Pop Culture, Race & Politics

K.O.N.Y. 2012

(For the record, I’m aware that it’s merely KONY 2012, but I’m going to make a point with that.)

Criticism, like love, is a many splendored thing. Truth is, it’s way easier to criticize something or somebody than it is to acknowledge that something or somebody is actually attempting to make a difference and give credit where credit is due. Such brings us to the present day (well last week and running currently) KONY 2012 campaign by the company and organization Invisible Children.

To be fair, I knew very little about this until yesterday when I read somebody’s Facebook status criticizing the Kony 2012 thing on the grounds that anybody who cares about this now and didn’t pay attention to any myriad African causes is hypocrtical and ill-informed. Fair enough, but totally misses the boat. But we’ll get to that in a moment. Back to me just finding out what in Sam Hill this Kony thing is about.

I’d heard mention of it last week when somebody mentioned some video for Kony. Now, I obviously listen to too much hip-hop because I immediately thought it was some sort of King of New York upcoming tribute to the Notorious B.I.G. Or some wayward reworking of T.O.N.Y. by Capone-N-Noreaga. And because I didn’t care, I let that b*tch breathe. Again, too much hip-hop. But after seeing the critical FB message I watched the entire video, all roughly 30 minutes of it, at work, and found myself in awe at this organizations presentation AND plan to bring attention and awareness to a cause.

Let’s forget the actual target of the cause for a second. Let’s talk about the method. It’s sheer brilliance. In today’s social media driven landscape, Invisible Chidlren, created a video where they showed the birth of a movement from inception to action. And that my friends is impressive. And it’s one that takes full advantage of the way youth move in this nation now from creating viral campaigns and utilizing that message to effect change to the point where the President takes notice and does something entirely based on their work and advocacy. That is how you do something. That’s how you make a difference. I must say that I was completely impressed and inspired by the dedication it took to be both patient enough and believe in something enough to stick with it for the long haul. And the method of creating propoganda to make the man’s name a household name isn’t even obnoxious like some of the Occupy camps that popped up. Interesting that immediate reaction was to draw comparisons. I’m human. Sue me.

Joseph Kony, one of the leaders of Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army, is undoubtedly a bad man. And while there’s NO way that any 30 minute video could fully capture the complexity of the issue of Kony’s crimes against humanity and the creation of child rebel soldiers, what this video did was create an entire awareness to possibly as many as 74 million people who watched the video on YouTube and who knows how many others who’ve read about it since last week (March 5).

Obviously, that creates controversy. Which is where the criticisms start to come in (all easily Google-able). Is it too little too late? Some say that Kony is nowhere near as much of an issue as he was 10 years ago in Uganda. Maybe true, but he’s still on the ICC’s list of wanted criminals. Some say this video has done more damage than good by giving Kony the heads up that the USA and Uganda are looking for him and will force him to change up his methods of hiding (he’s on the run). Others claim that this organization isn’t clear and transparent about their actual charity work, etc. A claim that the organization itself hasn’t been shy about addressing. Others think the video had the wrong focus. And some folks are claiming some type of “why do you people care now when you didn’t care about anything else….”

I can honestly say that I hate people who make that last argument. You can’t do anything about anything unless you know about it. Speeches only reaches those that know it exists. Knowing what to care about is impossible unless everybody knows where to find out about what’s going on. Which is why this campaign is brilliant. You don’t know who Joseph Kony is? Watch the video. I guarantee you will by the end.

And that’s the point. Creating awareness about somebody in order to get the public consciousness on board. That’s the only way you get change. The Civil Rights movement wouldn’t have lasted if 100 people boarded that train. It wasn’t until the nation saw the brutality in Birmingham and the water hoses and police dogs attacking defenseless and peaceful protestors that the nation got on board (for the most part) with the Civil Rights movement. Which is why I think that much of the criticism levied against the Kony 2012 movement and the Invisible Children organization is sour grapes. This org found a target and found a way to make people care or at least pay attention. I guarantee you that there are people who know Joseph Kony’s name that would NEVER have known under any other circumstance. And that cannot be a bad thing.

At all.

Awareness. It’s the key to change. It’s why the message for every Spike Lee movie is to “wake up”. Pay attention. Be aware of what’s really going on. That’s the premise of Kony 2012. If we were smart, we’d take a lesson from this organization and do the same damn thing with other causes. It’s why Occupy Wall Street both succeeded and failed. It succeeded because for a legit moment in time, everybody was talking about it. It failed because unlike Kony 2012, at some point, it was all just rhetoric and nobody really knew what the hell to ask for.

If you bring awareness to tragedy, at some point people have to do something right. You can’t stick your head in the sand forever. And to me, this method and the cause are worthy of note.

