Sunday, 18 March 2012

The Kony Craze

This whole KONY 2012 phenomenon has really been getting to me. So I started telling all the supporters I saw a couple of facts about Invisible Children and Joseph Kony that I had found out through various articles, and since I’ve been approached by a few people since then to explain the flaws associated with KONY 2012, I made this list of facts:
1.       Kony is actually pronounced "Kohn"
2.       He is no longer in Uganda, he is in the Congo. He hasn't been active in Uganda for 6 years, and the LRA is now only about 420 people large.
3.       The US was in Uganda before the Invisible Children people said anything, because Uganda has oil. Even if more troops are sent, it won't have anything to do with Kony because he's not there!
4.       The Ugandan military is involved in atrocities such as rape and torture. Invisible Children supports them, as well as military intervention- which can only lead to more violence, and the death of a number of the child soldiers.
5.       Invisible Children only gives 31% of donations to the people in Uganda. They use up the rest within the organization- which is hugely unethical.
6.      If they want the US government to take notice, there is no point in asking people outside the US to advocate the group and "make Kony famous"- the US government doesn't care if non-citizens are interested in an issue. It’s simply not their responsibility.
7.       This is a short interview with an ex-child soldier, who spoke to the press about how offended he is by the Kony 2012 Campaign for its failure to respect and communicate the gravity of the situation in Uganda:

I’ve been meaning to start a blog for a while, and though this isn’t the most original of entries, I thought it would be a good start. I’m really happy to see that people of my generation are interested in helping the world and stepping up to make changes, but the way to do so isn’t through coming up with cool activities and having fun while we’re at it. It's understandable that a video that is made to get to viewers emotionally has moved so many people, but the cool graphics and sad five year old don't legitimize everything said in the Kony 2012 video (they even got the geographical location of Uganda wrong). The LRA and Kony, as well as other domestic issues in Uganda are very serious, and cannot be solved by means of having fun, and making it about us instead of them. This video is all about the White Man's Burden- but remember, just because the mainstream in the US weren't aware of Kony and the LRA, the problem was never "invisible". Another reason why I'm a bit upset with Invisible Children is because it doesn't seem to respect the dignity of the people in Uganda who have lived and died through everything that has happened in the past two decades. Their trials were not invisible just because nobody was tweeting about them.
If we really want to take action, we have to find reliable charities, and put in real hard work- changing a profile picture on facebook and running around town laughing with friends while putting up posters really isn’t helping any of the kids who have suffered under Kony. If you really want to make a change, then really do something.  

Additional note: Please do let me know if you're aware of any facts I got wrong; I’ll be sure to research and update them.