Friday, March 9, 2012

Kony 2012

     A couple days ago my brother sent me a video that has now been getting a LOT of attention. It's posted all over facebook, trending on twitter, and is growing more widely known by the minute. The video is Kony 2012 (website), which is also a campaign created by the foundation, Invisible Children. Invisible Children aims to make Joseph Kony famous, not to glorify his actions, but to call him accountable for the torture, pain, and suffering he has caused, promotes, and forces. Invisible children aims to raise support universally to get Kony arrested. Here's the video, in case you have yet to see it.
     Who is Joseph Kony? He's a Ugandan warlord that kidnaps children, brainwashes them, forces them to be sex slaves (if the children are females) and child soldiers for his militia, the LRA. He claims that his actions are motivated by divine powers and his evil has left thousands of families scared, and children very unsafe. He is among the International Criminal Court's most wanted.    
     The campaign is calling for universal support and donations to help the Ugandan military. This is what they said:
     “In order for Kony to be arrested this year, the Ugandan military has to find him.  In order for them to find him, they need the technology and training to find him in the vast jungle. That’s where the American advisors come in.  But in order for the American advisors to be there, the US government has to deploy them.  They’ve done that, but if the government doesn’t believe that the people care about arresting Kony, the mission will be canceled.  In order for people to care, they have to know, and they will only know if Kony’s name is everywhere.”
     Since this campaign and video have gone viral, more and more people have been coming out to criticize it. The records of funds and their distribution is public, and granted, I would prefer everything be put into the victims, a majority of it is put into the founders of Invisible Children, their traveling expenses, paychecks, etc. 
     I understand how important it is to know where exactly your donations are going, these are crucial in terms of being a part of a cause you care for. Parts of me grasped on to this campaign because I am thankful. I am glad that I now know about Kony. I was completely (and admittedly, very blissfully) unaware of the injustice that was happening to children in these terms. I have heard other stories, but the LRA was something that fell naked to my field of vision. 
     People our stating that being aware is a waste of time, we cannot do anything, the Invisible Children are selfish liars, donating is a waste, don't support this, making Kony famous will not change anything, etc. 
     I hear their frustrations and doubts, but for myself, the finances and distribution of money is not my highest concern, in fact...that's not what I feel the importance of this message really is. Not being ignorant is what I find to be the most valuable. Together, as people of the world, we are acknowledging this injustice. We are not falling blind to the truths around us. I'm internationally caring, I'm trying to spread some knowledge about this. What people do with that is out of my hands, but spreading this, making the injustices known; that is one of the most important steps.  
     All too often, when it comes to any cause, others quash it down. Us vegan kids, how many times have we each individually heard that we cannot save all the animals? That people will keep eating meat? Why are we wasting our time? It's exhausting, but do we stop?
     The important thing , the most essential point of motivation and reason behind any cause is to shed ignorance, to further educate, to make things known. Overall awareness, a greater understanding; this is the most important factor in making ANY sort of change. 
     In the end, after education, after acknowledgement, it is up to each person to make the change they are capable of making. Hearing that failure is inevitable is not a worthy means to quit on a project, to throw in the towel. 

I'm bothered by the effort put out there to detach from this campaign and the wrongs that are happening to the Ugandan children and people, the energy expended to quash down a campaign's goal to make other's aware, the redistribution of what is truly wrong in this entire situation. 

The awareness is the most valuable what you want with it. 


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