Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Wicked Wednesday - Kony 2012

I'm sure by now most of you have seen this video circulating in your social media feeds. Some of you probably clicked on it right away, others thought about it but realized it was 30 minutes long and couldn't be bothered, and others just skimmed over it and barely noticed. I want you to watch it. Every second of it. Twice.


Done? Good. Now I want you to share it with everyone you know and spend some time learning more about this issue. Not for yourself. Not for me. Not even for these children who have been abused, stolen and tortured for most of their lives (though they are more than reason enough). I want you to do it because if we don't stop atrocities like this we are not fit to call ourselves human.

Of course, this video is not the be-all story on this issue. I don't puport that it is. I am not asking you to watch it or share it because it's perfect or beyond criticism. I'm asking you because it makes the issue accessible. And my hope is that it will pique your interest and you'll go on to research it further. 

Like any complex human rights cause, there is a lot of controversy surrounding the Kony 2012 campaign. Following my own advice, I've been doing some online research and have found some interesting perspectives not necessarily obvious to everyone who cares about this issue. I'm including some links below - for your reference, not because I am necessarily saying I agree with everything - or even anything, in some cases - that they say.

I encourage you all to spend some time learning, not only about the issue, but about the groups who are attempting to help end these human rights abuses, so that you can come to your own (more) informed decisions and decide who/what you feel comfortable supporting. Some things that I've come across that may be of interest in terms of framing the issue are:

  • Apparently US organizations have tried to get to Kony over the years, but because his "bodyguards" are children, it's not easy to get to him. 
  • Kony 2012 is reported to support the Sudan People's Liberation Army, who themselves have been known to rape and loot.
  • There is also the issue of whether or not we should impose our own idea of justice on a war criminal in a different country (the "White Man's Burden" perspective) or whether that in itself is stepping over a line. 
There are, I'm sure, many other criticisms and ethical/moral grey areas to be considered. I encourage you to consider them - but at the end of the day we must make a decision based on the information we have rather than becoming frozen into inaction. At the very least, spend some time thinking about and talking about this - and other - human rights abuses, because learning about the world around us is always important.

Here are some viewpoints:
Invisible Children have also released a response to the criticism that you can find here, should you wish to read their side of things.   

    Update - March 16/19, 2012:
    As you may have heard, Jason Russell, one of the co-founders of Invisible Children, had a very public, very embarrassing meltdown during which he stripped naked and wandered around yelling. Unfortunately this came at possibly the worst time for his organization, having just gained a very large amount of attention. Oh well, we all have our bad days, right? Here are a couple of stories about it:

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