After logging into facebook, you take a quick glance at your home feed before checking your notifications- three friends have shared a video. Despite the three projects and a test this week you decide to take a quick look. The video comes on and explains to you that for the next 29 minutes- 29 minutes?!- you are part of an experiment, and for it to work you have to pay attention. You smile as a cute blonde five year old fills the
screen, which quickly turns into horror when you realize what this video is
17 people liked a video.
Joseph Kony is ranked #1 on the International Criminal Court’s list of the worst criminals in the world. He is a leader of a rebel group in Uganda called the LRA,
the Lord’s Resistance Army. After the defeat of a similarly minded rebel group
in 1988, Kony founded the LRA. Describing his actions as a message from god, he
went on to rape, steal, murder, and abuse much of the country. Among his worst
crimes were the abduction and mutilation of thousands of children. The video describes how through an organization called Invisible children, you can donate and help to fund the KONY2012 movement. Their goal is place pressure on both significant leaders in
government, and significant leaders in pop culture to get Joseph Kony arrested
by December 31, 2012. Its final message? How you the viewer can help: 1. sign
the invisible children pledge 2. buy the action kit 3.donate a few dollars a
month for invisible children 4. share this video.
68 of your friends like Invisible Children.
Almost as quickly as awareness of this video grew, did skepticism grow for its motives. Though Invisible Children is a registered not-for-profit organization, last year only 32% of donations went to direct services. Much of the rest of their money went toward travel, film production and staff salaries. Furthermore, what is not quite clear in the
video is that the money you are donating is in favour of direct military
invention- much of it supporting the Ugandan government’s arm.
33, 248 people are attending COVER THE NIGHT Toronto.
The other problem that was quickly noticed by the video is that it is misleading. Though all the people who posted the video, and helped spread the campaign are very well-meaning, most do not actually know or understand the issue. Many, Ugandan citizens included, think that the KONY2012 video oversimplified and this very complex situation. Ishmael Beah, who was formerly a child-soldier said in an interview “War is not cool. If you are not interested enough to learn the complexity of it, and know that it is
not black and white… then I think you have no business in it. You cannot feel
good about it today, and then tomorrow forget about it”.
As of today 84, 339, 415 have liked the KONY2012 video on youtube, 3, 167, 585 people have liked Invisible Children on facebook, and millions worldwide have posted and shared the video. This is not a bad thing. For all its faults, the KONY2012 campaign shed some much needed light on a very serious issue. It is just important that those who want to help, thoroughly understand the issue they are choosing to support. Though Invisible Children has received an abundance of criticism for their methods- their goal is a worthwhile one.