Have you seen the KONY 2012 video yet?
It’s long. Here’s the summary:
I know that’s an unfair comparison to make, when Invisible Children are clearly doing a smashing job of attention-raising and attempting to make a real difference. However, there are very strong, very legitimate criticisms of the campaign.
I urge you to read a summary of the arguments for and against, in very plain terms. There’s a good piece in the Independent too, and a rather more scathing criticism from 2006 (yes, 6 years ago a similar viral campaign happened).
I don’t know anywhere near enough about this situation to make an informed judgement, but it seems that those who do are calling for second thoughts on this campaign. It’s a brilliant piece of viral marketing with a worthy agenda. But I’m definitely not convinced that the solution Invisible Children are advocating for (the Ugandan army gearing up to kill Kony) is a good one.
What I can commend them on, though, is bringing the issue to mainstream spotlight. I just hope that the West doesn’t swallow it hook, line and sinker as another ‘project’ we can ‘fix’ by applying our evening time and placards, when the problems in Africa are even thornier and more difficult to solve than the myriad social issues in our own backyards (which we struggle to fix).
Please. Don’t dismiss this all as too hard to understand, and don’t be too cynical. You don’t HAVE to take a side, and not acting now is not your failure. Do look into it, and take the time to reflect on how you act, whether similar issues (at different scales) are present in your country, and think about how you can find out useful pathways to helping people. Awareness raising is good. But let’s be aware of the grey areas, not just the red, blue and white (in any configuration).
If you have any thoughts on this – the issue itself, Invisible Children, problems in Africa, mass communication on the internet – I would really like to hear them. Or, if you’ve seen interesting people talking about it, leave links! Just don’t put too many in one comment or the spam filter might snag on it…