I still support the video, which Invisible Children created about the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and it’s leader, Joseph Kony, to raise awareness and pressure to arrest him.
There were part of the video I didn’t love, and I did not give money because I’m very particular about the charities I chose, but I retweeted it because I have cared about the LRA and child soldiers for a long time, and I was overjoyed to see a way to get people’s attention.
To me, the movie was purely a tool to raise awareness and to maintain pressure on Washington to keep the military advisors working with the Ugandan army. I never saw the video as promoting more intervention, and although I wish Invisible Children hadn’t included a call for money or had included many NGOs to support or non-monetary ways to support the cause and I understand the criticism of money and purpose beyond the video, I would also point out that many people give to charities who suffer from similar issues.
I find the other criticisms of the video and Invisible Children to be pessimistic and nearly as elitist as the video can be viewed. I refuse to believe that one must be a scholar to care, or a situation must be perfect to act. We complain that people don’t care enough, but we mock them for caring “the wrong way.” Who is allowed to care? What are we to do when faced with the lesser of two evils (the Ugandan government’s human rights abuses or the LRA)?
Because the most disappointing part of the backlash is not one response I read offered another solution around the LRA and Joseph Kony. When studying political philosophy, my professors drilled into me that it was easy to criticize. They pushed me to do the more difficult work of either supporting a theory or creating new solutions.
I believe in peace. I believe in sovereignty. I believe that America often mistakes its way for the best way. But I believe more in the underlying message that I heard in the video: Children’s basic needs should not be determined by where they are born.
If 50 million more people hear this message, I know a few of them will change or care or learn, and the rest will move on or become annoyed that they gave money to another awareness charity. So be it.
We have to start somewhere. Why not with Joseph Kony and why not in 2012?
When I’m not disappointed by critics with no answers, I’m making myself popular reading and writing elsewhere.
My Other Hangouts (don’t tell my blog):
- I Finally Found My Unhip Glasses And I’m Psyched (sponsored post): On This Blogger Makes Fun of Stuff, I spend half a decade looking for my favorite red cat-frame glasses until in a moment of luck, GlassesUSA comes through for me.
Favorite posts I didn’t read, I mean, write:
- Brokenhearted: From My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog, a music snob realizes he’s just not a cool dad anymore. I’m going to be the same way – trying to keep up and keep my mouth shut – one day I’ll have to let it go and be uncool, too. (sweet)
- Pay The Writer: A great video rant by author/screenwriter Harlan Ellison on when writers don’t get paid. (high-five)
- Spider Web Forest Is Beautiful and Terrifying: From Buzzfeed, I was fine until the last photo when I was reminded that nature is terrifying and probably hates us. (freaky)
- ‘Lifespan’: What Are The Limits Of Literary License?: From NPR, how far can essayist and memoirist stretch the truth for a little more literary beauty? (interesting)
- The Perfect Pun: From SlamBradley on deviantART, sometimes the best way to deal with Hitler is to find the pun. (pun-ny)