I’m sure most of you are familiar with the recent news of the Kony 2012 video sweeping over the internet and the world. When I checked the youtube sight tonight, there have been over 100 million views. 100 million.That’s a whole lot of people tuning in and learning about who Kony is.
First, if you haven’t seen the video yet, I strongly encourage you to do so. It’s impacting, but be sure to keep an open mind.
With that being said, let’s move on. Not only has this video swept through the world and drawn a huge amount of media attention, but also, criticism. Within days of it’s release on YouTube many organizations were speaking out against Invisible Children and their finances, with concerns over them not being transparent enough with the world. In what is my opinion, a great rebuttal to the criticism, IC posted a response on their website and another video from CEO Ben Keesey, addressing the financial concerns expressed by many. You can watch that video below.
From a PR Standpoint, I feel like Invisible Children has done a great job addressing the questions and issues raised. They have been open with their viewers and supporters and have asked for people to continue the questions by tweeting at them. All of their responses were done in a timely manner, within 48 hour of the first waves of criticism. Obviously, no one could have expected how big this video and movement would get, but no one anticipated the amount of negativity aimed towards this organization.
The whole issue is a lot more complicated than saying it is right or it is wrong. There is a whole lot more to Kony 2012 than simply stopping Joseph Kony. Behind Joseph Kony lie more bad people like him–if we take out Kony, someone else is going to take his place. However, one thing we can draw on is the fact that today, people know who Kony is. Three weeks ago, last month, most of the people who watched the video had no idea who Kony was or what was happening in Uganda. Though we live in a globalized world, people still choose to not educate themselves about things going on, or they simply are unaware. What Invisible Children did in this video is share information with the world, to increase awareness and bring him to people’s attention. And they did this all through a simple, tear-jerking, emotional youtube video. I feel like most of the people who are criticizing IC are simply jealous at all of the publicity the organization has gotten. And it’s sure ironic to see how those who are criticizing the Kony movement do so from their comfortable homes, with their children safely nestled in bed.
Let’s face it, Invisible Children did a great job with the video. How else are you going to get 100 million people to watch a 30 minute long video in a fast-paced world where we can’t stand to watch a video more than 2 minutes long. They used compelling footage to capture our hearts and inform and move us to action. Which is exactly what they wanted to accomplish by promoting this video. If they wanted to keep the information for themselves, they wouldn’t have plastered it all over youtube, for free.
Kony is popular. It’s still one of the top trending hashtags on twitter this week. People know who he is. And it’s a scary thing to be Joseph Kony in this world today.
But this isn’t going to fix the problem. Kony is an evil man, who needs to be removed, but just removing him will not fix the over 30 years of terror that has been left behind in central Africa. I like Invisible Children because they are like me–we’re dreamers. I dream of a changed world, one where children are not abandoned by their parents due to social pressures of gender, or girls are put into sex trafficking and where parents can feed their children and war never happens. I dream because that’s all I can do. I dream, and I ask God to make these dreams possible, because it’s only through Him that this can happen. It’s unrealistic to think we can cure Africa of it’s problems..they are a whole different culture than we are. We would be naive to think that way.
A lesson we can learn with Kony 2012 is to educate ourselves about issues, instead of believing everything we see. I’ve done a great deal of research myself, and I still don’t have an answer to this..is it good or is it bad?
Here’s two critique’s on Invisible Children’s campaign, that I found very informative.
There’s one thing that we can all agree on: Kony needs to be stopped. And making him famous by raising awareness will definitely up the chances of finding him. If nothing else, it gives people in America a glimpse into what is happening in our world, that these bad things happen and we have an opportunity to make a difference. Instead of gluing ourselves to the Kardashian’s or Justin Bieber, let’s set our minds on things that actually do matter like stopping Kony and educating ourselves on issues in the world.
When I’m a mother one day, and my kids want to know about Kony 2012, or the prevalence of sex-trafficking, I don’t want to be unable to give them answers. I want to tell them that I educated myself on these issues and engaged in dialogue and discussion. It’s when we continue to talk about these things that they stay relevant in our minds. And when they stay relevant in our minds, we’re more apt to act.
Yet in the middle of writing this article, major news organizations have just broken the story that Jason Russell, co-founder of Invisible Children and narrator in the Kony video, was detained into police custody. A quick google search can give you more specific details on why this happened, but does it really matter? All of the blood, sweat and tears that were poured into this project have been severely damaged. I can’t help but feel for Jason Russell and the rest of IC as they have been under so many attacks these last few weeks, and the pressure has led to someone bursting.
Hopefully Invisible Children will be able to recover, people will forget and remember what this whole campaign is about: stopping Joseph Kony.
Here’s to KONY 2012. Let’s make him famous and let God bring his justice and peace to Uganda and Africa.