Alright, this Kony movement sprung up overnight with everyone jumping on board without evaluating any of the consequences of their actions. Now, just to clear the air, I’m not saying Kony isn’t a very very bad man who deserves very very bad things. I’m just going to explain several issues with the KONY 2012 movement and leave the comments open for anyone who wants to refute my arguments.
First of all, let’s just think about this logically. The guy uses children soldiers to protect him and fight his wars. However, the Invisible Children, which is the NPO in charge of the KONY 2012 movement, claims “This is going to take a strategic force of last resort to go in and capture him (http://news.ninemsn.com.au/world/8431706/kony-2012-filmmakers-respond-to-criticism).” Logistically, there is an issue here. No matter how “strategically” you deploy your forces, you are going to end up killing children who have been abducted and forced to fight a war. I, personally, cannot and will not condone the slaughter of innocent children on the off chance that we could, POSSIBLY save others. I say possibly because it is a simple fact that over the past ten years no one has been able to get close to capturing Kony. In fact, children have already died because of attempts to capture Kony: “The end-result of attempts to capture him was that he would escape and the casualties were the children — his tactic was to put them up front,” said Heloise Ruaudel of Oxford University’s Refugee Studies Center, formerly Special Assistant to the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Uganda from 2003-2005 (http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/10/17/us-africa-usa-kony-idUSTRE79G58N20111017). It seems to be a logical fallacy to try to save children by killing more children. I cannot, and will not condone this based on my own moral principles, and I hope that our society has not degraded to the point where murdering some children is okay to save others.
Now, despite the claims of Jason Russel, the Director of Invisible Children that we need strategic forces to end this conflict, he is an avowed pacifist: “We don’t like war — we want to end war. I’m a pacifist at heart. . . I love Gandhi, Martin Luther King; those are my idols (http://news.ninemsn.com.au/world/8431706/kony-2012-filmmakers-respond-to-criticism).” Now, from what I know about Gandhi, he would have shit himself if his name were used in justification for military action–ESPECIALLY military action against children. This man calls upon the great and noble pacifists of the past century in justification for military action. Can you get any more degraded and sick? Also, just to strengthen my point check out this picture:
Look, the man is a Hypocrite. With a capital H. A true pacifist would not be supporting the use of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces. Besides the obvious fact that a pacifist should never support military action, Amnesty International has also documented human rights violations committed by the Uganda People’s Defence Forces against the civilian communities where the LRA were present, and against captured LRA members (http://www.amnesty.org/zh-hant/node/30158). In fact, ” A local chief, Bassire Moke, described how one day the Ugandan commander in town burst into his home, raging drunk, waving a pistol, demanding his 18-year-old daughter. Eventually, the commander was restrained by other Ugandans. But Moke still bitterly recalls the day, wondering who sold our land and gave it to the Ugandans?” (http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/03/08/v-print/2683682/critics-say-viral-video-distorts.html#storylink=cpy). How can you justify assisting an army that does very similar things to the guy you’re trying to kill?
This style of social humanitarian movement promotes the idea of the “white man’s burden.” The supposed or presumed responsibility of white people to govern and impart their culture to nonwhite people, often advanced as a justification for European colonialism. Now, I am well aware that it is not just “white people” involved in this movement. However, in our modern and complex times, we can view “white man” as being the first world Western societies. This is, on one hand, very presumptuous and arrogant of us. On the other hand, it can lead to imperialism and the belief that we have an obligation to rule over others who we deem to be less advantaged. In fact, it is this burden that led to much of the British Empire’s colonialism. Finally, as soon as we assume that they can’t help themselves, we deem them as less than we are. In a sense, we decide that they are less than human, and need help to become human. I don’t think I need to comment on exactly how awful an attitude that is.
The KONY 2012 video is highly misleading. As soon as it began rampaging around the internet, people were posting about “Saving Ugandan Children!” Really? Let’s check our facts here. While it is true that Kony HAS abducted Ugandan children, according to the Invisible Children’s own website, “the LRA left Uganda for good once the Juba Peace Talks began in 2006.” (http://www.invisiblechildren.com.s3-website-us-east-1.amazonaws.com/history.html) Now, while I will be the first to admit that they state right after this that the LRA has continued attacks in other areas, I think we’re missing the point if we just blow this off. For example, from what I understand ” Most of the footage in the video is several years old. Kony’s band long ago stopped fighting in Uganda, and now is terrorizing the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic and South Sudan (http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/03/08/v-print/2683682/critics-say-viral-video-distorts.html#storylink=cpy). Look back for a moment: “most of the footage in the video is several years old.” The video uses misleading representation of the LRA’s current actions. While this wouldn’t be a deal breaker on its own, it just adds to the list of offenses that Invisible Children can be called out for.
Finally, my real problem with this type of movement is that people post a link to the video, send a couple bucks, or wear a t-shirt and their entire involvement in the endeavor is done. They feel like a good person because they “Saved some of those poor African children!” In actuality, only about 1/4 of the money they receive goes towards actually helping the people. So if you send a dollar, one quarter might go to those “poor African children” (that statement right there reveals the underlying tendency to the “white man’s burden”). Most of your money went towards, say paying an electric bill. Or, putting gas in someone’s car. The reality is, in order to actually help African children through this program, you would need to send thousands of dollars and hope that it actually goes to them. By posting the video, writing your congressman, or sending a few dollars, you are really doing nothing. But it makes you feel better. Whether you admit it consciously or not, you’re only doing this because you want to feel like a good person because you saved some children. When you realize that, you realize how this type of program exploits natural human tendencies to feel good.
Simply put, while I completely and totally condemn Kony and everything he has done, I cannot find it in myself to support the Invisible Children NPO. Perhaps some of you can, and you give them some money–hey, maybe you bought Mr. Russell a new machine gun so he can further his pacifist agenda. Now, there are several other issues with this program that I’m not going to get into. If you want to know more about the problems with this entire movement, do the research yourself. Condemn me as a heartless bastard if you will; but at least I sat out to do the research before I found myself supporting or condemning the movement. Many of you just watched the video, accepted it at face value, reposted, and felt good. This is passive, weak, and pathetic as well as naive. I hope I at least opened your eyes to the possibility of questioning what everyone else seems to believe. I also want to point your attention to a few other websites where you can begin to do more research and understand more about the movement:
While most of these are blogs, they provide links to credible sources where you can begin doing your research, if you actually want to think about something for once.
I’m not asking for you to condemn the movement offhand. I’m asking you to simply think before you jump on board with the mob mentality that fuels these types of movements. Educate and evaluate before you champion a movement.