Op-Ed

AFTER WATCHING INVISIBLE Children’s promotional video Kony 2012, I was left feeling like something wasn’t quite right. This wasn’t the first time I had heard about the horrific use of children as soldiers. An unforgivable act places Joseph Kony into a realm of evil few people can understand—myself included. But something beyond the heinous acts described in the film left me feeling unsettled.

A new month, a new movement—this seems to be the current trend. “Ideas are bulletproofis a line spoken by the character V from Alan Moore’s graphic novel V for Vendetta. The Occupy movement quickly adopted the character as their mascot.

(Remember Occupy? It was the last iMovement looking to exploit social networks to find support and invoke change.)

The first message presented in the Kony 2012 video was, “Nothing is more powerful than an idea.” I would agree, but here, as always, word choice is very important. Ideas are powerful, but more accurately, they’re dangerous. Bad ideas always spread quicker than the good ones—­and Kony 2012 is a bad idea.

To clarify: Stopping Joseph Kony is a good idea. The campaign Kony 2012 is not.

The campaign doesn’t focus on the governments established within the affected countries.  Sure, they interview a couple politicians, but no concrete platform is presented as to what these governments are currently doing to assist their people.

The ideal world from atop the American viewpoint is strictly that—an American viewpoint. The whole thing feels like a U.S. Calvary film, where the American army stomps into a war-torn country to save the day. This whole idea of helping those that can’t help them selves is self-righteous and ignorant.

There are people currently in Uganda working toward rebuilding their country—both local, and people coming from abroad with world relief organizations. And if people wanted to work with them, the benefits could be enormous—think of the homes and schools that could be built. Offering support to questionable military forces, however, may end up working against local Ugandans.

Invisible Children wants you to buy into Kony 2012 both figuratively and literally. Luckily, they’re a not-for-profit corporation, so they’re finances are public. Here are some facts.

As of June 2011, the charity had $751,000 worth of computer equipment and another $177, 769 worth of video and camera equipment—that’s over $928,000 in equipment. Furthermore, their film costs in 2011—which undoubtedly included the production of the Kony 2012 film—were $357,610. To top it off, their travel expenses were $1,074,273.

Invisible Children received $4,676,436 in general donations last year, which accounts for only one out of eight revenue areas. All of this information has been posted on Invisible Children’s website, as a part of their financial statements.

This is an organization that’s in the business of spreading awareness, but is also looking for people to invest with what they think is the right answer. Joseph Kony should be stopped, but it’s important that one sees the whole picture before they get behind anyone’s campaign. Otherwise, we just look lazy.

 

—Kyle Hansford