KONY 2012

(click here to watch the video on Vimeo, or click the photo to watch it on the KONY 2012 site if you have no idea what’s going on).


As Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and social networking sites have massively and virally spread the news of KONY 2012, I’m curious of how things will move from here.

This article from enough (‘The project to end genocide and crimes against humanity’, which has partnered with Invisible Children and Resolve for the KONY2012 campaign) features a Q+A with Jason Russell.  This quote is the most important thing to keep in mind, in answering, “What’s the dream for KONY 2012?”, Jason Russell answers:

“The ultimate dream for KONY 2012 is that it becomes a tipping point for conversation, and that people will make a commitment to stop at nothing by making sure Kony is known in their circle of influence, whether it’s their family or office or school. The dream would be for Kony to be captured, not killed, and brought to the International Criminal Court to face trial. The world would know about his crimes and they would watch the trial play out on an international level, seeing a man face justice who got away with abducting children, raping little girls, and mutilating people’s faces for 26 years.”

I fear of an Bin Laden-like response if his death occurs (don’t get me started) … but there is hope, because of the people behind this, that Kony will stand trial.

Giving funds to the cause is interesting though.  I’ve already seen at least one reddit commenter who is concerned with IC’s budget (see page 6).  Yes, they spend a lot on Travel, but I think that it’s worth it – there needs to be someone filming, and visiting all the villages and cities across Uganda, DR Congo, South Sudan, and Central Africa in making their cause more legitimate to a North American audience.  I’d say Jason Russell has good intentions and is making good use of donated funds, unless I see something a lot more questionable.  You can also see “Where does money donated to Invisible Children, Inc. go?” on the FAQ of the IC site.

The North American-ness of the cause is also interesting…

The site features the pictures of extremely American celebrities and almost exclusively American politicians.  The site also only allows people to purchase their kits in dollars (as opposed to Euro’s, etct.).  I’ve already read of folks overseas really wishing they could help out with spreading the word and buy posters.  If they wish to succeed world-wide the KONY campaign needs to start appealing to the worldwide audience.

This cause also seems very dependant on the US military – a branch of the US government that I’m not terribly fond of.  It’s as though they need support from the US military to track down Joseph Kony.  Which, in all likelihood is close to the truth, considering how much technology they have (I’m assuming the resources of the Uganda military is slightly less than the US…).  The video glorifies these 100 US military advisors – as though they will end the conflict once and for all.  It makes the US military look like a good and upstanding humanitarian force.

Jason Russell sure likes his bazookas...

Can’t the UN assemble a peacekeeping force – much larger than the 100 US military ‘special operations forces’ – to track him down with US (or UK) surveillance help?  I like the concept of multiple nations coming together to create a joint peacekeeping force, would more people and more support really help in seizing Kony and freeing the children?

I think the cause is great.  I hope it catches on.  I hope Kony comes to trial at the ICC.

I fear of too much hope in the US military.  I fear that people want Kony dead.  I fear of things that tear people apart over bringing things to justice: like finance – but it better not be ignorance.

Here’s an article of two survivors of Kony’s Lords Resistance Army that lived alongside him.

The tracking system they’ve made is pretty legit.

This article from 2009 is a really great critique on the directors of Invisible Children and their mission.

And Visible Children has gotten a lot of hits as well.

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One thought on “KONY 2012

  1. The video is extremely effective on a lot of levels.
    Jason using his son is not only cute, but its incredibly effective to see his sons responses to Jason’s comments and questions.
    The use of Facebook, and the ‘Timeline’ in the video is also advertising for Facebook – it may be completely unintentional and someones creative idea – but regardless of this, it’s certainly product placement. The idea of Facebook needs some serious analysis, “We are living in a new world, Facebook world,” is a fascinating quote that requires thought I currently cannot give.

    The whiteness of the film also strikes me a little bit as well. I dislike the image of white people saving Africans, just as much – generalising all of Africa on the whole. IC is still a young organisation and we’ll see how well they grow into to being a ‘world player’ and sustain their image. I sensed a lack of an Asian presence in the video, which is understandable, but their ability to become a ‘world player’ requires them to grow in diversity, I think.

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