I'm sure I need not say much if I mention the name Kony. It has spread like wildfire and I'm sure by now half the world (if not all of it) is aware of Invisible Children's Stop Kony / Kony 2012 campaign. I figured eventually I should put in my two cents, or at least document my thoughts on the issue if I ever felt like checking back on it.
I must admit, when I first saw the video I was quite gung ho for a resolution. A friend of mine from Ireland (shout out to Louise) brought it to my attention via Twitter, and I decided to just click the link and watch the vid. It spoke to a lot of things, I think, and I was about ready to order my action kit immediately, and had already started looking for a city I could go to for a sort of "paint the town Kony" night in April.
Over the next few days though, the campaign and the organization behind it received lots of criticism. Some people pointed this out to me, some more bluntly than others... and then I began to read all of the arguments on the opposing side. They argued in regards to money spent by Invisible Children and how it was all allocated, they argued about the way the video was filmed and also about what is actually happening in Uganda. On the less professional side, many of the comments on Youtube say "everyone talking about Kony2012 point out Uganda on a map." Now, I'll be the first to admit, I know no further detail on location regarding Uganda other than it is in Africa. I'm an architecture major, not a geography expert...
That being said, I think the cause is a worthy one. But with the way the Internet is today, propaganda is a lot easier to spread, and it is incredibly easy to falsify information and not only get away with it, but amass a large support group on that information. I'm not saying that Invisible Children is full of bull in any way, but there seem to be a lot of questions from legitimate sources. Should I, or any other person, decide to donate to the cause, I'm sure we would all sleep better at night knowing that our money was going towards the cause in the best and most efficient and useful way possible. Right?
So these are the articles I found to be most interesting in regards to a counter argument:
Joseph Kony is Not in Uganda
The Visible Problem with Invisible Children
The Problem with Invisible Children's Kony2012
And equally interesting, is the rebuttals from the organization itself, where can be found here.
So I'm at a point now where I'm not sure what to believe. And I'm not big into arguing politics or logistics, and the last thing I would want to do is blow money on something where it won't be used properly. So I'm not sure what to do. If you think you can convince me one way or another, feel free to go for it.
That being said, here's where I think I stand for the moment. This particular campaign to suppress an unethical (in society's eyes) and dangerous person is a nice idea. Saving children from fearful nights is an even better one, if that is what is still happening. However, this particular campaign made me realize just how unaware of many things that are probably going on. That perhaps maybe on the whole I need to think about other issues going on in the world, as opposed to being so worried about trivial things like when my laptop battery is going to crap out. So therefore, I would have to look at all of the secular issues and decide to give to the best one in my eyes. If I only am aware of one, then I shouldn't just jump right into that.
I'm iffy on the logistics of this particular operation. I'm not sure of government presence or willingness, and I'm not sure of how the process to "stop Kony" will actually work, which is something I'd like to do. In terms of their goal to spread the word and raise awareness, I think Invisible Children has succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. Social media is a great outlet, and our generation in particular, being so apt to use the media and computers, can really make a difference by passing the word along. I just want to make sure that the word I'm passing is legitimate and real.
The last part of me wonders if foreign policy is really a place where we should be focusing right now. Would terrorism be less of a problem if we hadn't felt so inclined to wage an all out war on the Middle East? I'm wondering that perhaps foreign issues are not the place to start helping... but instead on domestic issues. We are trying to climb out of a recession, jobs are few and far between, and oil prices are going higher than ever because of the conflicts over the crude oil that we buy from foreign sources. There are issues of poverty, homelessness, and other things right here in this country, and that, in my eyes, is something we shouldn't turn a blind eye to. People are people are people, and each one counts as much as the next, no matter where they are.
On a final note, here's one thing I read that really stuck out. The more you give handouts and foreign aid, the more dependent places will become on it. In my opinion the United States can't continue, and frankly, can't afford to continue to be the world's police force. That's what the UN is for, right? To keep the peace. I'm not trying to be selfish or stingy, I just think that we don't want to have foreign countries so dependent upon our foreign aid that they stop trying to resolve issues on their own.
So, that's sorta where I stand. Love it or hate it, I just tried to put a lot of thought into it and address the issue from all sides. Let me know your thoughts, comments, concerns.