Thursday, March 8, 2012

Five reasons I don't like the #KONY2012 campaign

If there is one thing I hate, it's ill informed decisions. 

If you haven't heard of the Kony2012 campaign you are either living under a proverbial rock or something has gone wrong with your internet access. Never before have I seen a hashtag, a concept or a video go viral so fast.

But you will not find me supporting the Kony2012 campaign. Shock, horror! No, it doesn't mean I support Kony or condone his actions - on the contrary, I'm pretty sure he is the embodiment of evil and needs to be stopped.

Was the video by Invisible Children compelling? Oh hell yes - I bawled my eyes out hearing the young Ugandan boy, Jacob, saying he thought it would be better to be murdered by this evil man rather than live in a constant state of fear. As soon as I saw it I wanted to do something, to know more, to find out why the hell I hadn't heard of this monster Kony before.

So I did. And I didn't like what I found. The actual Kony2012 campaign by Invisible Children and what it represents? Well it's left rather a bad taste in my mouth...
  1. I have a problem with a dubious company making a shed load of money and only using approximately 30% of it on the issue they're spruiking - the details of which are on the public record since they are registered as a not-for-profit organization.
  2. I'm disappointed that so many people are willing to jump on a bandwagon before finding out more about it, just because everyone else is doing it, they feel like they're "supposed" to or made to feel guilty for not supporting it. I'm not talking about anyone in particular here so you can all calm down and stop thinking I'm bitching about my friends.
  3. I loathe that we live in a culture (and support a culture) where violence is condemned but vigilante violence is celebrated - why is it OK to hurt anyone? How many crimes does it take before someone "deserves" violence against them? Where is that line and who gets to draw it? Does a certain number of hits on your page mean you're right? Does over a million video views mean someone deserves to die?
  4. I have serious questions about people who grab torches and pitchforks, demanding the death of someone for their crimes - fight for justice, the death penalty is a cop out. I cannot celebrate the death of anyone, no matter how horrid they are...  renowned political and ideological leader, Ghandi said "an eye for an eye turns the whole world blind" and it's true
  5. Most of all I'm disappointed that it takes a video with a white guy and a cute little blond kid to get our attention about such atrocities happening in the world.

If you're going to jump on the bandwagon, do it.. but be informed and know what you're doing. If you've already jumped on, it shows that you are a good, kind person who saw suffering and wants to help - you don't deserve to be vilified for supporting it... it's your choice, just as this is my choice not to support it. If we all thought the same thing, the world would be boring.

"Is awareness good? Yes. But these problems are highly complex, not one-dimensional and, frankly, aren’t of the nature that can be solved by postering, film-making and changing your Facebook profile picture, as hard as that is to swallow. Giving your money and public support to Invisible Children so they can spend it on supporting ill-advised violent intervention and movie #12 isn’t helping. Do I have a better answer? No, I don’t, but that doesn’t mean that you should support KONY 2012 just because it’s something. Something isn’t always better than nothing." - Grant Oyston of Visible Children. 

Are you on the Kony2012 bandwagon? Did you look in to it before you jumped on? 

EDIT: I haven't said that Invisible Children are calling for the death penalty, I'm speaking about the whole campaign and therefore those that have jumped on it - search the hashtag on Twitter and you will find thousands of people calling for his death. When this man is caught, depending on where he is tried (his own country, the ICC, a neighbouring country where he is also abducting and killing kids) will depend on whether he gets a life sentence or the death penalty.


  1. I also read the counter argument this morning (somewhere or other) and also agree with you.  As heart breaking as it is, I don't believe that supporting this campaign is the answer either.  Sadly, I don't know what is.

  2. Not on the bandwagon, haven't watched it yet as I knew it would require more of my time than just the 30minute viewing time, because, guess what? I would have to do some research into the players, the angles they are coming from and other pertinent information.

  3. I am full of RANT over this, so I'm going to go feed my SIX DRUG and ALCOHOL damaged Foster children, put them to bed, calm down and come back for a Soapbox post :-)     I applaud you my Dear,…. Stand Strong.. 

  4. first up... great blog! second... I'm a supporter and I do like this movement because it started a discussion & debate. It's making us look at what we know and don't know and challenging us to look deeper and further. I don't want him dead, I want him tried at the Hague like all war criminals should be! If we are going to criticise and analyse so thoroughly this charity we should do the same for all of them... I think we would be very surprised by the results. I'm glad I looked at both sides and researched the issue thoroughly before I proceeded to donate money but sharing a link took no time and frankly it is an experiment to raise awareness! I doubt there are many people who don't know who he is now & I'd say that is a win for science ;) You make one brilliant point and I agree wholeheartedly that it is upsetting that it takes a white man and his 5yo white son to bring this to our attention! 

  5. Being the cynical kind, I was loathe to jump on the bandwagon.  It feels a lot like emotional blackmail.  There are too many sides to this story, but it doesn't really matter now - they got there first and fastest, and Gen Y are well and truly on their side.  The power of social media is truly staggering.

    Great post.  I'm with you 100%.

