Kony 2012: The Ugly Side to Positive Action
By Ellis Dicataldo
Some days ago the internet blew up with one word; a name which permeated blogs, trended on Twitter and was repeatedly updated on Facebook. Overnight the world had, together, become a little wiser about one man. The campaign “Kony 2012” was well underway, and in as little as six days the thirty minute film had had more than 100 million views and is the most viral video in history. For context, a little background on Kony and Invisible Children below:
Joseph Kony is the head of the LRA, Lord’s Resistance Army, which is a Ugandan guerrilla group who abduct children from their families and homes and force them to become soldiers and sex-slaves. Since 1986, two million people and an additional 66,000 children have been ordered to join Kony’s army. He is on the Forbes World’s Ten Most Wanted list and is the International Criminal Court’s number one fugitive.
Invisible Children is a not-for-profit organization founded in 2004, by Jason Russell, which aims to bring about global awareness of the LRA and Kony. They use social media, film and creative action to try and bring Kony’s reign to an end and “restore peace and prosperity to LRA-affected communities in Central Africa”.
Great, good; awesome. So what’s the problem here? Because at it’s most simplest, we have a graduate of film school using his creativity to bring the world up to speed with a disgusting warlord. We have an organization of people who are dedicated to fighting a cause. And we have a generation of newly inspired people ready to make a difference. Yet that’s a f*cking travesty apparently, and no sooner than the video started racking up hits, did protestors at it’s existence crop up and start to preach their bullshit oppositions.
Filmmaker Russell, and the entire Invisible Children organization have been accused of shady dealings with their money and have had their intentions heavily questions. But quite simply, these guys have brought to the attention of the world this terrorist and the Western journalists, bloggers and critics who are intent on dragging up every receipt of Jason Russell’s in the past twenty years, need to get a grip.
Let the conspiracy theories go for one second and focus on the bigger picture that’s growing even more, every minute, with every new Youtube hit. The intention of this film was to raise awareness in order for the head of larger military powers, the ones who actually have the power to find Kony, to take notice and enforce action. Under Obama’s orders 100 US troops have been deployed in Uganda in the search for the warlord. Something is working here.
It’s really gross to see the negativity and backlash against this film. Our culture is dominated by glossy productions, skyscraper-tall advertisements and by the ominous figure of the media who yell at us every five seconds with new information on what we should or shouldn’t be doing. And so really, and to some extent – unfortunately, the only way to grab our attention is with a slick, well-produced film; evocative and powerful.
Kony 2012 is this, but it’s not informing us of which toothpaste to buy or which car we need to be driving; it’s shouting a message loud and clear, a message of substance and genuine intentions. And to be honest, it felt great to watch; great to see how many people it had inspired into action. It’s a fantastic use of social media and those who rubbish it and it’s creators? Well that’s a real shame. If you’re not into it, then that’s what’s so great about social media, it can be out of your sight with the simple click of an ‘off’ button; but to actively go out of your way to rubbish and critique those who are trying, with whatever resources they have, to help? That’s just really uncool; but fortunately positivity prevails and the awareness of Kony 2012 is still, day by day growing.
Written by Ellis Dicataldo. You can reach the writer at firstname.lastname@example.org