And to be fully honest, at first I was ready to write this entire thing off as more white guilt and liberal do-gooderism until I really started thinking about the fact that you know what, if that sh*t helps to change the world, then I’m all for it. Sometimes, those who seem the most annoying and obnoxious really do have their hearts in the right place and because they care that much, and are white, they’ll have the time, resources, and desire to see something through.

If that helps me get a home loan. Sign me up.

So, good people of VSB, what do you think about the KONY 2012 campaign and ensuing dustup and debate? Hell, do you think about it at all?

-VSB P aka THE ARSONIST aka MR. I WATCHED THE WHOLE VIDEO WHERE’S MY ACTION KIT aka GIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRL HE A 3

*Have you signed up for the VSB VIP List? If not, go on ahead and do it so that you can receive emailed listings of events sponsored or supported by VSB and other goings ons in your area. Plus you get more of that good ole VSB charm and pizzazz via email. Look, seriously, my mom asked me to ask you to do it, mmkay?*

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Damon Young

Panama Jackson is pretty fly for a light guy. When he's not saving humanity with his words or making music with his mouth, you can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking her fine liquors. He believes the children are our future and is waiting to find out if he is the 2nd most interesting man in the world.

  • Mo-VSS

    I think about what Invisible Children (IC) has done and I, like you, think it’s brilliant. As much as I hate the term “hating” to describe damn near anything, I do happen to think it applies to those who have no legitimate basis to criticize IC.

    Oh and the race thing needs to be retired. If white folks take this up as a cause, so be it. If they open their wallets to help, again, so be it. If they start adopting little Ugandan babies after seeing this, so be it. I don’t know where the notion of “only people who look like you can/should help you” came from but I’d like it retired. Wait, I’ll take it back…I do know where it came from. Black folks (some) not wanting white folks to be seen as the savior of the race. Kill that. If I was in a dire situation, such as some of these children are, I wouldn’t give a damn if martians came down to help as long as there was some relief.

    I do think that as an organization IC can learn from whatever valid criticisms are being directed toward them. I mention “valid” and “legit” as words used to describe the less than positive feedback because anything else is just noise. Any organization with a true intent on doing good, as claimed by the IC, should welcome the chance to hear from both sides of the aisle (election year rhetoric) and position themselves to improve whatever is necessary to continue getting the job done.

    • GypsyCurl

      “Oh and the race thing needs to be retired. If white folks take this up as a cause, so be it. If they open their wallets to help, again, so be it.”

      Your statement reminds me of how some blacks will criticize a white person for taking interest in a black issue (ie Angelina Jolie, Tom Cruz and Madonna adopting a black children) but had never, would never and will never take up a black issue themself.

      • Mena

        Agreed. It’s pitiful. If someone is willing to help, then allow for them to help. Are we so cynical and negative that we need to turn every good intention into a conspiracy theory or say that it is the liberal white elites posturing?

      • S Emm

        i completely agree! We aim to make so much noise to criticize anyone who isn’t of our race who wants to do something about an issue that affects us when in the end it does nothing but create a separate issue.

        whatever the motives are behind this, this is a good cause and if we can do something to better the world, who cares who’s involved?

    • spottieottiedarlin

      “Oh and the race thing needs to be retired. If white folks take this up as a cause, so be it. If they open their wallets to help, again, so be it. If they start adopting little Ugandan babies after seeing this, so be it. I don’t know where the notion of “only people who look like you can/should help you” came from but I’d like it retired. Wait, I’ll take it back…I do know where it came from. Black folks (some) not wanting white folks to be seen as the savior of the race. Kill that. If I was in a dire situation, such as some of these children are, I wouldn’t give a damn if martians came down to help as long as there was some relief.”

      MO you speak the truth!

  • groove

    i’m in the middle regarding this whole KONY business. i can respect the dedication, perseverance, and awareness created. i think a big issue is how this thing is limited. they have a very tight focus on this man and him alone. watch closely and you’ll see the #2 on the ICC list is from uganda as well. and the fact that the time period is so restricted, causes concern for me. there’s no immediate change for such a lasting issue. so my questions are: what happens after the capture/persecution/death/whatever of kony AND/OR on january 1, 2013? it can’t end there. and so again.. i can respect the awareness created, but for the cause to truly be effective, there has to be a long term train of thought in combination with this short term effort, no?

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      but isnt that kind of the point, you have to start somewhere?

      • RG

        That’s what a lot of people thought about the Troy Davis “Movement” too. Hard too tell. Our generation has “Movement ADD” We haven’t shown the propensity to stick with a struggle. I’ll be interested to see how this year’s election goes in terms of turnout.

