Thursday, March 8, 2012

KONY: My Two Cents

Riding on the wake of the video released by Invisible Children earlier this week, I woke up this morning and found myself immediately defending the 'KONY 2012' cause when confronted by an overwhelming amount of status updates on my Facebook newsfeed. While most were supportive, there was an increasing trend for people to comment that others showing support for the KONY 2012 campaign had become "sheeplike". I had people talking of "jumping on the bandwagon" when they posted their opinions, and others who were completely mocking the video all together. I've never been more disgusted in the people whom I'm associated with by way of a social networking site. So now it's time for my quick two cents... 

To the people who have shown disrespect for the video based on the fact that it is either; completely melodramatic, features more of the filmmakers son, a one-sided viewpoint, an issue that is two decades old, lacking in basic facts about the LRA, doesn't raise awareness about all the other rebel groups or war criminals or whatever other reason you've come up with... we get it! You're much smarter than the general public, and if pointing out every single flaw in one persons attempt at creating awareness around a particular issue is what you need to do to prove us that, then good for you. 

I am the first person to agree that no one view/video should ever be taken on face value. As with any form of reporting, there is often a need for a second, third and even a fourth thought. But nobody can sit back and deny that the video did not achieve its purpose. This video set out to appeal to the masses, specifically the social networking masses. It sought to make Kony a household name, because at the end of the day, awareness is the first step in any form of action. Even at the very start of the video it was explained that "this is an experiment", but for it to work you had to "pay attention". In my opinion, paying attention here referred not only to the information contained in the video, but paying attention to the bigger picture. It meant to recognise what was happening here. To appreciate how one video could resinate with so many people so as to form a voice to speak out against injustice. How did so many people miss that? 

Either way, in all my time of social networking I have never seen a campaign go as viral as this. In fact, I'd go so far as to say its unprecedented. By the end of the day, those who were genuinely affected by the 'KONY 2012' video will go on to do their own research relating to the UDPF and the involvement of the US Military. They will form their own opinions about whether or not to donate to Invisible Children and perhaps along the way they will learn a thing or two about the underlying problem that is at work here. But those of you who only took the time to comment negatively on what everyone else has been doing, or spent your 30 seconds to mock the campaign entirely, well you'll have done just that. By the end of the day, you'll be no wiser to the purpose of this campaign nor any closer to understanding the context of this conflict, or any others for that matter. But kudos to you, you big cool individual you. 

On another note, today is International Women's Day. This is another campaign that has been at work for over two decades, where people all over the world have stopped to recognise the role of women in society, and in particular raise awareness about the injustices specifically faced by women on a global scale (ranging from the inequality experienced in work and education, right up to issues of women's health and violence related matters). Today is about commemorating all of the achievements made to date, but more about continuing to mobilise people to strive towards a future where women's equality is gained and maintained in all aspects of life. You FB haters gonna hate on that too? I dare you. 

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