*76,000,000 people around the world have watched this video.
In seven days, Invisible Children have managed to "Make Kony famous". Fame for a warlord? I guess this constitutes a benchmark in the evolution of media campaigns. These days it’s easy to feel like we have seen it all. The mask of the tyrant has been revealed, on BBC, on YouTube, the newspapers, blogs, everywhere. We saw Saddam being captured, watched Gaddafi being beaten, saw Bin Laden’s corpse. These days, in order to command the attention of the masses the delivery has to be even more sensational and provocative, yet simplified, and I suppose that is what Invisible Children has achieved with their STOP KONY 2012 campaign.
A thirty-minute video could never fully encapsulate 25 years of struggle between the Ugandan government and Joseph Kony’s guerilla group, the Lords Resistance Army (LRA.), and while on an international scale the crisis has been under-reported, the same doesn’t apply in Uganda - We know about Kony.
We won’t wear a bracelet with his name on it.
We don’t want to see his face on posters.
We don’t want our country to be defined once again by another dictator.
The 20 culture makers that the Invisible children have used to saturate Twitter and Facebook feeds with #stopkony and #kony2012 have been incredibly effective. The Oprah’s, Bieber’s and Rihanna’s of popular culture have certainly brought hits and donations to the campaign that aims to make enough money before December 31st 2012.
Inaccuracies and misinformation aside, movie-maker and founder of Invisible Children, Jason Russell made an effective piece of propaganda out of outdated footage, with the added bonus of painting Uganda as a war-torn country of helpless people. Producer Harvey Weinstein co-founder of Miramax has already expressed interest in buying the film. I suppose the ‘Hollywood’ in the film is visible.
We won’t watch that movie.
There have been a lot of articles written since the video’s release, either criticizing or praising the Invisible Children’s message, aim and methodology. Some have criticized the organization’s spending habits, it’s manipulation of facts and its involvement with the Ugandan government. Yet others have hailed their video as a masterpiece, and praised Invisible Children for their charity, awareness achievements, and their efforts to stimulate change.
There has been so much written and it’s been discussed so much, that it’s almost impossible at this stage to have a unique take on Joseph Kony. Nonetheless, here’s something: there is a problem in the world if governments and their citizens don’t want to see a war criminal brought to justice. At the heart of everything good and bad about this campaign, nobody, not even Ugandans should claim there is non-issue here.
While we hear, read and listen to the world’s response over this video, the response I am really waiting for is that of the Government of the Republic of Uganda. Doesn’t anyone wonder why there is such a silence?
I want our President to explain to the world what has been going on in Northern Uganda and how much “help” they need in finding Kony. I want the other African countries affected by the LRA to state their claims and assist in separating fact from fiction. While millions are empathetic to the “Ugandan-crisis” and others skeptical, we are at risk of weakening the economy of a safe and peaceful country that has been building its reputation for decades over misinformation delivered in an oversimplified YouTube viral. When a campaign laden with inaccuracies is praised by the White House, the Ugandan government needs to make its voice heard loud and clear.
We’ve been told this oil will cause problems.
Kony and his 300-odd fighters remain a presence outside of Uganda – a weak one, but still a presence. My hope, however, is that the sudden attention on Uganda makes some real “invisible children” visible: there are 3,000 children dying of the baffling ‘Nodding disease’. This neurological disease causes convulsions, seizures, nodding and complete brain deterioration, and 56 years since it was first documented there is still no cure. Funds committed by the Ugandan government have been insufficient for the enormity of the problem.
If you feel that donating $3 dollars a week to the TRI organization will contribute to making your philanthropic imprint on the world, then go ahead and donate, although there are better causes you can give your money and time to. As I write, the Kony 2012 Action kits advertised in the film have sold out. With all the posters, t-shirts, buttons and the action guide, it seems cities and towns are going to be painted Kony.
The Occupy movement, The Arab Spring, find Bin Laden, find Saddam Hussein, find Gadaffi, now Stop Kony.
I usually vote care. Today I vote understand. You must understand to care, you must learn to understand. As a result of the popularity of the video and the response to the cause Invisible Children plans to increase the number of events to aid their campaign. More effort, higher costs, more donations, more money, more corruption.
I need not defend my country; day by day this becomes less about Uganda and more about hash tags, “likes”, popularity and fame.
Make Kony famous?
"Fame is proof that people are gullible." – Ralph Waldo Emerson
UPDATE: 17th March
The Prime Minister of Uganda, the Right Honourable Amama Mbabazi, has now responded to Kony 2012