When I heard about the Kony 2012 video “gone viral” on national news a few weeks ago, I searched for it and then viewed it. I found the video compelling and it touched me, especially since I knew a little about the LRA and it’s terrible atrocities in Northern Uganda. Ever since I started working on my Uganda Project with professors at Makerere University in Kampala and Busoga Trust America in Masindi, I’ve had my eyes and ears open for all stories of this country. That has ramped up even more since I’ve actually visited there now and have met the people and experienced this wonderful country first-hand. Anyway, when I viewed this video and saw it had a link that I could embed into this blog, I jumped on the bandwagon and did so. I saw this as an easy way to get people to become aware of and then hopefully care about people of Africa. Most of my life has been quite sheltered living within the safety of the USA and the great freedoms we enjoy, which I think is probably like most Americans. Although we hear via the news media about the difficulties of other nations and people, whether it is poverty, disease, lack of water, constant war, etc., it is easy to forget about it once the images and publicity fades. So posting this video was a way to share this information.
BUT, thanks to one of my pharmacy students, I’ve now realized that some controversy exists about the methods of Invisible Children (the group that created the video). Coincidentally, just as I was preparing my original post with the Kony 2012 video, my student was in the process of emailing me to talk to me to get my opinion of the situation. She was in the process of reaching the issue more fully so she could make an educated opinion about whether or not to financially support this project. Kudos to her! This link discusses some of the issues: http://tumblr.thedailywh.at/post/19202303178/more-on-kony-2012-if-this-past-week-has-taught-us. Please also see the website for Invisible Children if you desire much more information about their work, finances, and their responses to many of the concerns.
My bottom line: Making the world aware of Kony’s atrocities is a good thing. All of us should become more attuned to the tragic situations of this world and we should figure out how we can make a positive impact. Personally, I always favor diplomacy over violence, but if and when that fails, we should do what needs to be done to protect people. Although charity is often helpful, it is not sustainable. The people of the affected countries need to be involved in any process to improve this situation or any living situation in general.
Thanks for these comments. I have also had mixed feelings about the anti Kony effort. At first I have considered Nickolas Kristof of the NYT’s endorsement of the film and its efforts to be credible, but now I wonder whether he still stands by it in the same way. Let’s hope the additional publicity of the film will increase efforts to capture Kony at any rate. The issue points out how complex all issues are and how difficult it is to know what is truthful and accurate.