Koming to Terms With #KONY2012

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Last updated on February 20th, 2024 at 03:20 am

So this came in the mail for me the other day:

Now, unless you’ve been living under a rock the size of Kilimanjaro for the last month and a half, you’re likely aware that a group called Invisible Children came out with a video speaking out against Joseph Kony that went utterly viral:

I’d meant to post about the #KONY2012 issue before and how good it was that someone was finally bringing Kony’s decades of action to light, inspiring people to finally do something about it—but things are never quite that black and white, are they?

Amidst questioning about how Invisible Children chooses to use their funds and whether they’re actually effective at making a positive change in Uganda; amidst the concerns of some Ugandans that Invisible Children is approaching the problem completely wrong with the #KONY2012 approach (which my friend Miranda has written a little more about here; or, even more disturbingly, amidst the concerns that such a movement isn’t even needed at the moment due to the peace that Uganda is currently experiencing with Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army, achieved without any outsider intervention, and that actions taken by outside parties might only provoke a reaction when none was there before… I’ll admit, I’m a little conflicted.

But I still agree with the intent of #KONY2012—that Kony’s LRA actions should not be tolerated and something should be done to prevent the events of the past few decades from occurring ever again. It’s possible that I’ve chosen one evil to combat another, but I’d still like to believe that the right efforts of enough people can make a difference somehow.

With that said, this Friday is #KONY2012’s Cover the Night, where they plan to blanket cities across the world with materials found in these very boxes, such as posters, bumper stickers, pins and such.

From an outreach and marketing standpoint, the approach is genius, reeling in compassionate people and translating that compassion into the people power necessary to pull off something of this scale.

But does that make it right?

Who’s going to clean all of the stuff up afterward?

Will people actually get the message? I showed the materials to Sarah, and she thought that the message got confused since people generally associate election campaigns with people trying to represent positive things—will spreading Kony’s name everywhere have that effect if it’s done the way that Invisible Children says it should be done?

Is it even worth it? After I got back from Africa, I was hearing news about meltdowns, public masturbation, and the factual fuzziness behind #KONY2012 itself—all things that don’t give the idea of the strongest leadership available—are these the people we want representing us and squaring off against someone who’s unwaveringly held power for nearly 30 years?

Originally, I planned to go out and take photos of the crowd as they get ready to paint the town red (almost literally in this case)—but if there’s a way to change the world, I don’t know if this may have been the best way to spend $30 to do so.

The second logo for Casey Palmer, Canadian Dad


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