Friday, March 9, 2012

Ridin' that KONY

What's a KONY?
Well, unless you don't use the Internet ever, or don't talk to've probably heard about the KONY 2012 campaign. It has created a lot of awareness, but it has also been subject to a lot of criticism. Here is my experience with it all....

I first watched the video after seeing it shared a few times via Twitter and Facebook. It was 30 minutes long and I managed to sit through it all (maybe I don't have ADD after all!). You can view the video here. After viewing it, I felt sad and felt it was a message worth sharing. I also felt a little confused as to what they actually intended to do on April 20th, 2012 and why they chose that date in particular (4/20). I did not immediately begin researching Kony and Uganda, as I was already up past my bedtime and went to sleep right after.

To be honest, this was the first I had ever heard of Kony and the child soldiers in Uganda. I do not follow world news or politics nearly as much as I should. I think I am like a lot of people, I find it overwhelming sometimes and as much as I wish I could make a difference in this world, I get discouraged because I don't even know where to begin.

Anyways....after viewing this video, I did what most people seem to be doing. I shared it. The video states that its goal is to share the video, spread the word, make Kony a recognizable name and as a result, hopefully get the US military to intervene and seek Kony out. Now....I don't presume to know how government and military work (in any country)....there will always be things the public doesn't know and will never know about the inner workings of the higher powers in this world. However, I liked the idea that Invisible Children had a purpose, stated their purpose, stated their tactics and made it easy for people to follow. They wanted a viral video, they got one. They wanted celebrity/ policy maker endorsement, they got it. And then, the criticisms began.....

The day after the video exploded on the Internet, a lot of people began sharing links that criticized the Kony 2012 movement (good summary of criticisms here). Claims about the wrong financial doings of Invisible Children and the fact that Kony hasn't even been in Uganda for 6 years started surfacing and I have to be honest, I was confused.

Invisible Children responded to their critics with a well written reply (found here). After reading their response, I thought, ok, well that makes sense. I mean...they're doing the best they can and they're bringing light onto a subject that otherwise might not have received attention/ ever been addressed. The intent seems to be good.

Then, I read Glen Pearson's take on it all. Found here. now I was even more confused. Invisible Children has good intentions (seemingly), but their facts are outdated and the money would be better spent elsewhere. Meanwhile, so many other non-profit organizations will never get this sort of buzz and attention, but they would actually help more and serve a greater good.

And then.....I read about how there is oil in Uganda......
I'm going to stop there, because right now, I don't know what to believe about this Kony 2012 movement. Do I think Kony is a bad person? Absolutely. Should he be stopped if he is forcing children to  kill people? Yes. Can a viral video stop him? Not likely. Should people be donating money to this cause? Only if they've done their research and think it is a good idea for them to do so. Are there many more charities that donations would better serve? Yes. Is it possible that this is all a giant plan for the US government to invade Uganda and get oil? Maybe.

We live in a world where there is just too much going on. There are too many people doing bad things and too many people doing good things and then in the middle there are people doing good things, but only if its going to benefit them in the end and thus doing some bad things along the way to get to that point.
If anyone can give me an extremely good summary that is well researched and fact based and will help me get off the fence of this Kony movement, please share it with me!!

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