Don’t throw a stone-y at Kony
Last night I watched that Kony video. Today husband man told me someone had written a great response to it and so instead of ranting here I could just link to it… turns out that response seems to have been taken off the net which I am sad about because I didn’t even get the chance to read it.
Now, here’s my problem… how does one be cynical about a film that seeks to help rescue child soldiers? This is awkward but hear me out.
Soldiers exist. Some soldiers did not want to be soldiers. Some soldiers are young. Some soldiers are old. When I was a student the first time around I worked for a year with a wonderful professor whose life’s work was about conflict studies. I distinctly remember reading psychology papers that told stories of children kidnapped into an army, and forced at gunpoint to shoot another human being. I read other things in that paper which I don’t want to write about right now because the realities are simply horrific. But all I am trying to say at this point is that yes horrible things are going on in this world and I do not doubt that. I think we should care and I think we should act. But I’m not sure the ‘kony 2012’ campaign is the answer.
I kind of hated the film. I mean, it was a good film, well made, evocative, clear, but I haven’t seen such emotional manipulation and white (dare i say American) arrogance for a while. 20 mins into the film you read these words “…Kony now knows of the United States plan to stop the LRA and he is going to change tactics to avoid capture, NOW THAT THE GREAT POWER IS AFTER HIM.” (emphasis may be mine). Oh America if only we’d known about you earlier you could have saved so many lives…oh wait…who owns that Army in Iraq again?…
Anyway, I didn’t much care for the ‘wire investigation room scene’ either, where cute blonde kid faces the reality of ‘the evil one’. I’m so glad that we finally know the source of the problem. This Kony guy in the picture. The source of all the great evils contained in this one guy. Super, all we have to do is catch him and nothing bad will ever happen again (I used to think that when they caught Stringer Bell there’d be no more drugs in Baltimore – turns out there was more than one bad guy in the wire too.) Kony bad / Joseph good is a little too simplistic don’t you think?
I’m not trying to be flippent but is it not a serious problem when we project all the evil into just one man and make him the world’s enemy so that we can feel like the good guys and the hero’s who save the day? I really do hope Kony stops being a man who kidnaps and tortures people. But I also really do hope that we become a world who recognise that oppression and pain are caused by us not just Kony. Also what ever happened to loving our enemy?
My final bone with this campaign is basically that yet again I’ve been offered the opportunity to change the world by buying stuff.
Also this whole idea of targeting the rich and the famous and the beautiful and the popular so as to get a huge following… well it sounds a bit familiar to me that is all.
A much more gracious person than me wrote “we need to find effective ways to help the poor and needy and to end moral horrors such as the use of child soldiers, people trafficking etc. but it might take a little bit more work than a RT.” go check out the full post here.
ps i’m in a bad mood tonight so forgive me for my complete negativity, i’ll work on it. I’ll buy myself a t-shirt.