So the backlash has started with allegations that the Kony 2012 campaign by Invisible Children is not all it seems.
- Allegation: it is only being promoted because there is a desire for the USA to gain influence in Uganda due to oil and mineral resources. Is that a valid reason to ignore these abuses against children?
- Allegation: Joseph Kony and the LRA no longer operate in Uganda. Is that a valid reason to ignore these abuses against children?
- Allegation: the campaign is designed to divert attention from the growing tensions in the Middle East, particularly the possibility of an assault on Iran. Is that a valid reason to ignore these abuses against children?
- Allegation: the charity uses some of the funds raised for admin and staff salaries, whilst the ratios might vary don’t many other charities etc. do the same? Is that a valid reason to ignore these abuses against children?
- Allegation: there are many others committing similar atrocities against others around the world. Is that a valid reason to ignore these abuses against children?
- Allegation: it’s a great vanity project for people who wish to feel good simply by posting and liking a status on FaceBook or Twitter. Is that a valid reason to ignore these abuses against children?
I’m afraid that I don’t see any of these claims justify stopping the calls for appropriate moves to press for the arrest of Joseph Kony in order that he may be tried by the International Criminal Court. Indeed the chief prosecutor of the ICC, Louis Moreno Ocampo, has voiced his support for the campaign.
For what it’s worth, my opinion regarding the campaign is that it demonstrates the value of using the internet and social media platforms for full and open debate about issues that are uncomfortable for national governments. Taking 30 minutes out of your life to watch a film such as the Kony 2012 one is far more productive and thought provoking than watching any episode of ‘X Factor’, ‘Gypsy Wedding’, ‘Jersey Shore’, ‘Only Way Is Essex’ etc.
The scale and extent of a problem should not be a reason to do nothing. In the late 1980s, Ernesto Zavala, believed that something should be done to help abandoned street boys in Lima. He wasn’t deterred by the numbers involved and instead opted for an appropriate approach where even helping one was better than doing nothing. The Scripture Union in Peru now operate a growing number of homes that provide care, comfort, support and stability many such boys. I’m reminded about the question ‘how do you eat an elephant?’ Quite easily, ‘one bite at a time.’
Rather than seeking to discredit the Kony 2012 campaign, surely it should be used as a model for getting more people to research and debate more important issues. The call for Joseph Kony to be arrested should continue AND similar campaigns should be promoted in a similar way too. Even when politicians seem to be told what some people think via traditional methods, they appear to go their own way in any case. I have no problem whatsoever with encouraging massive numbers of people to air their opinions in order to make politicians feel uncomfortable.
Perhaps what worries some most about campaigns such as Kony 2012 and the ‘Occupy’ groups is that it threatens the cosy, self-serving established political machine that happily protects the rich and makes major decisions about our lives despite only having been elected by relatively small percentages of the population.