  6. Well said Glow - no, I'm not on the bandwaggon purely because I don't feel that it's the best way to register my feelings and for many of the other reasons you have outlined above.

  7. I'm so with you. After doing some thinking and research I'm of the opinion that the video is so arrogant; 'look at me, look at my awesome kid - he likes to make films, I met Jacob, look at how awesome I am being all charitable, look at my awesome kid'. I'm all for stopping this evil man BUT I doubt his capture would stop his 'organisation'. 

    The biggest thing though for me is the question of what would happen to the children who are now adults and killing machines? Would it be better them staying in a group than be individual killers? Also, weren't they forced to kill their parents so who would they be returning home to?

    I'd love to hear that no children are currently in danger or will be in the future and if his capture does that then I'm all for it. I highly doubt it would though.

    Oh I'm glad I got that off my chest!

  8. Define "on the wagon"?
    Do I believe that the word needs to be spread about this guy and his army?
    Yes. We have an awful case of 'head in the sand' in our society. It's not affecting us, so who cares?
    That's sad because when it is affecting yourself, then people are quick to cry about how heartless people are, and no one cares etc.
    Will I donate any money?
    No. I generally don't donate to charities because I am very skeptical to see where the money is going. I would rather get out there and be hands on and help people that way rather than passing a dollar. I do understand that charities incur expenses that the people working in charities (and yes each charity needs a team working a full time job to run) may need some compensation for. I do think that people should also want to stick their hand up and help for free. For the good of the cause.
    It's all very complex.

    I commented on Eden's post today that I find it quite hypocritical that people will call for his death. They probably will kill him. Kill him for killing people? It just doesn't make sense and makes the government okaying that just as bad as him. I also commented talking about how there will always be another Kony. There will be someone eagerly awaiting to step into his place because people like power and will take it whichever way they can get it sometimes.

    So I support getting Kony's face out there, making people aware of what is happening, I support his capture, I support our government getting involved in stopping what is happening, but I do not support his death.

  9. I shared the clip, It certainly did move me.  I guess the thing is that this is not the only cause worthy of a fight, worthy of my support.  But the people behind the doco are clever, they've used a new method to share their campaign.
    I have a friend volunteering in an orphanage in Thailand, protecting children from kidnappers and child prostitution.  This is just as bad.  They are doing their bit too.
    I agreed to share the story, because I guess I live in hope that we will see postive change.  Eye for an eye, I don't know, Jail, maybe?
    As for the fund aspect of it, I agree that it's pretty low.  But then we hear this debate time and time again, when the floods hit QLD, when the Tsunami hit Japan.  Anyone that thinks 100% of their donation is going to directly go to someone in need is kidding themselves.  But I definitely agree it could be higher.
    I do like your post, your opinion, it presents two sides to an arguement.  Just like the video clip it gets people thinking.

  10. Am so with you.

    Awareness is great, the fact that people are talking about this issue is great, but I can't condone violence... I just can't.

  11.  I
    am torn on the validity of the 'Invisible Children' organisation, but
    there is no arguing that bringing the worlds attention to the atrocities
    that are being carried out by Kony and his supporters can only be a
    good thing. Ignorance is not always bliss.I have researched this, and chose not to show the video on my page, but do feel that knowledge is power.

  12. Yes I did look into it and while Invisible Children might make money out of it, it's a better cause than Mac Time or just doing it. Which we mindlessly endorse without a second thought. It saddens me more than we constantly have to find something to oppose in something that seems to good to be true. Sometimes the greater good isn't particularly compelling, it's literally just more good than bad. But even that is worth fighting for. You vote - do you truly believe your politicians to be any more conscientious than the employees of this NGO? Get off the high horse please, how are ill informed comments any worse than I'll informed decisions?

  13. i watched the video, i posted the link on my facebook page and urged people to watch and do the same.

    i support making him famous to bring the worlds attention to him. i do not and have NEVER and will NEVER support the death penalty. death is too easier a way out for people who have committed true evil, suffering for the remainder of their lives with no hope of freedom is much more deserving. once they are dead, they suffer no more, they have no time to reflect on their actions that brought them to that place they now find themselves, with their freedom now removed.

    i think the worlds attention has needed to be focussed on Africa for quite some time, there are true atrocities happening there, not just by Kony but by many, who like him, target children and women and destroy lives - mugabe for instance. why are we not campaigning for him to be brought to justice like we are Kony?

    i agree with this campaign to get people to be aware of what's happening over there, too many of us live with our heads stuck in our own little worlds and we either just are not aware of what's happening around the world or we don't want to know - after all what can we do? but the chanting of a demand that justice takes place comes from many single individual voices all joining up to shout as one.

    i honestly couldn't care about their financial position, they obviously, like any organisation, are happy to take donations but the point of that movie was to get people to share it, talk to other people about it and spread the word - that's happened but they won't be getting any of my money. if people want to donate, that's their choice and i would always suggest people look very closely into what they are giving money to, if they choose not to, that's at their own peril.

    great post Glow x

  14. All criticism aside, I am now aware there is a problem in Uganda when an hour ago I did not. It is a start. Critics need to be positive and add their voice to the debate to ensure sound policy is developed in planning action for peace.

