Why you have every right to question Kony 2012 & Invisible Children

Have I made you angry with the title of my blog? Are you frustrated at the critics of a movement that just wants to save the kids? Are you trying to search through media reports to confirm what the truth is and what it isn’t? That’s my point.

48hrs ago I had no idea who Joseph Kony was.  I sat and watched as Kony 2012 swept social media then my television.  My FB & Twitter feeds were swamped with links to the video.  And then the critics were publicised too. A university professor and a student weighed in on the debate. The most recent one I’ve seen is from someone who has returned from Uganda.

I’m going to leave my thoughts on the actual event until the end of this post, because I actually want to focus on the human behaviour surrounding it. Many people have been quick to re-post, donate and tell all of their friends. And that’s fine, There is no judgment here. Get passionate and go for it.  But there are also people saying ‘wait, let’s investigate’.  Apparently that’s not so fine.  In some cases, people who haven’t jumped on the bandwagon have been labelled as heartless, because it’s only a video.

I loved one example where someone said ‘don’t believe everything you read on the internet’, which meant don’t believe the critics.  I wanted to yell ‘.. but if you see it in a video on the net it must be forwarded immediately, without question’.

My point is – people have a right to dig deeper before they add their voice of support to something. Anything. Kids or cancer research or lost animals. Anything. I like when people take time to dig a little deeper before deciding one way or another.  What’s wrong with that?  It doesn’t necessarily mean they will jump on the anti-Invisible Children bandwagon. It just means they want to find out more first.

There’s one particular lady who I greatly admire, who’s support of this movement comes from a personal contact into the situation.  Her support is based on something more than forwarding a video. She is frustrated by the critics when she’s heard from someone who’s seen the atrocities.  I respect her and her opinion greatly.  There are others in my twitter feed who think raising awareness by promoting a video is a good thing that can change the world. Again, I love them to bits. I love their enthusiasm and passion.  Remember, no judgment here.

Personally, I hope we’re moving into a phase in our society where technology can help instigate change.  I think we saw that with the people rising up in Egypt etc, using twitter to organise protect gatherings that made a difference.  I hope this doesn’t turn into an OccupyWallStreet, where last time I checked, Wall St still carried on much the same as it always had.  Oh boy did that paragraph sound cynical, sorry.  If the awareness and pressure of the masses forces governments to act, that’s one amazing feat for this generation.  But I do have to wonder whether my own raised awareness of Osama Bin Laden helped at all in the quest for his capture. Or maybe it did.

I’m one of those people who didn’t forward the video. It’s in my character to question things. I’m the one who always researches emails or Facebook competitions and warns my friends of spam and scams.  No, I’m not saying this is a scam, I’m saying I wanted to take the time to research it. I’m not giving you a yes or no answer here on this issue. I want you to make up your own mind.  I have seen the impact of someone just forwarding an email (one of those lovey cutesy powerpoint slideshows) to all 3,500 people in an organisation and crashing servers. No, I do not think forwarding the Kony video will break the Internet.

I will say that my friend and I are also in complete agreement about how charitable funds are spent. The cold hard truth is that it takes money to make change, so to speak. A charitable organisation has costs. You can’t move people or distribute goods or build infrastructure for free. Just getting people to donate can cost you money.  So the ‘only 30% – must be a scam’ argument doesn’t wash with me. It didn’t wash with me either when I saw it as an argument against some amazing child sponsorship organisations that were making such a huge difference on the ground in affected countries.

The truth is out there, somewhere. Let’s hope it’s in the hands of some guys who are trying to ensure that the bad guys get caught.


P.S. I’m not even going to tackle if it’s the job of the US government to run in and save the world’s problems, or whether this cause is more deserving than say world hunger [note:everything bad is important-we just have limited resources & varying different viewpoints on priorities].

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