Thursday, March 8, 2012

Kony 2012 - yes I did it.

Kony2012. If you don’t know how Kony is by now than you probably live in a hut in the woods with no electricity, no radio. No human contact. Then you wouldn’t have been able to read this so I am going to assume you know who Joseph Kony is.

When the video went viral I wasn’t really aware of what it was and after spending five minutes watching a blonde kid try to blow up a kitchenhand I pressed stop and went off to do something much more interesting – like mow the grass with a pair of nail scissors. It was only when I was brought to attention of an online blog written by a 2nd year college student that I became inspired. Some would say its because I can never back down from an underdog fight (some are probably right) but reality is I hate ignorance. With a passion.

Lets just clarify something. I love viral videos. I love how anyone in this day and age can suddenly become famous by making a 2 minute movie where they cry about the injustice done to Britney Spears. Where a simple statement like “I took an arrow to the knee” is spewed out towards the massives and soon becomes a recognised phase even to those who have never played Skyrim. When a 13yr old girl who clearly has the voice of a baboon farting through a trombone can produce a song that informs everyone what day comes after Friday, and then Saturday. And it makes record sales on itunes.

What I love most about viral fame is that you know its stupid. You watch, you laugh, you share. So it makes sense that advertising companies caught on creating viral masterpieces to sell their products

Than comes Kony2012. I’m not entirely sure why it suddenly got so much attention the video to me was uninteresting. Its my opinion if you want to be successful on the interwebs you have to be more gimmicky. I guess its probably because of all the celebrity interest. We do live in a pop culture society. I realised if I was going to argue against it I probably should watch it. It was touching. No more than a typical 60 minutes segment you chill out to on a Sunday night with a cup of tea. I was definitly more critical of the movie having read the above blog first so I guess my opinion could have been more biased.

What infuriated me was that this become so intensely popular that people were missing the bigger picture. Like a shepherd herds his flock so too did Invisible Children create an army of activism. Suddenly all I could hear and see was how much of a tyrant this Joseph Kony was and how he suddenly had to be brought to justice.

- Kony is a tyrant no doubt about that. But his tyrannical leadership was diminished six years ago and forced into hiding. He does the occasional raid now and then but its merely a blip in the much bigger picture. Why did they suddenly get involved when issues were coming to a resolution
- The video gets everyone worked up, but doesn’t give a solution. From back reading all I could determine was that they were trying to make sure the US government didn’t withdraw the troops deployed to catch him. But why spend a million dollars when there was no mention of the troops being withdrawn.
- The Invisible Children are stirring a pot that could lead to more disastrous results. Spreading the name Kony across the planet isn’t going to catch the man. He is hiding in some remote area most of westernized people would never go near. What it does do is raise psychological concerns for the affected people where even just the mention of his name strikes fear. It could destroy years of rehabilitation efforts not to mention there could be possible retaliation.
- The IC support sending in the army to destroy a man who isn’t even top of the united nations most wanted. Do you never know the people on the list? Do you care? Some of them are arguably more dangerous than this man but hey someone shared a video and now that’s the cause you want to follow.
- Thousands died in the war efforts to bring Saddam & Obama down. Now that they are dead nothing has changed. Terrorism is still rampant with new leaders rising. Focusing energies on ONE man does not result in a solution
- The IC is taking funds away from organisations that are actually doing more than just creating a movie. Do yourself a favour instead of donating so they can make movie #12 why not put your money to an actual beneficial cause?

Ignorance is a huge issue of mine. So many people throw themselves behind causes they know nothing about just because a celebrity tweeted it. The issue about Aslyum seekers in Australia is full of ignorant arguments yet when I try to explain the facts all I get in response is red necks.

Well there is one thing Kony2012 did, it made me so mad that people were giving money to this worthless cause it inspired me to donate more money to worthwhile causes. As I am already an activist for human rights for refugees, a volunteer companion with Camp Quality & I give a regular monthly donation to CANTEEN I’m not entirely sure how many more charities I can get involved in. But the internet has made me so mad that I am now increasing my donations to Kiva a charity that I was involved in a while back after being recommended by a CS friend of mine Leo. It actually focuses on helping people rather than mass hysteria. So every pay $25 goes towards enriching someone who is less fortunate than me.

For a more factual outlook on the Kony2012 issue check out this blog

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