By now you’ve probably seen the new Kony 2012 video from the Invisible Children organization (already headed towards at the 4 million mark within two days of being posted – the original movie came out in 2006) or if not seen #Kony2012 trending, along with #Uganda and #LRA, and wondered what in heck happened?
If not, brace yourselves, because this is one bumpy ride.
In a year that folk in the US should be concentrating on the polls, their economy, the rights of women (cue Sandra Fluke to center stage) and any manner of issues that can consume a society, they are now being asked to support a crazy activist campaign. Crazy in that once again Africans are being made to look like they need saving by yet another White person with a saviour-narcissist complex. And complex it truly is, as you will read in various of the posts that I will link to. It is too complex an issue for only the Invisible Children organization to be visible in its treatment, but it also owes the critical mass of attention it’s currently receiving to that organization.
Simply put: the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) is a rebel group led by one Joseph Kony, who for over 25 years abducted boys in northern Uganda to become his soldiers, and girls to be sex slaves. At this point, you must know Kony is one hideous, hideous man. No question. And anybody would want to stop him. Yet the timing of this IC campaign is suspicious – why on earth does the IC lead saviour campaigner, former child soldier Jacob’s best friend in the whole world, not explain that Kony is no longer involved in Uganda, and that no one knows where he is? Why is the IC funding the Ugandan military, and how are we even going to sit here through the days of AFRICOM and pretend like the US government and its army are simply ‘advisers’? Why does this campaign look like only Americans can save Ugandans/Africans, when meanwhile Ugandans have been saving and helping themselves for many years? Completely nuts.
Crazy in that this hipster almost all-white movement’s axis point, the video that went viral in a day, comes at a crucial time in American politics. A time when the questions asked by some are why neo-colonialist assumptions about the rightness of aid and awareness are no longer finding easy answers. And as Africans we are asking ourselves why now? Before any of you get excited, or don’t, for whatever reason, there are some very real points to take into consideration. From a Ugandan’s perspective like Musa Okwonga’s (he has family ties to the region in question) to Solome Lemma’s take on this campaign, there are some very strong points to be made about why supporting the Kony2012 campaign is the wrong idea.
Like I said it’s all too complex, and I have my own opinions on the various branches of the story. But suffice to say that the crazy campaign that is Kony2012 is a reflection of white America’s ongoing internal battle: it wants to be seen as ‘the good guy’ always. The white saviour mentality is strong in this IC guy, and even his film exposes this. But that’s just my opinion, I really would like yours.
Let us know what you think.