Human Rights / People

Why I will continue supporting Kony 2012?

How the Invisible Children run the Stop Kony campaign is not perfect and the criticisms against it are logical. But, I believe that it has inadvertently done some good with its spillover benefits.

Geoffrey York in the Globe Mail said that we can learn important lessons from the mistakes dredged up by this campaign. And, he added another benefit of this campaign: Other established organisations can leverage on the publicity created by IC.

Invisible Children is a relatively small group, and it admits that it is a “media-based organization.” But its publicity has spilled over to benefit older and more experienced groups, such as Human Rights Watch, which has offered a useful tip sheet on how to go beyond military action in the anti-LRA campaign. It listed a series of steps that could help save lives: increased protection for civilians in LRA regions; better communications and early-warning tools such as cellphone towers; rehabilitation for LRA soldiers and captives who escape; and improved demobilization programs for LRA soldiers who want to surrender.

Dan Pallotta wrote in the Harvard Business Review Blog about the paradox posed by the IC controversy. On one hand, we want to create a socially conscious youth generation. On the other hand, once youths take matters in their own hands with a new and radical way, criticisms from the same quarters start pouring down their ears.

Yet predictably, the more successful their movement becomes, the more criticism they attract — and from the very people preaching social consciousness and decrying MBAs. It’s a wonder any young person would want to try to change the world anymore. At the first sign that any of them actually has a shot at it, their own sector wants to cut them off at the knees. No success allowed. It offends our puritan ethos of self-criticism and restraint.

You should see the light in the eyes of the college kids engaged in Invisible Children’s mission. That’s the larger value of what these guys have created. A generation of kids believing again that they can change the world, and seeing themselves accomplish it.

The criticism is largely based in envy at Invisible Children’s success. Envy? In charity? Yes. There are an awful lot of people out there for whom all of this work is still about their own holiness. They’d rather children remain obscured by criticism of the way in which they’re being made visible.

Alex Perry from TIME posted a similar article yesterday.

What actually happened, however, was that worthwhile debate was drowned out by a wildly inaccurate, malicious online “takedown,” most of whose participants were utterly uninterested in truth but focused instead on a point-scoring, trashing and hurting, the digital pogrom of the unaccountable, anonymous Invisible Mob. Strangely, even as the participants zeroed in on Invisible Children’s fast and loose presentation of the facts, most responded not with superior research or knowledge but ever wilder and thinner conspiracies …

This is the other lesson of Kony2012. Invisible Children have shown us the almost limitless, instant — and by that I mean wondrous — potential for engaging the world that our new media tools allow. But Invisible Children has also shown us the price we have to expect to pay for that: an almost limitless, instant — and by that I mean thoughtless — response. It’s been enough, apparently, to break Russell, someone whose intent, whatever you thought of his methods, was merely to shine a light on one of the world’s more forgotten, and nastiest, conflicts. Will anyone be brave enough to try to do the same again?

For a more balanced article that doesn’t support nor criticise the Kony campaign, I like this article by Cord Jefferson in GOOD. He said that “everything is a gray area” once you start reading more into it. Vegetarianism, consumerism and even hybrid cars. This campaign is one too.

Who is a person interested in making the world better supposed to believe: the do-gooders, or the naysayers attempting to do good by exposing the do-gooders as frauds? It’s a difficult question, not to mention an increasingly relevant one… When it comes to the Kony film, it’s unlikely society will reach a consensus about it anytime soon, and with good reason: It’s extraordinarily hard to unpack. Does the film distill a complex problem with centuries of backstory into a simplistic soundbite? Yes. But it has also illuminated tens of millions of people to an issue they didn’t know existed before… I’m not sure anyone believes Kony 2012 is perfect, but it doesn’t seem wise to toss it on the scrap heap, either. Whether or not you like it, at least it serves as a reminder that the world is messy and hard to organize. The best any of us can do is keep reading, keep talking to each other, keep trying to do the right thing, and keep hoping that there’s more than one way to destroy a warlord.

My stand is that Joseph Kony, even if he has “retired” from the atrocities he committed in Uganda, has to be captured to receive his just punishment. Nathan Fardi from Forbes wrote an article about Kony’s staying power as one of the world’s top ten fugitives, where it said:

[Kony and other fugitives’ crimes are significant and transnational, but in all these cases there has not been a strong enough international effort to pursue them.

There are plenty of criticisms online, most unfair and slanderous. But, I will leave it to you to come up with your own conclusions. My stand is that I agree that we can, and ought to, leverage on the awareness inspired by the Kony 2012’s brilliant campaign.

To those who want to help the African communities in a more direct way, we can still support the campaign in every way, except financially. That’s what the Kony 2012 Singapore Night Sweep is doing, by the way. All money donations will be channelled to selected African organisations who will help its local population directly.

I believe that the campaign has done and will continue to do a lot of good. I hope that supporters will not lose their passion to help because of unfair accusations from critics who only wish for the “perfect solution”.

The kind of solution that might not even exist.


One thought on “Why I will continue supporting Kony 2012?

  1. Very nicely written, Chrissy! You make a valid argument, and I’m proud of your stand and your desire to not only voice it, but stand by it.

    I do have issues with the campaign, but that comes probably from my own experiences of watching former colonial groups use third world situations for propaganda and fame, ultimately doing nothing. Its from here that CSR and greenwashing came about; skepticism that good intentions rarely translate into real action. And in projecting this onto IC, I may have been wrong.

    Regardless, I appreciate your point-of-view, and have taken it to heart. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s