KONY 2012 is, whether you agree with little else about it, a glorious example of social media in action. This is not just a tumblr meme, this is a far reaching viral campaign that one would have to be completely out of touch with (internet) reality to have missed.
This rant is not about IC. You can easily research the organisation and make up your own mind about them.
This rant is brought to you by the letter O. O for Outrage. Because ultimately that is what this video has caused on a number of levels. It is an Outrage of three parts. Let’s start with my personal outrage.
An outrage caused by the arguably largest focus of the video being on a cute, white child. A video that was supposed to be part call to arms, part informational about the LRA, had very few Ugandan voices in it. It was a perfectly orchestrated piece of footage, from the previously mentioned cute, white boy to the rising symphony of emotive music in the background. Music that became threatening when the ‘bad guy’ Kony was shown on screen.
Media lesson 101 for you all; every part of any show, documentary, film is there for a reason. Personally, I don’t appreciate being emotionally manipulated. Whether that be to feel pride for the solidarity displayed in the video or despair at the horrific situation many are living with in Uganda. But I understand that this is a spectacular piece of viral campaign, one that seems to be aimed specifically at the younger generation, and this is what seems to bring out the outrage in the viewing public.
An emotive response.
This leads on the second Outrage; the viewing public’s combined shock and disgust at the idea of a man such as Kony, still existing. The viewing publics’ sudden understanding that such a man needs to be stopped. The viewing publics’ new found passion to do anything within their means in order to stop said man of carrying out such atrocities, as were briefly touched upon in the video.
I will say it again, bravo IC for creating a campaign that has brought an issue that apparently most people were completely unaware of, to the forefront. Let’s ignore the pretty wrist bands you can buy to show your solidarity. Or the lack of any real information about the situation in Uganda, (that is the third Outrage point) but well done for harnessing the interest and attention of the majority of my facebook contacts and tumblr dash.
But this, herein, is where the biggest problem lies. Because it is not out of sheer outrage that Kony will be stopped. It is not out of a brilliantly produced viral campaign that the difference will be made. I’m not even sure it is out of a guerilla marketing ‘night’ scheduled for April.
It is in the systematic, long term changes that need to be made within the country.
The third Outrage is for the people that have been campaigning and fighting against this man/regime for years. It is for the 100 troops Obama sent into Uganda to help with efforts against the LRA in 2009. It is for the subsequent retaliatory mass murder that took place. It is for the Northern Ugandan’s who, actually, are experiencing their longest season of peace since this began in 1986. It is for the complex governmental issues that must be addressed for any systematic change to take place. It is for the support that Southern Sudan gives to the government and LRA, that wasn’t even mentioned. It is for the too easily defined ‘bad guy’ and ‘victim’ image the video perpetuates. It is for the complete lack of suggestion for what you do with a country filled with said ‘bad guys’ and ‘victims’ if and when you happen to kill ‘The Worst’.
What I am trying to say, is this is a complex issue. This is a situation that I’m not sure benefits from making one man a literal poster boy.
Do not misunderstand me here. Kony is a despicable human being and I believe everything and anything should be done to stop him.
But that is simply not as easy as ‘making him famous’ and sending in some troops to
kill stop him.
But perhaps, when all this is said and done, my biggest concern is that this will simply be another internet fad. It will come and go as Angelina’s right leg has, bracelets will get lost under the pile of other merchandise they purchase this year and this time next year people will have done nothing to educate their selves about the Ugandan situation.
Or the Syrian.
Or the Republic of Congo.
Or the countless other human rights atrocities that occur around the world, in front of our technology loving faces.
Links you should read:
Protect civilians from LRA.
Amnesty Internationals Uganda Work.
Taking KONY 2012 down a notch.
Stop Kony but don’t stop asking questions.
Sign the pledge to help bring Kony to justice.