Thursday, March 8, 2012

Opinion Thursday: Kony 2012

I've seen the posts all over for the Kony 2012 campaign and I've watched the video put out by Invisible Children. I think this whole thing has been so interesting to watch play out across the interwebs. Firstly, to think that this group posted a video (literally) two days ago, and it was on the nightly news last night goes to show you how powerful social media is. It honestly makes me glad I didn't have this stuff when I was in high school. Could you imagine how quickly rumors spread now? Ugh.
Anyways, I just thought I would put my opinion up here because, well, it's my blog. I guess I'm in the minority when I say that I know who Joseph Kony is, as well as the Lord's Resistance Army. I read the New York Times, and I guess I try to stay educated on what is going on in the world. I agree that Joseph Kony is absolutely a terrible person, but I'm unsure that this way of "stopping him" is the right way at all. I think the problem I have is that this whole campaign just reeks of colonialism. I don't think that any rich American white guy should go into another country and tell people how to live. I also think that we, as Americans, tend to think of our life as the best way of life, when that is not necessarily true. If the world lived the way we live, this planet would be cooked, like, yesterday, and our resources would be gone. I think the situation in Uganda and Sudan is much more complex that a short 30 min video can ever convey. I am also unsure that military intervention is the right approach. And I'm thirdly quite uneasy with the thought that eliminating Joseph Kony will entirely solve the problem. The problem, it seems, stems from either a strict dictatorship government in Uganda, or lack of a government at all in Sudan. In both of these situations, the military is out of control, and, instead of protecting the people, is instead following its own interests. I don't think that arming these militaries even further is the answer either. To be honest, I've never been that good at foreign policy. But something about this video just seems so wrong to me. I'm not sure whether it's the use of the name "Invisible Children", as if, unless those children are known by the rich Americans, they are invisible? Or the fact that the filmmaker uses his young son as propaganda, trying to explain that Kony is a "bad guy" and "we've got to get him".
Of course, please don't get me wrong. I think it's amazing that a viral video can turn up one day and lead people to talk about Africa in the next. I think that's a good thing. I think Americans should be more aware of what's going on in the world outside the US. And, I think the sad fact of the matter is, this is not just occurring in Uganda and Africa. This happens all over the world, especially in Asia, where the sex slave industry is apparently booming. Hell, they even find some of these girls and boys here in the US. The problem is there are hugely corrupt governments all over the world. Exposing their wrong-doing, supporting the people in poorer countries, and donating or contributing to charities you believe in are all good places to start. However, I think we also need to support good, strong, independent journalism. We need to know what is actually happening in these countries, by journalists who have pledged to be unbiased and to get both (or however many) sides of the story. I just don't think we can rely on random guys with a superman complex to give us the details of a complex situation in a straight manner, especially when they have an agenda to promote. Personally, I will donate my money to Doctors without Borders. They operate in a wide number of countries all over the world and dispense needed medical aid. I'm all for that. I'm just not for arming a military complex that is notorious for raping women and killing citizens. It's just not right.

1 comment:

Randi said...

I confess I was one of the people who shared that video on facebook. I don't think it inspired me to contribute monetarily but I think it is a good tool to raise awareness. I had never heard of Kony (I was a news avoider). I saw the video, saw it talked about on the news, read about commentary on blogs and online news sources. If nothing else, this is a moment in pop culture I was glad I was a part of.