Who hasn’t seen the KONY 2012 video that’s circulating this week?
Really? May I schedule a writer’s retreat under your rock? It sounds like a blissful place…but i digress….
As with any activist cause that gains visibility quickly, there have been critics.
No one denys that Kony is a rotten guy who has done countless rotten things. The controversy surrounds who can and should be taking action to improve the situation in Central Africa, and what actions(s) are needed.
The strongest critics contend that Kony’s influence has waned dramatically in recent years, and the issues facing Central Africa demand a far more complex solution than simply capture and justice for one horrible leader. Further, some believe that solutions should originate from within the African community.
Some critics assert that individuals who donate to KONY 2012 might not fully grasp that the majority of their financial support is destined towards filmmaking, further fundraising, and awareness costs rather than on-the-ground programs to capture Kony or to help his victims. (To be honest, I thought the video was pretty clear that their #1 goal was to raise awareness…which it is doing brilliantly.)
All these questions are important. All of these questions deserve a deeper look.
Any decision to lend support to any charity should include an evaluation of the organization, its ultimate goals, its strategy to achieve them, and its financial practices. That’s just good stewardship.
But as I’ve followed the discussion over the past few days, the question keeps nagging me…
One image in the film haunts me. Three seconds. A lone teenager in a yellow t-shirt walks toward a couple, the man’s arms outstretched to receive his son. The voiceover says “This is the dream…the abducted children returned home.”
The KONY2012 website states that part of their mission is to “restore LRA-affected communities in Central Africa to peace and prosperity.”
I do not know enough about Invisible Children or even about the overall situation in Central Africa to begin to know the right answer to that question.
But I do know for sure that anyone who has been captured and tortured and raped and forced to commit atrocities can’t just be “returned home” and everything will just be rainbows and unicorns.
Jacob, the young man shown in the film, clearly has learned to hope. He clearly has learned to trust a community of people who are putting action into their promises. That’s a great thing.
That’s something that the survivors of Kony’s “army” will need to learn…and it will be a very slow lesson.
- How do you decide whether or not to support a charity or cause?
- How do you make decisions about how/where to give?
- How do you decide where your focus should be?
On a side note, one of my blogger friends is traveling to Uganda later this month with Compassion International. His stance: “Stopping Kony is not enough.” Check out his thoughts on the issue here.