So if the name Kony means nothing to you I suggest you firstly:
A) relocate yourself from under that quaint little rock u’v been living under and
B) watch the attached Youtube clip below before reading this article…
So ever since this clip became a viral sensation last Tuesday night the internet and media have been alight with debate and discussion over not only the organizations credentials but its aims. There have been a plethora of replies criticisms and backlashes over the whole campaign. So I thought it best to maybe put all this in perspective and answer some of the criticisms. Bearing in mind that this article won’t necessarily vouch for the organization itself but focus on the impact the organization has made.
Firstly let’s get one thing straight, this campaign has already achieved one of its aims. That is it has made KONY a ‘celebrity’ and pushed this reclusive figure and oft forgotten warlord onto the world stage and subsequently onto the radar of the mainstream media. Whether we like it or not, and whether you agree with the campaigns aims or not, the fact people are talking about Kony is a PLUS because it means that he isn’t confined to international purgatory and is subsequently no longer ‘out of sight and out of mind’.
By the force of people sharing this clip some people have conversely started thinking deeper about this issue and have flung open the debate on this topic. I think that’s a positive in itself because it is only through an open and healthy debate that issues can be resolved. Ironically, some of the campaigns harshest critics wouldn’t have had the platform they have now to discuss their views on this issue if it wasn’t for the video they so loudly denounce.
Another major complaint about the video is that the people who are tweeting, sharing and spreading the word about this campaign are meerily ‘jumping’ on a bandwagon engaging no critical thought on the debate and are merely acting as mindless sheep. To this I say, yes, but so what? I’d rather have these drones tweeting and talking about Kony then sharing their qualms over which celebrity is dating who and what Justin Beiber has decided to do with his hair. Because at the end of the day the blather of these sheep does help in amplyfing the issue to the ears of people who do genuinely care. Also, I am not one to belittle any sense of educational knowledge of Kony and his atrocities being imparted on this generation no matter how basic this knowledge is.
Another issue which links to this issue of the people who are spreading this campaign being seemingly ‘under-educated’ would be some of the posts I have come across which condescendingly state; ‘I’ll listen to you about Kony if you sow me where Uganda is on a map’
Now excuse me if I am wrong, but just because someone is not a walking talking geography book doesn’t mean they lack the means to empathize and care about an issue. That isn’t to say I don’t encourage them to find out more about Uganda just that these type of posts don’t really prove much of a point. Empathy isn’t tied up with a knowledge of the world’s borders. There are hundred’s of countries around the world and in every country there is bound to be some form of injustice occurring no matter how big or small. Plus since we are talking about peoples geographic knowledge, why not take this thought process a step further and demand people know the city locations of some areas that are being attacked i.e. How many people know where Homs or Baba Amar are located in Syria?
Another thing that has grinded my gears is this talk about the linking up of the Kony campaign to the U.S’s hegemonic interests. Firstly, let’s get one thing straight, it wasn’t the government who initiated this campaign, it’s a campaign which has been in the making for 9 years and has been largely ignored by the government for these 9 years. So it isn’t simply an overnight phenomonan but a project which was years in the making. Secondly, the U.S won’t invade Uganda over Kony, it has no reason to. This is because as the campaign itself points out on its website and in the video, the conflict has moved on from Uganda to other areas in Africa. So Kony is no longer at large in Uganda, though of course the aftermath of his presence in the country can still be felt.
Thirdly, people need to differentiate between ‘military advisors’ and ‘combat troops’. These 100 of military advisers in Uganda aren’t G.I. Joe and aren’t waging an ‘Expandables’ type war on the nations grounds. All they are doing is simply advising the Ugandan military on how to best capture Kony. Which in my regards, is fairly docile. Plus, people need to wake up, there are a plethora of American military bases stationed around the world which do similar things which no one is kicking up a fuss about. It’s just that people always like to think in conspiracy terms when it comes to dealing with these global issues, its all about being ‘hipster’ and sticking it to the powers that be. Its more exciting to think of the world as a Hollywood production stage and that every issue has clearly delineated bad and good guys with an intricate plot to unravel.
Yes Uganda has oil, and the military advisors in Uganda have not been sent there because the U.S. has suddenly seen the light and is determined to make sure justice is carried out. At the end of the day, as the clip itself briefly mentions, the U.S. largely ignored Uganda’s plight because it wasn’t in their foreign policy interests to intervene. In other words, the U.S had nothing to gain from helping Uganda. So what gives? Why the sudden change of heart? The sending of troops and assistance of sorts are tried and tested mechanism the U.S and other foreign countries have used before which help in building diplomatic links with countries. We for example, send you troops to advise your military as a sign of ‘good will’ and we will surely be rewarded with some oil will.
The last thing I want to comment on is something that I truly find disheartening. This issue revolves around the incessant need to compete between different casues. i.e. between massacres as in x, y, z amount of people have died in this conflict and everyone is campaigning about Kony killing x,y, z amount of people. This is the COMPLETE wrong attitude, you may be a Syrian for example but you could just have easily been born a Ugandan. You can’t call yourself a humanitarian if you close your heart off to the rest of humanity. ANY life lost no matter where is a life to many and every injustice deserves to be heard. But in trying to raise awareness of an injustice don’t trample on other people’s pain or belittle their cause to gain some ground. Because at the end of the day it’s NOT a competition.
Don’t let your ethnicity limit your humanism.