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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

21 Comments

 

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  2. March 16, 2012  6:39 am by affairage

    I understand that there are those among us who want to help. It's a genuine feeling, maybe even need. That of being human. Still, this humanism may be subverted. When it is made clear that the Kony guy has not been in Uganda for years now, it is legitimate to ask oneself the following question about this media campaign: Why now?
    Now we may want to know how do the Ugandans, or at least some Ugandans, fell about this media campaign. This article may give us an idea: http://thechronicleherald.ca/world/74202-criticism-mounts-uganda-over-kony-video .
    I will add that we have to be careful and use our critical mind these days when it comes to info being served over the net and other more traditional media. Let's not be directed in whatever direction pleases those who have the cash to put up those campaigns.

  3. March 12, 2012  8:59 pm by Jennifer Lentfer

    Thanks for linking to my post on how-matters.org. Solome Lemma & I hosted a live chat today to reflect more the issues that came up from our posts on #StopKony. Read more at: http://www.how-matters.org/2012/03/12/searching-for-closure-a-kony2012-postscript/

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  7. March 8, 2012  11:49 pm by Zach

    I'm just a guy who has a brother that I love dearly and couldn't take the sight of seeing a fellow human mourn the loss of his brother. My brother is my world to me. That's universal. not black or white.

  8. March 8, 2012  9:46 pm by Rebecca

    As an American, I can say that I don't think America just wants to be seen as "the good guy." I do think there are those who try to step in to help for political popularity, but I don't think this is on the agenda of all Americans. I truly believe that MANY Americans donate to causes like this one for two reasons: 1) We have so much over here and we truly want to help, and 2) We don't know any other way to help, but to donate to causes that seek it.

    I know that when I visited Africa last year, Malawi to be exact, I feel as though my heart changed. Obviously, it made me more appreciative for what I have. Beyond that, however, it connected me to people who were so grateful for what little they do have, that I feel as though they helped me more than I could ever dream of helping them. I don't look at myself as a 'good guy' toward Malawi, or any other part of Africa, for that matter. But, I left my heart behind there and I want to do more. I want to help, be it physically, financially, whatever I can. Why? Because I'm blessed with help, I'm blessed with material possessions. So, why not put all of that to good use to bless others in Africa. Perhaps, that is how many Americans feel too, and despite some notable grievances agains Invisible Children, perhaps that is how that organization feels.

    To the commenter above who said we should clean up our mess in our backyards, that is a difficult task to accomplish. Truthfully, I will agree that there are not enough government programs stateside set up to help our own people. I feel as though if there were, maybe more people would help. Regardless, until our country lets go of our desire to 'save money on our taxes,' and realize that it's more important to help our citizens, we will always be in this mess.

  9. March 8, 2012  7:19 pm by Pamela

    "...it wants to be seen as ‘the good guy’ always." How very cynical you are. Could it not be that we are compassionate peoples wanting to help someone in need? No, of course not. Scoff. If I had it, I'd give them $10 simply because that video was better than the crap I paid $10 to watch at the movie theatre last time I went.

  10. March 8, 2012  12:23 pm by Mr. Williams

    How 'bout we save those Invisible Children in Detroit, South Central LA, Youngstown Ohio, Brooklyn and Atlanta?? How 'bout we clean up our OWN back yard before we go into Uganda (and not SYRIA? Where people are being slain as we read this piece) There are senseless murders, political oppression and tyrants in the good ole US of A - free the people of THIS country and the rest of the world can come next

  11. March 8, 2012  9:04 am by Herrin

    But if we send money we'll feel better about ourselves and go on without having to actually be engaged with the situation!!

  12. March 8, 2012  3:01 am by affairage

    "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’?"
    That is the question Luso.
    We saw how these people africom (africon?), and NATO "save" africans and turn a blind eye where their interests are not under threat (yemen, middle-east but not that far from africa anyways).
    I am a skeptical by principle when it comes to those new media prophets/saviors.

