I was alarmed at the number of people that I knew that were unaware of Joseph Kony and the LRA, and who seemed to believe that Kony and the LRA are a recent development. More than that, I’ve been disturbed by the number of people who shared or liked Invisible Children’s video and then let that be enough. I have a number of problems with #Kony2012 video but, I’m willing to let those go because I believe that spreading awareness is the first step in affecting change. Just maybe next time Invisible Children should ask the actual Ugandan’s what they think instead of assuming the “white man knows best”. Okay, I’m done.
Anyway, I’m glad more people are hearing about Joseph Kony. There are millions of people suffering innumerable injustices all over the world (budding genocide in Nuba, a food crisis in Sahel) if half of those problems got the attention this Kony video is getting who knows how many lives could be saved. Not that I begrudge Kony all this attention. Hopefully, some of the people that are learning about this will do more than just update their Facebooks and share a video. I agree with George Clooney, if those who commit these atrocities were half as famous as he is it might be a little more difficult for them to do what they’re doing. This inspired him to start the Satellite Sentinel Project. Maybe the Kony video will inspire people to do more, and learn more about the rest of the world. What I am seeing though, is that they pat themselves on the back and consider sharing the link a job well done. While I feel like awareness is vital, I believe that with awareness come the responsibility to act.
My plea to those of you who have just discovered the LRA is that you do your homework. Learn about Uganda, the people there, and their struggles. You’ll realize that the #Kony2012 video presents a drastically oversimplified version of reality that is demeaning to the Ugandans who have lived this nightmare and to anyone who truly wishes to stop the LRA. Here are some ways that you can take action that can directly affect change in Uganda. The LRA has been making life for Ugandans hell for a quarter century. It’s going to take work and commitment to get rid of Joseph Kony – they’ve been trying to do it for many years now and have obviously had no success. Whatever happens next awareness is important, but so is the cooperation and support of the people of Uganda.
For more insight into how the people of Uganda feel about the #Kony2012 video see the following: