Yesterday on Instagram I saw a few of these Kony 2012 images:
I was like, WTF is Kony 2012? Some sort of USA election bullshit? So I ignored the pictures (easy to say, hard to do as by evening's end there were quite a few) and went about my day. Today I decide to check out whats going down in news town and lo and behold, the headlining article is What is Kony 2012. Curiosity piqued, I check it out. I find this video, which I watch:
KONY 2012 from INVISIBLE CHILDREN on Vimeo.
I read the article, and then I read some of the 'opinion' pieces, and then I read some of the comments. It turns out that Australians, on the whole, are a lovely bunch- horrified that this violence has been going on for twenty years, wondering why we ever have had space at the end of our news broadcasts to show a feel good story about a talking dog but not enough time to touch on this very real issue, eager to help out even if it is just by throwing a bit of lose change at the problem, or by educating ourselves, or by hugging our kids and teaching them the world is a bad place when good people do nothing against the bad work of a few. The people want this man and the LRA disarmed and, knowing that Kony has effectively shut the door on peace talks, the people are pleased to hear of Obama's promise to provide "enhanced logistical, operational and intelligence assistance in support of regional and multilateral partners"- a move which many hope will assist the local governments in resolving the situation without the need for further international military intervention. Additionally the people are now aware of the strife that Uganda has previously suffered, and are also becoming aware of more current issues affecting the area- and with knowledge comes the ability to act.
And then there are some royal c-bombs. Yes, thats right. Arrogant assholes who think that the geographical location of their parents fucking is more than a happy accident. People who think that, and I quote,
"Let the continent of Africa have all the weapons it wants and then sit back and watch them implode. Either that or step in with the force of arms and just take over these failed nations once and for all and subjugate the people of these lands. They clearly lack the ability of self governance. Lets call a spade a spade, these nations are only one step away from barbarity and culturally they are not moving forward one bit from their spear carrying, mud hut tribal lifes. Let them sort out their own problems."Let me get one thing clear. You are privileged to live in this country. When you go to sleep, you dream of winning the lotto and having sex with famous people. In other countries, when you sleep, you are kidnapped, and forced to murder your parents and watch as your baby sister is raped and sold into sexual slavery. You do not deserve to live in such luxury any more than another person deserves to live with a mutilated face, or the memory of seeing their brothers throat slit.
"Oh but the immigrants and refugees come to our country and steal our jobs". What jobs? The toilet cleaning? The washing of bedlinen for the hospital? Backbreaking yard work? Taxi driving? Those jobs you are too good to accept, the ones you raised your children to be above taking? I know for a fact that when I was unemployed it was for two reasons: I was to precocious to obey orders and so was unable to maintain employment, and I wanted to be an interior designer and so was only applying for those jobs. And my government just kept giving me money! I bought alcohol and shoes with it! What luxury! Have you considered how it sometimes works in reverse too? First world nations profiting off wars in foreign lands over oil- and then profiting again as they contract first world businesses to rebuild the areas they have destroyed? And then those people, those innocent people who never asked to be taken for a ride, get wrapped up in the corruption too? And yet, here you sit, your fat gut overhanging your jeans, porno open in one screen and the news open in another, declaring that we should let this happen- indeed that they deserve it? An entire nation of people who, by unhappy accident, were born into an oppressive and corrupt political environment, a system which is in need of effective external and internal intervention but rarely gets it- these strangers deserve to live so thin while you clearly deserve so fat?
Here is another thing. Tory Shepard, a supposed opinion maker, has declared the whole thing as bullshit.
"Doesn’t it feel good, battling evil African terrorists with your Facebook, your Twitter, maybe even your credit card? The Kony story is such a good yarn. It has the perfect villain, who eats small children for breakfast. Then with all the trappings of modern-day warfare – that is, a viral video and social media campaign – we can all be keyboard heroes marching to save the poor kids."
Fuck you, you miserable troll. You are the Old Guard. You might have tried positive action, once, a long time ago, by yourself. It didn't work, so now you're cynical. You tore the flowers from your hair and decided that positive action is for idealistic fools. You think that because you get paid to subject us to your opinion that you are right to ridicule us for our action. You think that bringing attention to one plight, in a nation of plights, will have no impact? You have missed the point. For all your ability to publish to web you have very little internet savvy.
Here is the point, spelled out for you: in this modern world, we are not alone. The internet connects us: We, legion, are the New Guard. What started as a single click, becomes six, and then eighty, and then two thousand - exponentially growing as the sun rises in a new city, and the kind folk of some other place rub the sleep from eyes while logging in to see whats going on in the world. These clicks combine into a veritable deluge of public opinion directed at the US and African governments, and our own political leaders. Millions of people, around the globe, uniting in the belief that this man should be brought to trial.
