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...
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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
- 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.