Kony madness 2012…what is it?

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.





3 thoughts on “Kony madness 2012…what is it?”

  1. I have seen some of the banners around town and wondered about them. I also watched the video and thought about the issues you brought up.
    Why is it we can get so worked up about this and not care about kids in our own neighborhoods.
    One thing I think is really important though, this group put out a product that was compelling. More of our non-profits in the town where I live should be using social media in a more effective way. The old ways of reaching people is not going to work as a stand alone model. My son hardly uses email, he has so many other avenues of connect. If I want to reach him, those other methods work much better.
    Interesting that I had such a similar reaction to the one you described so well.

  2. Great minds, right? While I watched and was wondering exactly how they managed to pay for that amazing video, this is what I wrote on my FB page: (I do think they need to get this guy, though)

    This movie really gives me pause.

    Not for the reason you’re thinking, although I applaud the efforts by Invisible Children and I genuinely hope this man is brought to justice. No, because when the little boy suddenly lost his brave face and started to cry, I recognized the faces of my neighbors’ children.

    This man is a monster. Our actions are clear when an atrocity has a face and a person whose actions are completely unjustifiable attached to it. Sadly, most atrocities happen without either.

    Gang violence in our own hometown causes very, very similar violence to children. I’ve seen kids convinced to become members without knowing what they are getting into – girls turned to prostitutes, boys to killers. I can’t tell you how many people have been shot within blocks of my home.

    We need to stop Kony, but we also need to solve the same problem here at home. Gang organizers may not be full-on monsters like Kony; their actions may even be justifiable on occasion…but community involvement is critical to finding strategies that will end the cycle of violence.

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