Suddenly the suits are aware that eleven million people worldwide want them to use their influence in bringing this man to justice, and election time is looming so perhaps they better quit making excuses and get to making some phone calls.
On one hand you imply the Invisible Children organisation is corrupt, and then on the other smugly say that you are not an expert, so you called one in. And together you and the 'expert' point out that bureaucracy is the only real solution to these problems. Social Networking won't effect real change because it never has before- conveniently forgetting about the role social networking has played in the London Riots and the Occupy movements, both of which have been remarkably effective at terrifying the powers that be- enough to put forward solutions such as SOPA. What will effect real change, you declare from your positions of authority, is observing the 'rules'.
The 'rules' being that you get dressed all smart and beige, and travel into the nearest capital city to visit the politicians because surely they will help. You ask at the security desk for someone to help you. You wait as the security officer scratches his head, and makes some phone calls, and then you wait some more until some low level Executive Assistant comes wandering down to direct you to where the Blue Form Twelve B is located, upon which you can, in your best handwriting and in triplicate, tell your Local Member to tell their Boss Premier to tell their Big Boss Foreign Affairs Minister that you are a little bit narky about the situation in Uganda and if they have a minute could they sort it all out? And then the Executive Assistant will go back to her desk, where she will shred two copies of your Form Twelve B while using the third to absorb the condensation from a cold an of Diet Coke. She will then, eventually, transcribe the soggy manuscript into the correspondence system so that a standard template response can be filled in (with your name and address misspelled on account of the running ink) which says ' Nice to see you playing this game we call politics, thanks for being a good sport. Your idealism has provided numerous levels of public servants with humorous subject matter with which to banter about over the coffee urn. I thank you for your time, but I am busy doing more important things such as having lunch and meeting with influential people and corporate
Ms Shepherd, and Dr Lyons, respectfully, you can shove your bureaucracy back up your asses. For twenty years your bureaucracy has known about this man and his evil deeds. And in that time your bureaucracy has shuffled paper back and forwards in a triumphant display of a different sort of evil. Kony isn't even in Uganda anymore, and so some of the premise of the Kony 2012 campaign is a little out of date- but the man still needs to be brought before an international war tribunal. Uganda isn't even allowed to go into Sudan or the Congo to fight the retreating LRA rebels, and many African nations are so corrupt and reliant on external aid that they cannot focus their efforts on finding this man and bringing him to trial.
I'm sorry for you that as a younger person your idealistic view of the world was tarnished. I really am- in the same way that I am sorry that there exists, somewhere on this planet, a little girl with tears streaming down her face in agony and indignity begging a bad man to get off her while another bad man stands by profiting of her pain; a little boy with a gun to his head being forced to kill his daddy; a young man, remembering that as a child with a knife he was forced to find out how easy the flesh of another submits to the blade; and a very evil man man with religious delusions getting rich off illegal arms and people trafficking while elsewhere good people look away or write opinion pieces about how the world is always burning and there ain't enough water to put out the flames.
It might be just a click, and a typing in of my email address. A simple, lazy, throwaway gesture. I might post about my good deed on Facebook. Six of my friends might see it and follow suit. And then eighty of their friends, and then two thousand. The clicks combine, sounding like rain on a tin roof. Its a lot like rain in fact: One drop ain't much, but a deluge can stop an entire planet from burning.
Let it rain,
This morning I read this article on The Conversation which has strengthened my resolve on this issue.
"Ironically, those criticising the Kony 2012 campaign, or the organisation behind it (Invisible Children), are falling victim to the very thing they accuse those who have linked to the video of doing: forwarding something without assessing its content or debating the quality of the evidence...
The key anti-Invisible Children messages are that the not-for-profit organisation is financially suspect, that it supports the Ugandan or Sudanese governments who are accused of some of the same horrors perpetrated by the Lord’s Resistance Army, that it calls for military intervention, and that Joseph Kony no longer threatens the people of these countries (or the threat posed by the LRA is greatly diminished)...
Is it proof that Invisible Children are in cahoots with these governments? Certainly, as an international not-for-profit organisation, it has to work within the confines of the system set by the state (and its security apparatus)... The documentary calls for Kony to be hauled in front of the War Crimes Tribunal, and includes as part of its case interviews with UN prosecutors. Calling for the prosecution of one of the UN’s most wanted men on charges of crimes against humanity is not supporting military intervention – but then again, do we want to get bogged down into a conversation about semantics?...
That Invisible Children exaggerates the scale of the problem in Uganda and neighbouring countries is a valid criticism that should be looked into further. But attacking the campaign for being too late misses the point, which is that Kony is still on the run.
Is it conceivable to attack the UN war crimes tribunal in Cambodia on the basis that it’s a couple of decades too late, and that the Khmer Rouge no longer represents the threat it once did to Cambodia?"