Kony2012? Stop Kony? Who the hell is Kony? Well unless you have been absent from the interwebz this week, you probably know the answer to that question. Though if you were like my husband, you may have assumed Kony was the latest sports celebrity…is he a Kobe? A Tebow? Sorry, kids…Kony is Joseph Kony, a Ugandan warlord, a nasty cat and a man who frankly does not deserve a spot among the living.
The world woke up this week and thanks to a viral campaign by a group Invisible Children, we all know about Kony. My Facebook feed has been filled with friends, cranky aging hipsters, elderly women in Maine and everyone in between demanding that we all band together and stop Kony. By the way, a $30 action kit will help that happen or at least that’s what the Invisible Children group says.
I admit I was suspicious, I work in the non-profit sector and well all this hype raised my bullshit antenna. However I did finally sit down and watch the 30 minute clip that has gone viral. My thoughts, well Kony didn’t just burst on the scene, in fact the atrocities have been going on for years. More importantly why the hell did the filmmakers just make this video…hello???? We’ve had the Facebook and whatnot for a while. There is also the fact these matters are a lot more complex than our pals at Invisible Children have presented, frankly what they have done is presented a sanitized version that is safe and palatable to middle class palates. Never mind that Kony has been hiding for a while.
However it wasn’t until I decided to take a look at Invisible Children’s financials (990’s) that are available as a matter of public record, that I decided sorry, kids I am not buying it. Look, I am not saying these guys aren’t sincere in their efforts, I imagine they are but and this is a big but, the work they do and have created for themselves allows for a comfortable lifestyle. This piece sums up the issues I had when I looked at their financials, so rather than writing it out, I say check it out.
Look, viral campaigns and the interwebz can do a lot of good, but one needs to be discerning before they start opening their pockets. Frankly when you start offering action kits and bracelets and making promises, I get a little skeptical. Sadly the world is filled with evil, and Kony while he is one evil bastard, isn’t the first warlord and probably won’t be the last. If you want to change the world, start with the world you live in and go out from there. I admit in my line of work I am always amused by people who ignore the evil that is near them and instead choose to focus on the evil a world away. If you want to change the world, do both.