for themselves.
Here’s my opinion of the entire Kony episode:
Yes, I whole-heartedly agree that raising awareness and coming together globally through social media is a very positive movement. No, making a video and using it for profits by bringing up an old topic, making it obvious that a bad guy is bad, practically stealing money out of people’s pockets by encouraging them to vandalise their city, causing the government to spend tax dollars to clean up the aftermath, and only achieving global awareness as opposed to action in the end is completely unacceptable. Bringing awareness towards Kony today, in 2012, is comparable to a campaign raising money for the 2005 Tsunami relief. It’s a campaign to initiate a man-hunt for a man that we don’t know whether or not is dead or alive. Is it worth the time to spend millions of dollars to look for one man? Or would it be more sensible to spend it on recovering Uganda?
Invisible Children, your children may be invisible, but your motives are not.
Please everybody, if you want to make a difference, write a letter to your government, go out and donate your money to a less-shady company, and do something worthwhile. Tweeting #StopKony doesn’t do anything. Writing “Dear Mr. Prime Minister/President” will. Quite frankly, there’s nothing stopping you. Check out the tumblr blog visiblechildren to get a better perspective. Or Google it, there are plenty of resources out there!
This is just my opinion, I simply believe there are much better ways of making a difference than to mindlessly buy action kits. I admit, 24 hours ago, I thought Kony2012 was some sort of public event, but I did my research, I scoured the internet. I got my answers. Do your research, make a difference. Don’t sheep around in the herded crowd of people who don’t have all the facts.
Thanks for reading. I think I would have done Rick Mercer proud.