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konyu
March 19, 2012 | by  | in Features |
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KONY 2012

All your Friends are doing it!

You haven’t heard about Kony yet!?”, a bewildered Pol-Sci, first year asks in a patronizing sing song voice that made me shiver. She needn’t have been worried though, for a quick return to my Facebook Newsfeed would soon inform me I was minutes behind the latest trend: Kony 2012! For those of you who have somehow missed out on this entire saga, Kony 2012 is a viral campaign aiming to raise awareness about a guerilla warlord in Central Africa named Joseph Kony, who has been responsible for a wide range of atrocities, and to encourage the American Government to keep some troops in Uganda in the hope that they’ll get ‘im!

Admittedly there is something beautiful about Kony 2012. It’s among the first campaigns to effectively use social media to help shape public opinion. However, I believe that Kony 2012 is a bandwagon and that there are other ‘issues’ out there more worthy of our attention. I will start by saying I do honestly feel that Joseph Kony is a criminal who should be brought to justice for his heinous crimes. However the Kony 2012 campaign has attempted to paint him as the pinnacle of evil: “the Bad Guy” (or so that cute kid told us). In doing so, the video fails to mention the conflicts that Uganda went through as a result of Western colonisation, and the fact that his religious ideology in itself spawns from Christianity. WHAT!? You may ask, “surely he’s a Muslim like bin Laden, Hussein, and Obama”. Furthermore, the video mentions nothing of the crimes committed by the regime which the American troops have been sent to help. Yoweri Museveni has been in power in Uganda since 1986 and, in that time, his regime has started the Congo-Ugandan war (which resulted in 3.5 million deaths), attempted to make homosexuality punishable by death and banned all forms of protest (a tad ironic really!).

Already it’s clear that this Kony shit ain’t as simple as the watch and share video made out. So who made it and what are their intentions?

Invisible Children produced the Kony 2012 campaign; a not-for-profit organisation based in the US of A. Of their eight million dollars spent last year $2.7 million went to US Employees and Travel costs, 3 per cent went to the original four founders while a mere 31 per cent found its way to countries in need of aid. Surely the mass income which Invisible Children has now generated would be much better spent on front-line aid, delivered through the UN or Doctors Without Borders, rather than postering some guys name across Western cities. More people die everyday of malnutrition than Kony has ever been responsible for. They deserve our money, not Invisible-Children-Inc.

Although fearful to begin with, I’m now comfortable disagreeing with the Kony 2012 campaign. It seems to be a single- issue waste of time. Perhaps that’s why it’s been so popularised; unlike broad problems like ‘Poverty’, victory is in sight. The day Kony gets his Just Desserts (from the barrel of an American M16) we will see people in Times Square, Tahir Square and Civic Square celebrating how they did their bit and changed the world. But did they really? Seeing this sort of mass action and discussion is truly beautiful. But I don’t think it should be about Kony2012. Maybe tomorrow my News Feed will be covered in new causes, new ways for people to help solve world issues. 2I’ll hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

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