Saturday, March 10, 2012

Kony 2012

Over the last couple of weeks, this video has been very popular online, and has been posted countless times on Facebook and Twitter.  I posted it myself.

The idea behind the video is to make Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in Africa, famous.  He has abducted thousands of children and turned them into soldiers and sex slaves, and is the number 1 most wanted person in the world for crimes against humanity.  Western countries are reluctant to try to stop him because he is not a financial or military threat to Western countries.
The charity behind the video, Invisible Children, believe that part of the problem is that Kony isn't a household name like Saddam Hussein or Col. Gadaffi, and therefore wants to make Kony famous so that Western populations will pressurize governments to stop him.

The video has been received variably.  Some have got behind the idea and have joined the plan to publicise Kony 2012 on a large scale in April.  Others have been suspicious and critical of various things.  Some have criticised the misrepresentation of the scale and the location of the LRA.  Some have asked about the lack of coverage of the corruption in the Ugandan government.  Some have pointed out that US advisers have already been sent to help.  Some have tried to discuss the very nature of 'justice' and 'evil'.  These people miss the point.
The point is that Invisible Children have noticed that what the LRA are doing is wrong and they should be stopped.  Because Western governments are reluctant to get involved, Invisible Children have decided to go to the public to try to raise awareness that way.  They are using social media to spread the message, which makes quite a lot of sense.  Regardless of the details of Kony's crimes or who else is involved, he is still top of the International Criminal Court's most wanted list.  He is someone who should be brought to justice and someone who people should know about.  Simple as that.

If, and that's a big if, Invisible Children's plan works, and nations pressurise governments into acting before the end of 2012, that would be a massive deal.  It would mean that because of public and social media pressure, governments acted.  Forget votes and referendums and petitions for a minute.  If this works for Kony, it could work for other situations too.  I'm not saying I think it will work, but I love that it's a fresh idea, a new way of doing things.

It doesn't really matter about the details.  The point is that Kony should be stopped, and people should know about him.  That's why I've shared the video.


siwatkinson said...

I think you're a bit quick to say that those people have missed the point Ben. I fully agree that Kony should be stopped, and isn't number 1 for the ICC for no reason. I am reluctant about this campaign because it advocates forceful military intervention to try and arrest him, and I believe that these tactics will only serve to flare up what is a difficult situation (not one that's even in the country they've mentioned anymore anyway). I believe that stopping war should be done with peace, not with more war. For that reason I support the aims of the Kony 2012 campaign, but not the methods. I don't think I've missed the point (given the information currently available)

Unknown said...

I agree with you Si. Peaceful intervention is always preferable. But I think sometimes forceful intervention is needed. I'm no expert on the Kony situation, but it sounds like forceful intervention would be necessary.

When I say that people have missed the point, I mean people who are arguing about the details and are missing the main idea that Kony should be stopped. I think that is the essence of what Invisible Children are all about.

The actual means of stopping him is another question that you have rightly raised, but I don't think we should reject this campaign on the basis that Kony isn't in Uganda, or on the basis of the (seemingly ineffective) action that has already been taken.