The Kony Bandwagon
There is one thing that Americans are extremely good at and that is taking a topic, spreading it over social media and squeezing it for all its worth -- draining it and then letting it become yesterday’s news.
The story today? Kony.
Within two days it is a big hit. This video about everyone uniting to achieve the goal of getting Kony, the “bad guy” is really great. It has everything: a personal touch to it, the son being educated about the situation around Uganda and the information about the “invisible children”. It also has the motivational touch, what YOU can do, how YOU can help and even a Watch the Throne track in there.
Okay. Let me begin with this: I admire this guy, Jason, the one who made the video. He is doing what all of us would love to do: to get people to pay attention to an issue that actually matters. He is doing what non-profits, activists and leaders have been trying to do for years -- raise awareness.
So this video comes out and the population of the United States suddenly cares beyond belief. They are all ready to buy their $30 kits to support the cause of capturing Kony. They are willing to repost the video and send it to everyone they know so we are all aware of this man, Kony. This is a great movement, and the amount of attention the video has gotten is a great success in the eyes of Kony 2012 and the organization’s efforts.
Why do I have a problem with this? I stand for social justice, equal rights and take all of the world’s problems way too seriously. Shouldn’t I be jumping up and down with joy? Here is where the problem lies:
- Why now? I know I should be saying, better late than never. However, Kony began his work in 1989. Over 20 years ago, people! This has been going on for over two decades! Kids have been suffering, the LRA has kidnapped, abused and engaged in so many other inhumane acts towards the people of East Africa before some of you were even born. I’ll tell you why everyone cares now, because it’s a trend. That is why.
Attempts to raise awareness of this topic have been made for years and years. If you really are an activist for this, educate yourself on it. Watch “Invisible Children”, watch “Uganda’s Silent War,” watch “Soldier Child,” “Uganda Rising” or watch “War Dance.” Better yet, read a book about the conflict that has been going on for decades.
It doesn’t matter that there are countless numbers of documentaries out there about this cause. The amount of time that this war lasted didn’t matter. The amount of people that have been trying to raise awareness, didn’t matter either. What mattered was that this one spoke to the American crowd and got the media attention it needed. Who could be behind this? Hmmm. Who could at this time want the American people to support the presence of US troops in Uganda? Hmmm.
- Joseph Kony is not even in Uganda. Since 2008 the LRA has not been in Uganda. They have moved their operation to the surrounding countries and this is very public information. So why did Obama send 100 U.S. forces there? Could it have anything to do with the oil? Wait, what oil?
We are about two decades and 30,000 children late in this campaign. Had “Kony 2012” launched earlier, when it was supposed to, and by that I mean: had the people cared when they were supposed to; we may have been able to catch Kony at his prime, when he was abducting children by the hundreds and taking part in the most cruel and violent inhumane tactics of his “war,” decades ago.
This effort (Kony 2012), is for what now? To raise awareness about a man who isn’t even in Uganda? Well, let’s raise awareness about Hitler and the Salvadorian Civil war while we’re at it. Seeing as how Hitler isn’t alive anymore and the Civil War is over.
Disclaimer: I apologize for the change in my tone as I write more and more. I just can’t help myself.
What do the people in Uganda really need? Do they need you to spend $30 on your kit so they can get the money to “get the right technology so that we can get Kony.” No. They need rehabilitation from the war they suffered. They need help restoring and rebuilding their communities. They don’t need to catch a guy who isn’t even in their country anymore.
- The United States could have captured Kony at any time that they wanted to. They just very clearly stated that they would not get involved in these international issues. Fun fact, we’ve always had the technology to capture Kony. Why now? Is it really because of all the efforts the Invisible Children and activists have put in during the years?
Well, it is a fact that the U.S. is in Uganda now, even if Kony isn’t. Here’s another fun fact: Last summer, oil was found in Uganda. In August 2011, proven reserves of two billion barrels were found in the East side of the country. In November, oil was found under the river at the Uganda and DRC border.
So tell me: Are we milking the U.S. government for what they are worth? Are we taking advantage of the fact that U.S. troops are in Uganda saying: “Hey, while you’re in Uganda, GET KONY!” Or is the U.S. government milking the activists and non-profit organizations for what they are worth? Is the U.S. government the one saying: “Hey remember that really bad guy that did really bad things for decades? We are going to go get him! Here’s a really sad video… watch it and support our presence in Uganda!”
So I guess I am not sure, is the government exploiting the people’s cause to justify their presence in Uganda? Or for once, are the people exploiting the government to get justice for those hurt by Kony?
At the end of the day, I’ll never win. I’ll take what I can get. So, thumbs up and a pat on the back to Invisible Children, Inc! Their Kony 2012 campaign seems to be extremely popular and effective in their fundraising efforts.
Will the U.S. get Kony? Probably. Millions of people now expect this from the U.S. government. So at the end of the day this man will be captured. The people in Africa and U.S. will rejoice. Then, Americans will move on to the next set of news that swarm over Twitter and Facebook, probably Snookie’s pregnancy.
The people of Uganda and its surrounding countries will remain in need of help to rebuild, reunite and recover from decades and decades of horror. I’ll skip out on jumping on the Kony bandwagon; I was already on the vehicle that left before this one.
OlderShame in America