I was trying to avoid blogging about the “meme du jour”, Kony2012, but the blind support of the campaign from the majority of my Facebook friends has convinced me otherwise.
We can all agree that Kony is an awful war criminal, and what the LRA does is terrible. We can also all agree that Invisible Children’s Koney2012 campaign is an example of brilliant marketing.
My first impression when I watched the Kony2012 video was “his kid is soooo cute!”, my second was “Oh wow, I am totally being manipulated,” and my third was “White people saving Africans? How original.” After watching the video, I let it all set in and do some more research about the issue and campaign.
One of my main issues with this campaign is that it is imperialistic and perpetuates the idea of “us vs. them.” It is also indicative that no Ugandan or even African is on their board of directors.
The main call to action for this campaign is to gain political support for US military intervention. The US military is supporting the Ugandan military, which has been criticized of various human rights violations.
There have also been criticisms of questionable finances, and huge amounts of money going towards film production.
Invisible Children addresses a lot of this critiques here.
I would also recommend this blog.
If you still decide to support Invisible Children’s campaign after educating yourself, just remember: putting a hashtag in front of a name on Twitter does not make you an activist. Yes, awareness is the first step, but awareness alone does not bring about change. Instead, I challenge you to get active and DO something. Ghandi’s quote is cheesy but still powerful: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”