[DISCLAIMER: every blue, underlined text is a link that is an example or reference of what is being discussed]
It was about time to write about this phenomenon that everyone is posting about. You can’t be on facebook without seeing the 30 min. video about Joseph Kony that has gotten 32 million views as traffic in the past THREE days. Not bad.
In the past few days, I have been hearing about KONY from some friends in New Zealand. The discussion was made, but I didn’t know what a KONY was. I asked my friend and he told me that KONY was a name, the last name in fact of a very evil warlord in Africa. My friend’s status on facebook said, “I support KONY 2012.” Naturally I was a bit confused. All of a sudden, I began to get a wave of questions on if I’d seen the KONY video. I then saw the dozens of shares. First it started with one person sharing the video. Then it was three people. Pretty soon it was hard to get away from.
I didn’t watch the film for a while, mainly because I couldn’t spare 30 minutes to watch it. Whether that was true or not is not important. Eventually, I gave in and watched it. I have to admit, the makers did a great job of making the video appealing and informative. I was sold on finding this guy and bringing him to justice. If you want the short version, Joseph Kony is the Leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army or LRA, formerly in Uganda. He kidnaps children from their families, taking the girls to become sex slaves and giving the boys a gun with which to shoot their parents/become child soldiers. The organization Invisible Children, (IC), is trying everything they can to find this man and arrest him. Their goal is to make him famous, “not to celebrate him, but to bring his crimes to the light” (KONY2012 video).
Naturally I wanted this to come about, so I did my part and shared the video, thus lowering the amount of people who didn’t know about him. THEN, I began to hear the other side of the argument…an argument I didn’t even know existed.
People reacted both hot and cold to this video. Critics criticized it’s “one-demential” perspective on the facts and questioned the Invisible Children’s true motives behind the video, bringing their financial records into the open and questionable past. The effort was to create transparency and to inform those that would blindly join a cause without taking the time to research it, to “Think twice“. And boy, there were plenty of people on BOTH sides of this argument.
The issue began to get heated. Either you were: uninformed and sharing the video because sharing the video had now become a meme, or you were being critical of a cause that is trying to promote justice for children being kidnapped, abused, and killed. There didn’t seem to be a middle ground. This went on for about a day or so, until IC issued a statement to the backlash of criticism on behalf of their “movement.” In the statement, the organization touched on many of the issues that people had with the video and IC as a whole. Did they address everything? That is to be determined. I’m sure there will be yet another surge of criticism on the statement given. And one has to ask themselves, “Is this what we should be fighting over? Was this IC’s intention when they made the video?”
It is in my opinion that a controversial issue will get the people talking, no matter where everyone stands. A controversial issue has that kind of unique power. People who have STRONG opinions either way will make their way to the top of the discussion and buzz is created. If getting many people to talk about Joseph Kony was one of IC’s goals, then goal accomplished. But what does talk get us? Will talk change anything? IC believes that it can. Talk plus the advocacy to “culture makers” and “policy makers.” They make it easy to get the voice out there by going to this link to sign a pledge, and to contact those “culture makers” and “policy makers.”
To conclude, it can be just as easy to get excited about a cause as it can be to criticize it. But we should be doing both…just not in that order. We need to be critical and ask questions, research and dig deep. If at the end of it all, you decide this is something you want to get behind, then go do it. You have that right. But in this current age, sharing things is like second nature. They make it so easy…just click the button. Before you click the button, ASK. QUESTION. DECIDE. In the end, don’t be caught standing on the fence.