Welcome to another You Say Tuesday, where the power is in your hands to make a difference (in O-New’s comment count) by arguing against my incredibly biased claims.
All you have to do is click a button; you don’t even need to think of anything witty or insightful. Just click a button and you’ll have boosted my self-esteem to moderate levels after a crushing math test blow.
Now imagine if, by pushing a button, you could stop a warlord. Yes, a real life warlord – a warlord who’s forcibly recruited over 100,000 child soldiers and sex slaves over the past 26 years. How? It’s simple: by sharing a video, you ‘raise awareness’ of these horrible atrocities, allowing you to lobby the United States government or the Ugandan military to send military forces into the region, apprehending Joseph Kony.
Why will ‘raising awareness’ among Americans solve a problem that people have been tackling for over 26 years? It’s obvious: Americans are the only people that matter. Anything that Americans don’t know about are effectively ‘invisible’, like these invisible children. Never mind their family. Never mind their government. Never mind the dozens of charities already operating in Uganda for decades. They don’t matter. The only people that matter are Americans.
So the KONY2012 campaign is great. It involves the American people, the only people who matter. By petitioning the American government, we, the Americans, will finally be able to end atrocities that impotent Africans have been unable to deal with for the past 26 years. After all, if Africans really wanted to stop Kony, then why did an American make the movie? The answer is obvious: Africans can’t do anything. We have to help them, as the saviours of Africa. Besides, it took us only ten years to capture Osama bin Laden.
Imagine if Ugandans wore ‘OSAMA BIN LADEN 2008’ t-shirts seven years after finding out about the 9/11 attacks. Now imagine if an Ugandan filmmaker persuaded Ugandans to rise up and defeat bin Laden through the power of social activism. Never mind that the Americans have been warring in Afghanistan for years. They’ve never accomplished anything, and the only people who can defeat bin Laden are Ugandans.
I don’t care about any of this. I don’t want to give 20% of my possible donation to administrative details (read: salaries, free movie screenings).
I don’t want to see those free movie screenings.
I couldn’t: today, all students in my school had a mandatory screening of a KONY2012 follow-up film.
I don’t want a brochure inviting me to donate $50 from my credit card (that I don’t want to use) every month so that Invisible Children can make more of these movies (that I don’t want to see) to spread the word (that I don’t want to hear) so that Americans (that I don’t want to join) can beg their government (that I don’t want to elect) to give military aid (that I don’t want to support) to the Ugandan military (that I don’t want to condone) to apprehend Joseph Kony and his 500 starving, untrained child soldiers.
If I wanted to donate, I would donate to an organization that devotes more than 90% of its funding to direct rehabilitation programs for the Lord’s Resistance Army’s survivors and defectors, and I suggest you do the same. At the very least, not to an organization that devotes more than 60% of its funding to management resources, propaganda directing, and pleading Americans to plead with their government to aid the human-rights-violating Ugandan government in capturing Joseph Kony – which they haven’t done for 26 years.
I don’t want to see a movie about an American and his dream, his duty, his destiny to save all those helpless Africans. I don’t want to watch twenty minutes of apologetic denials and heartbreaking stories of one man’s psychotic mental breakdown (read: public naked masturbating) because people were saying bad things about him. I don’t want people shouting in my face that all Invisible Children critics are wrong and that they are Evil Inhuman Beings who care nothing about those poor, powerless African people who desperately need our American help! Obviously, the only way to stop Joseph Kony is through Invisible Children and their YouTube movies. And the only way to help Ugandans is not through rebuilding (something Invisible Children spends 8% of their funding on), but through killing a warlord who’s not even based in Uganda anymore.
I don’t like to have my feelings manipulated by crying African orphans, or mentally-broken naked masturbators, or the assertion that our generation is lazy and that the only way we can compare to our war-fighting grandfathers is by donating to Invisible Children. I don’t like propaganda films. I can appreciate them for their beauty and elegance (Alexander Nevsky, etc.), but that doesn’t mean I like them.
I don’t like Joseph Kony. I don’t like KONY2012. I don’t like people shoving their opinions in my face as truth. These sentences all involve me because these are my thoughts. These thoughts are not the absolute truth.
So, what are your thoughts?
1. Is Invisible Children’s KONY2012 campaign proceeding in the right direction? In which ways is it more successful than previous campaigns? In which ways is it less successful? What is your opinion on their methods, and how would you suggest they be improved?
2. Is it moral to screen mandatory political propaganda films to impressionable people? Should authorities in schools (e.g. teachers, guest speakers) articulate their political views to students as truth? Is it better to create a school where all political bias is banished to encourage individual mindset development, or is ti better to create a school where all political bias is included to encourage synthesis of different mindsets?