Kony 2012?

Caroline Kaplan Staff Writer “These next 27 minutes are a experiment, but for this experiment to work you’ll have to pay attention,” Jason Russell, the leader of Invisible Children, patiently explains. His slow, almost condescending voiceovers are the only aesthetically weak point in his KONY 2012 video. Sweeping views of the earth, cool panoramic and technology dazzle while astounding images of sadness, poverty, and violence intend to – and successfully do – shock the viewers. One especially chilling moment features an African boy, Jacob, half pleading with the white men that have come to visit to kill him. He says it would be better to be dead than on this earth, because he has no future. He proceeds to sob as Mr. Russell comforts him, and the audience sitting behind millions of computer screens around the world finds tears streaming down their faces as well. The gorgeous video seemed to spark a huge movement. It was reposted, tweeted about, blogged about by what felt like everyone. It was the only thing on my Facebook newsfeed for two days, but as one anonymous student put it, “It was here one day and gone the next. Nobody seems to care anymore really. Except there’s that event, right?” The Kony 2012 video revolutionized social activism, and even after the “MAKE KONY FAMOUS” statuses were replaced by muploads of the cupcakes you and your grandma just baked or the Hawaiian themed party you just attended, the movement still remains for many. Senior Nick Lehmann started a Facebook event for “Cover the Night Chicago,” a march to promote awareness and the eventual capture of Kony, which currently has close to four thousand people saying they will attend. Nick makes a point of saying that, “Invisible Children doesn’t have to be the main thing to come from Kony 2012. You’re allowed to support a movement and not the people who began it.” And that is a hard point to argue. No one would ever dispute that putting an end to a war criminal that captures children and has killed thousands is a good thing. But many dispute the manner in which it is done in. The video calls for military action, which would not only be ineffective because Kony has left Uganda, but it would also cause so much unneeded violence in an already war-torn central Africa. The video’s first minutes are spent on Russell’s personal life, featuring the birth of his own son, and his cozy life. Russell preys (pretty successfully I must add) on his educated viewers’ guilt over their own affluence, and race. If anyone is guilty, it should be Mr. Russell. His NGO, Invisible Children, has recently come under attack for their questionable financial practices. The money they raise doesn’t go to actually taking action against the Lords’ resistance Army, or their leader Joseph Kony. Instead it goes to paying for their flashy videos. The organization’s goal isn’t to make a difference, but rather, it’s to ask other people to make a difference for them. And they ask in an extremely expensive way. They make a huge point in their video to describe what they are doing. They have built schools and an early warning radio network to protect small villages – all from the people that have given money. The ways they have been most productive haven’t had anything to do with stopping Kony – their success has been in creating more opportunities for education. Despite all of the Invisible Children critics and the obvious holes in the logic of the Kony 2012 movement, the video is perhaps one of the most inspiring and exciting things that has gone on for our generation. It’s given us hope. Its images of attractive, diverse, young people joining together to fight for each others rights, to march, to give money and to spread knowledge. Kony being hunted down is almost beside the point. Just as our parents panic about the state of the world today, their children, us, are showing them that we can change things. We may not have a viable plan yet but the effectiveness of this movement has shown just how important we can be.]]>