  13. March 8, 2012  12:24 am by Maria

    Ari, Africa must find its own solutions to its problems.Otherwise, it will not be sustainable. The movement does not talk about local institutions who have been fighting for years. The implication is that Africa is helpless, and this is simply not true.

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  16. March 7, 2012  8:47 pm by eccentricyoruba

    Here is some support for you Luso, I agree with every single thing you've written here. Every point you've raised. It is such a pity that people, even Africans who should know better, have lost the ability to think critically and to evaluate information that has been placed before them. Here we have people throwing themselves behind an organisation only after watching a 30 minute sensationalist video without bothering to find out more about the IC, or the LRA, or the situation in Uganda and parts of Central Africa. Most of these people rallying behind Kony 2012 have probably never heard of AFRICOM, they also probably don't know that the US did actually send troops into Uganda last year. Rather they want to jump in and be part of something, while ignoring that the 'something' they want to be part of may bring more harm than good. It's all about feeling good about yourselves, patting yourselves on the part for 'doing good' without questioning just how much good you've done.

    I say if you want to stop Kony and support Ugandans, at the very least, know your basic facts. Kony is not in Uganda so why support an organisation that wants to send an army there? Seriously everyone needs to do more research and most importantly think. Bandwagoning is never pretty.

    Also there is NOTHING negative about this article. There is NOTHING wrong in critiquing movements and asking questions. Well done Luso!

  17. March 7, 2012  4:47 pm by Gautam

    I don't yet know what to make of everything I'm reading here. I'm going to check out the things you linked to though. I was one of the people who shared the video without much of a second thought yesterday, and I want to read everything through before I jump to conclusions about one side or the other. But I wanted to say I'm sorry that you're receiving such spiteful comments. It's not easy conversing with someone who has already made up their mind about you...

  18. March 7, 2012  3:09 pm by SZ

    Ari - as an African, born and raised and currently living in Canada, TRUST ME when I saw that Africa and Africans do not need saving! We need the meddling to stop and the thieves and pariahs that constantly come to Africa to reap and rape our continent, that's what needs to stop. We don't need the meddlers to exploit us. And this whole campaign is exploitation! Please do not speak on behalf of Africans. Where the LRA operates from happens to be a rich oil area, so let's begin what the motives of the rest of the world are.

  19. March 7, 2012  2:43 pm by Anonymous

    Stupidest article ever, written by a self-important pedantic prick. Unless you are a child in Kony's army, your words are worthless- regardless of whether or not you are African or African American. Way to shit on someone who is trying to bring a monster to justice. The world needs less people like you and more like the guy who made that Kony video, PERIOD.

  20. March 7, 2012  1:41 pm by Cam

    I have to agree with Ari. You say there are so many complex things about the issue at hand, yet you act like you know them all. This guy could be genuinely trying to make a difference and you're bashing his cause. When was the last time you tried to stop an army and evil leader? I'm guessing never. So before bashing this guy, take into consideration the ultimate goal... To make the world a better place.

  21. March 7, 2012  12:58 pm by Ari

    Wow! What a negative article! I've seen this video all over Facebook, and it's interesting, it has gained so much attention it's crazy. I think you should be grateful that America wants to help. Africa needs help, if not things like this would no be happening. When reading this I almost wanted to say Kony himself must of wrote this. Really. And the questions you asked are pointless and try to invoke fear into the reader. I think that is really low of you. The government and maybe even the maker of the film, know much more than you and I do. Just like no one supposedly knew where Bin Laden was, we still found him and brought him justice, didn't we? Same thing could happen with Kony... have some faith and don't be so cynical!

    Why do you hate America so much? Lick your slavery wounds and march forward, let's march forward hand and hand because together we can make it. Uganda, and all of Africa can't make it by themselves, if they could we wouldn't need a film like that one. Lean on your sister and brothers in America and you will be surprised how 294930840384093 (a lot ) people can make a difference together.

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