Thursday, 8 March 2012

Kony 2012: Shooting the Messenger

As you're reading this blog I'm assuming you're on the internet and you've been using it for some time so you have probably already seen the Kony 2012 video or have heard about it through one of your friends. In case you haven't seen it yet here it is:
Essentially a bad man with a last name that sounds like he's a pokemon has been doing bad things to children in Uganda and it has made some nice white people sad so they decided to make him internet famous.
A fate worse than a fate worse than death
Now on the surface of it there's nothing wrong with this (apart from the faint whiff of neo-colonial bullshit) and you would have to be pretty messed up to say that someone like Joseph Kony shouldn't answer for his crimes as the leader of the LRA but like most things in the mirrored wilderness of the internet the Kony 2012 project is not necessarily what it seems. All three of these articles make well thought out points about Invisible Childrien Incorporated  (IC inc.) and their video so I'm going to do my best not to regurgitate what they have to say. I do however have some points of my own to make:

Issue 1: Using Your Children to Attempt to Explain Complex Geopolitical Issues Makes you Look Stupid
One of the stand out parts of IC's video for me was the use of Jason Russel's kid son Gavin as a adorable figurehead for western children as a concept.
All together now... DAWWWWW
This juxtaposes with a Ugandan child on the run from the LRA called Jacob who has lost everying due to their actions. Let me first say that this is a well thought out and powerful piece of documentary film making which genuinely moved me. what happens about 9 minutes into the video however did not move me. If you think it's ok to use the testimony of your tweenage son who thinks that his dad stops "Star Wars badguys from being mean" to explain the situation in Uganda (or indeed any part of the African continent) you should not be trusted with trying to improve it.
You cannot apply the kind of logic your kid son uses when he's playing "Daddy vs the mean black men and Darth Vader" in his room with his toys to the kind of crazy shit that's going on in Uganda and the developing world as a whole at the moment. Especially when you throw your lot in with a different bunch of rapist child soldier recruiters.

Issue 2: ICinc. Have Some Pretty Questionable Friends and Views on How to 'Fix' Africa
For an apparently Peace loving organisation ICinc. Love them some high powered black market weaponry:
Peace and Love Bro
What the hell is wrong with these people? Here's an exert from their official response to criticism of this picture
" we thought it would be funny to bring back to our friends and family a joke photo. You know, “Haha - they have bazookas in their hands but they’re actually fighting for peace.”"
Even the photographer though this was dumb, it's not funny and you are ass holes. Also the guys who you're equipping to find Kony are not the good guys they are just... guys. That's kind of the issue. Africa is not a problem to be fixed, it's a place with lots of people in it trying to get by. Most of those people are basically good, some have had to do terrible things to survive but some of them are terribad and deserve to be killed with fire. In the west we take those horrible people and put them on TV.
Too right Bill
But that's not the solution here and neither is putting more guns and people who can use them on the ground in Uganda.

So what am I trying to say here? First and foremost do not give any money to ICinc. their video is meant to raise awareness of the tragic conditions people live in on parts of the African continent and that's admirable but they only give 32% of their money to people out there. If you were going to give them any money may I suggest another charity. If you just want to be part of a group of people who put posters up and complain about politics may I recommend anarchism, it worked wonders for me until I grew up.
Nothing says "Anarchy in the UK" like reactions lenses paid for by the NHS

Stay Crunchy Internet

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