BY TOMMY ALEXANDER, Photo Editor
I am sure by now that most of you have seen the Internet phenomenon that has been the Kony 2012 campaign. It swept the world in what seemed like an overnight success. Currently it is sitting on YouTube with over 74 million views. Let us tell you why this campaign is a total scam.
The first five minutes are completely irrelevant to the point of the film. The point is to draw attention to Joseph Kony, not to talk about social media and how it is changing the world. Showing us your cute kid to try to illicit a positive emotion is a cheap trick. The audience literally has no idea who Joseph Kony is until eight minutes into the film.
It is one thing to actually make a point and show people that are suffering (which the video did, for about 4 minutes total) but sticking your cute kid into the frame as your device to explain to the audience what is going on is nothing short of insulting.
“What do I do for a job?” “You stop the bad guys from being mean!” Seriously? Yes let us boil down the complex history of Africa and explain it to the audience as if they were five years old, that will show them. The video completely ignores Uganda’s history of colonization, independence, the current dictatorship, the Ugandan army and the UN’s involvement. Not to mention the laughably terrible rating the Invisible Children organization received from international institutions on non-profit organizations (more on that in a second).
This video was nothing more than a play on the emotions of the people viewing it, constantly putting out a “good guys vs. bad guys” scenario when the actual situation is anything but that simple. The sad songs, sad video clips, and chanting of slogans try to evoke emotion, and they definitely succeeded. Facebook was a testament to the weakness of human emotions shortly after this video surfaced.
The one thing that this film actually accomplishes is basically alerting the world that this guy is a damn good filmmaker. It is a bit disconcerting that so many people immediately clicked “share” on their Facebooks and attached a cliché line saying “TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE” without actually knowing what they were supporting.
The Invisible Children organization has been called “misleading” “naïve” and “dangerous” by a Yale political science professor, Chris Blattman. Foreign Affairs said that the organization has also manipulated facts for strategic business purposes. It is not hard to find the organization’s public financial records either, they give a whopping 31% of their profits to actually helping people and the rest goes to pay for the three people who run the organization’s travel bills (nearly $1 million in the last year alone) and to fund their film business – which is the easiest way for them to make money.
When all is said and done, it is true that Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army are terrible people and they need to be stopped, but selling bracelets, spreading this video, and putting up posters are not the actions needed. The American people are up in arms and are calling for the United States government to do something about the situation, some even asking for military action.
Starting another war is not going to solve anything. According to a November article in Foreign Affairs, the United States is already plenty involved in seeking out Kony and his band of “bad guys,” some even believe he might already be dead. Even with Kony out of the picture, however, the LRA will not fall apart. If you really want to help search out the other organizations that are trying to accomplish the same thing but are actually giving their money towards their cause.
The Daily What said it best, “The bottom line is, research your causes thoroughly. Do not just forward a random video to a stranger because a mass-murderer makes a five-year-old ‘sad.’”