KONY 2012

There are new ways to wage wars.

The Arab Spring has shown us that social media can be used for a power greater than gossip or banality.

The link below will take you to a powerful piece of production. Production value sometimes makes us trust the message less. “How is it so slick,” we ask, “if it’s so dire?”

But if you can suspend that for 30 minutes, if you can give that time, you will understand so much more.





You will learn who Joseph Kony is and what he is doing. You will wonder how it’s even possible.



If you think it does not merit involvement, your sentiment will not be without precedent.



You cannot un-know.


Make Joseph Kony famous.



5 thoughts on “KONY 2012

  1. Damn you! You keep making me think and then I have to write. I took the time to watch the entire video, which is unusual. That reflects the respect I have for what you post. And, as you said, the slickness of the video makes it hard to be open minded. But it’s not just the slickness … it’s the sometimes naive idealism and the tendency to globalize truisms about the Joseph Kony atrocities to the world as a whole. But before I get philosophical, let me say that one cannot know the details of what’s happening in Uganda without being horrified or wanting to know what one can do to help. Deluging our leaders with demands that “the mission” continue makes sense, as does whatever social media promotion one can do. Contributing money to paper over the world with posters, signs and banners on April 20, not so much. Having been the naive idealist in the sixties, I know that such protests often turn people against the cause. So, I will participate … in some ways.

    Perhaps it’s sixty-seven year old cynicism, but the notion that a bottoms-up, social media driven pyramid will change the world for the better is questionable. For one, our history has shown that evil can be promoted just as easily as good and our species has difficulty distinguishing between the two. I think the jury is out on the so-called Arab Spring. It is unfortunate that as a people. we have such a short attention span for horror. After all, the child armies of Africa were part of a very popular film, Blood Diamonds … and there was no outcry. If one takes the time to examine the horrors in the world, there are thousands. A good friend of mine is involved in a photography project to expose use of little girls of the Untouchable class as prostitutes in India … by the clergy. Yes, I contributed to that cause, too. In drawing our attention so dramatically to one cause, do we predispose ignoring another? Do we have to choose the one with the slickest campaign? Rhetorical questions of an older man, I suppose.

    I was an anti-war protester a long time ago. That was then, this is now. I have a problem with the End War mentality of the video and the peace sign, followed by cheering when the U.S. sends in troops to help the Ugandan military hunt down Kony (which is indeed a good thing, but it’s not peace). You can’t have it both ways, demand No War when you don’t like the cause then soldiers when you do. The world is a nastier place than I thought it was at 25. I have a problem supporting an organization that says we only act in our national interests. I know it adds drama but I have a problem with the continual juxtaposition of Kony’s atrocities with the death of 3 million at the hands of Hitler. I did take exception to your use of a picture of children sleeping en masse in a room (however horrible the reason) with a photo of holocaust corpses.

    Thanks, by the way, for a thought provoking post. I will indeed try to help.

    • First of all, thank you for respecting my writing and taking that time.

      I think you’re right about the idealism and globalization, and I’ll go you one further: I think using his little boy was a clear ploy, and one that rankled me a bit. But frankly, those are the kinds of things that sometimes work, that get people’s attention, and I credit Russell and the organization for knowing how to make that work.

      My great point in posting the video and writing the post was simply to increase awareness – not to demand or even urge people to contribute to that particular organization. That said, I think sitting in comfort and saying, “What a shame, such a horrible thing” and doing nothing is completely ineffective, so awareness should – as you imply for yourself – spur an action of some kind.

      I also agree with you about how evil can be spread as easily as good, and that the distinctions are sometimes difficult to make. (I’ve been thinking about a post on this – vis-a-vis politics – in the near future.) The fact that we are, by and large, only briefly attentive to horror seems, to me, an indication that we care only about that which affects us directly. Blood Diamonds did accomplish one thing – it changed the way people buy jewelry. It’s a selfish assimilation to a much more horrific crime, but it was the direct association that caused the “trickle down” effect in the larger crime.

      Invisible Children, Inc has been criticized for its militaristic views of what needs to be done to end the LRA abduction of children in Central Africa. I certainly take your point to that end, though I hope that the easy criticism of the charity will not dim the potential for awareness of its mission. As to the comparison between the LRA and Hitler, my reason for making the comparison was two-fold:
      1) the visuals are strikingly similar, and the realities that provoked the visuals are, as well: innocent people targeted and taken from their homes and families to serve a madman’s purpose; and
      2) for years, the larger world ignored the Holocaust because it did not affect their national interest – which, I would argue, is why much of the world has also ignored the actions of the LRA and the genocides that have been routinely carried out in Uganda, as well as Rwanda, Bosnia, etc. As the world learned in the mid-’40s, outrage after the fact will not save any lives. I don’t think anything has ever compared to the Holocaust of World War II, so there is no disrespect intended in my comparison. But I do think that sometimes the world needs a reminder of what can happen if we ignore genocide (and, in this case, mass-kidnapping to carry out murderous plans).

      Thank you for your very thoughtful comment, my friend.

      • I understand your intent … as a Semi-Jew (a new sect I invented), I’m a little hyper-sensitive to Holocaust comparisons. I, too, am considering a post on the impact of such campaigns, though probably from a less political perspective. I thought that using the child bordered on exploitative but it seemed a small criticism and I was relieved that he didn’t reveal any atrocities to his son to make his point.

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