  15. we shall agree to disagree but I still love ya.

    Of the millions of people that saw the video a tiny percentage will donate but now MILLIONS OF PEOPLE know about it.  Remember BandAid and LiveAid?  They raised billions and people are still starving.  Because it was a one of.  Hopefully this will get social media enraptured in what we can do as a whole. 

    Maybe I am a dreamer.  I hope I am not the only one.

  16. Definitely watch it. It's brilliant and heartbreaking and uplifting all in one go.

  17. That's just it, I'm not saying I have the answer, I'm not saying I could come up with a better one... just that I can't get on board the actual campaign.

  18. Oh Jules you are a remarkable woman x

  19. That it has started this debate is brilliant, the message has spread so far and wide that people are paying attention... that's a good thing for sure.

  20. I'm so blown away by the effect this had had in such a small space of time - social media is amazing!

  21. I got that impression too, Ames, and then had a massive guilt trip for feeling that way!!!

  22. That's what annoys me the most about the campaign supporters (not the campaign itself, they're calling for an ICC trial). The tweets and FB statuses calling for his death. I cannot celebrate death and was the same when Osama bin Laden was killed and Saddam Hussein was executed after his trial. Horrible men who deserve punishment? YES. Do I want them dead? No.

  23. I'm in awe of these guys, they have created a magnificent video and have a brilliant sm marketing strategy. They're smart.
    I'm also in awe of people like your friend who can go and work at a grass roots level

  24. I'm not sure if I understand how Mac Time is a cause? But I understand what you're saying about it being more good than bad.
    There is no high horse here, just opinion that I don't like the monetary arrangement of this company, blind support on any level, condoning violence, a culture that celebrates death of "baddies" and, like I said, most of all that the world (yes, including me!) didn't know about this sooner - that it took a video by some white dude and his kid to bring this level of attention.

  25. You're so right, Janey, knowledge *is* power. That people are talking about this and paying attention is brilliant - even if I don't agree 100% with the campaign I can still see that.

  26. Well said, Rach, really well said.

  27. It is a start... that the world is being made aware is a good thing.

  28. You're not the only dreamer. We need people like you, ya know... and cynics like me to balance it out. Like yin and yang or something :P x

  29. eekk can I remove the comment, or edit. sorry Glow, the rant about drug and alcohol was meant to tie into the rant about Kony.  jeesh never comment during busy crazy hour hey!  :-(  sorry everyone… 

    My rant is that there are awful tragic issues all over the world.. some of which are in our own backyard, yes that's right.  I don't disagree with the cause but causing mass hysteria will not solve the issue, for every Kony there are many more Evils laughing that all attention is drawn from them.  What happens when the hype dies down, then what?  How many Hype publicity stunts before we become desensitised and stop reacting?


  30. I thought I replied to this, it's disappeared. The hate tweets calling for death make me so sad... and now the hate tweets to anyone with an opinion differing from their own (on both sides).

  31. It's frustrating because, like Oyston said, I don't have a solution...

  32. Thanx for sharing all the research you've undertaken Glow.  It's always so interesting to  read different perspectives and discover more information on an issue.  

    I thought the movie was touching so i shared it without much more thought than that - you know 5mins thought on the video then my next 5 mins was on my daughter screaming at me for lunch.  

    I'm a big believer for not just taking things at face value, but don't always have the time to delve deeper.  Your post has made me think - i need to stop and take that time, it can be just as important, if not more so,than taking the time to observe the message itself.

  33. I realise I referenced 3 things that were all when you were a little kid - Lennon died before you were BORN.  Fuck I am old.

  34. Not sure if my comment via my phone last night worked... but I am with you on this.

    I am glad that people are talking about these atrocities but this video just seems like propaganda to me. It seems like one very western view... and I just don't know enough about Uganda or the situation to know if it is even close to what is going on.... 

    Have you seen this article... it really sums up my thinking on this...

  35. I did the research and found a shit storm. But what I did like about the campaign is that it started people talking about it and debating. Awareness has been raised. I hope this criminal is arrested and tried. 
    I wonder what the name is of the man who will take his place?

  36. Bingo. There's not just one guy, there is the entire LRA causing a problem - getting rid of a leader does not stop violence (Osama Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein etc etc etc).

  37. Cheers, Sarah. Perhaps I'm just a natural cynic? :P

  38. Brilliant article, Kate, thanks for linking it!

  39. If people feel strongly about this issue perhaps they could look at the work that Amnesty International and other organisations have been working on for decades to end situations just like this. They do it without a lot of publicity but they are effective!

  40. Ahh the good old bandwagon jumping on accusation bandwagon :)The only bandwagon I'll jump on is the fuck apathy bandwagon.
    I've been reading pro/con Kony 2012 articles for the past 2 days now and It doesnt really matter what conclusion I'VE come to. This organisation have their singular passion and have used their admin money to raise a mindblowingly absurd amount of awareness for the cause that they believe in. Good on them!
    People should put effort into something THEY care about rather than putting effort into shooting down others causes.


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