The Kony Agenda

EDIT: Invisible Children has answered the critiques about their organisation here.

I’ve been sitting around for awhile digesting a lot of information about the latest thing to go viral online: KONY 2012, a 30-minute documentary film by Invisible Children about the terrible deeds in Uganda of the man named Joseph Kony. You’ve probably already seen it but, in the event that you haven’t, here it is:

There seems to be a lot of controversy floating around about whether or not this movement should be supported. Many people say one thing, many people oppose and say another. At the end of the day, no one is forcing you to do anything. You don’t even have to watch. But you should.

I should state from the start that I’m not looking to stir up anyone or enforce my opinions. I’ll stand on the ground I choose and you can stand on the ground you choose. There’s no right or wrong here.

“KONY 2012 is all about marketing a problem by making it sound bigger than it really is.”
I find that a rather strong statement to make, personally. Firstly, I don’t know exactly how large the problem is or isn’t. I haven’t witnessed it myself. Have you? The problem being large or small doesn’t change the fact that the problem exists, whether it is created by Joseph Kony or someone else.

Invisible Children created a well put-together documentary using some tear-jerker footage to capture your attention. They wanted to be convincing. They wanted support. It was well edited, most certainly. But why was this a problem for some people? Let’s not forget that the people who founded the non-profit organization are originally filmmakers who decided to fight for a cause. Why not let them do what they do well? As for the question of their execution, I’d say they did well to capture the modern audience, technology-oriented. The content however, I don’t know.

“I don’t support KONY 2012 because I think Invisible Children is suspicious.”
I saw a lot of people following that thought process. It’s okay to think a charity is suspicious. And once you can find some evidence to back it up, then that’s wonderful. I won’t sit here and doubt that the folks behind Invisible Children don’t have good hearts and good intentions, though.

But, I’m relatively sure the video was about bringing awareness to the world about the things that can happen in Africa. It’s about letting people know who Joseph Kony is and giving people the option to help their cause by whatever means they choose.

Apparently, their finances are what’s questionable. Making millions of dollars, with only 37% going towards Africa along with an equal share towards awareness, I won’t doubt your doubts. I choose not to support financially. And if you don’t want to, then don’t. But don’t speak down on their cause.

“What’s going to happen even if they get Kony? Another person will just come along and take his place.”
If someone wants to step up to that plate, then so be it. Bring one down, another rises. Bring that one down, another rises. Terrible people exist in the world! But that doesn’t mean that nothing should be done about it.

“Why should the USA send in their own armies to look for someone else’s problem? Uganda and Sudan’s armies aren’t enough?”
If you were in a heap of trouble and you tried your best to solve the problem and fix things up but you just couldn’t quite get it done, then somebody comes along offering to help, how would you feel? Maybe their help will actually impact your situation. Maybe it won’t. With many of our personal problems, we can’t face them alone. Sometimes, we just need a little support to back us up.

There are other comments I’ve seen people make around the internet via various media but those above stood out to me a little more. Criticism is warranted in situations like these so I completely accept and understand it. There were a few comments that bothered me a little more than others (not all mentioned above). I don’t think people meant to give the impression of self-centeredness, or I’d prefer to think not, at least.

As I keep saying to people: To each, their own.

Here are some links for your own formulation:
Think Twice Before Donating To KONY 2012
Visible Children Tumblr
International Crisis Group – Learn about the LRA
Kony 2012 Doing More Harm Than Good

I am supportive of the cause. The intentions are good. I don’t know about the execution of it. I actually don’t know much about it. The video doesn’t make it clear exactly, apart from sending in some US troops. I’m not sure where the money is going to exactly either. But I support the cause.

My support is by sharing the video. I’m sharing it to create awareness. Why? Because too many people are stuck down their rabbit holes to come out and realize that there’s a whole other world than their own. Many of us are blessed with so much. We all have our personal problems. Life is tough, it deals us blows but we have it so much better than others and we forget that. The world is bigger than just us. Must we be so selfish to think only of ourselves? Can we not think of ourselves AND be considerate and empathetic of others?

The awareness generated is bigger than you, or me, or Invisible Children, or even Joseph Kony. Awareness sparks change. Change can be good or bad but you can never know which way the metronome will tick until something actually happens.

And then, I have to wonder, how long will it be before this is all forgotten? A few weeks? People move on with their lives. In a couple of weeks the matter of SOPA, PIPA and ACTA were practically forgotten. I haven’t seen mention of any of those since January. As quickly as these matters hit Facebook walls, is just as quickly as they disappear from them, it seems.

The world keeps on turning.

Invisible Children links: Website | Donate to the cause | Purchase the Action Kit and other products | Sign the Pledge |

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