      • Around the Way Girl

        Yes. You have to focus on what’s next after the goal is actually accomplished. It’s already a huge goal to begin with.

    • S Emm

      i think the second person on the list is one of his top men. I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure it is.

      • Ben Dover

        yea he was, he died already supposedly by Kony

    • DJ

      I’m not buying it at all. Sounds to me like a new crafty way to start a war. The video, in my opinion, was nothing more than propaganda for this new generation who don’t watch the news, but use social media. IJS

  • https://twitter.com/#!/mackaroto Jay

    I have to take the skeptical view on this with so many videos popping up of ACTUAL Ugandans talking about how irrelevant this is now. And my opinion sort of leans towards that argument that you hate. True, if you don’t know then how can you care. But thats just the thing, we as Americans carry out our lives without knowing or caring much about what else goes on in the world, that is until someone posts a well produced Facebook video, then all of a sudden we’re activists. So, if the vid wasn’t so well produced then people still wouldn’t know or care. We, and by we I mean my guilty self as well, have this totally first world BS upsurge of emotion because someone created an awesome video. Its scares me a little. We are easily led sheep. Plus there are a lot of allegations of how Invisible Children spends their funds. There are further allegations that state that Kony was U.S. backed(clandestinely of course). I can’t say that any of this is true or false, but I think that some measure of skepticism is healthy… as opposed to jumping on the emotional bandwagon.

    • Iceprincess

      Im definately not a sheep. Im CHOOSING to find a bright side on this one. We know charities steal money & we know the American government financially backs terrorists (bin laden, ect.) & then u have those poor, poor children in the midst of it all. If we all sat around & focused on what a royal shit show this world is, it would be a sad day smh.

      • Iceprincess

        Free my comment pretty please.

        • http://lizburr.com Liz

          stop cursing in your comments please. then you won’t have to beg for freedom.

    • Thai

      “We, and by we I mean my guilty self as well, have this totally first world BS upsurge of emotion because someone created an awesome video. Its scares me a little. We are easily led sheep.”

      THIS ^^^^ When I first saw the video I was like oh my yes we gotta do something and then….my subtle bullsh*t radar went off. Social media has made us vulnerable and lazy. As much as I want to believe IC has good intentions, there are way too many things to consider. I’ll start off with consideration #1 being Kony ass aint been in Uganda for months AND ppl don’t even realize that ahem the Ugandan president also has blood on his hands in relation to this whole child soldier bullsh*t…to be continued.

      • MsPackyetti

        This! It’s more complex than Kony. And yes-we’re too lazy now to even google it anymore. We just watch the video and click like! SMDH.

    • Justmetheguy

      ” Plus there are a lot of allegations of how Invisible Children spends their funds. There are further allegations that state that Kony was U.S. backed(clandestinely of course). I can’t say that any of this is true or false, but I think that some measure of skepticism is healthy… as opposed to jumping on the emotional bandwagon.”

      Yup. Someone’s thinking critically I see. Thanks for bringing this up. Didn’t wanna be the first to say it. First the boogeyman was Idi Amin, then Saddam Hussein, then it was Osama Bin Laden, then Ghadaffi, now Kony. And when these men are killed or arrested, are we expecting these atrocities to disappear? Are we asking ourselves what the root causes are, or are we just assuming that these countries just can’t get it together and violence and war are “just a part of their culture” (I’ve heard people say this in regards to many conflicts in Africa and other third world regions of the globe). If you really care, you need to go to youtube and listen to the actual Ugandans talking about their thoughts on the campaign (assuming you don’t know any Ugandans that is)

      • https://twitter.com/#!/mackaroto Jay

        I agree wholeheartedly Justmetheguy. On another note has anyone heard (or care) about the Lavena Johnson murder. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gz5kWGdGSrc&feature=player_embedded#! She was an african-american U.S. soldier who was found murdered and raped with a corrosive liquid(acid) poured on her body and IN her genitals to destroy DNA evidence. Her teeth were knocked in and she was set on fire. AND THE US GOVT LABELED HER DEATH A SUICIDE. She was a small woman and there is evidence that she fought back as hard as she could. Now, there have been tons of videos trying to bring more attention to this case but I guess because they can’t reproduce the production value of the Kony vid… It won’t happen. BTW its been said now that the Kony video is the most viral vid EVER! Crazy.

        • Around the Way Girl

          Sh!t, that’s horrific.

          But the reality is, people are much less likely to organize action for one woman who is already dead than thousands of children who are still alive and in danger. And you’re right, the Kony video is extremely compelling largely because of the quality and direction of it. But what about the actual subject matter? Are you saying you’re disregarding it? I’m not advocating being “sheep”- I would definitely do my research before I started donating money and all that- but here we have a serious, atrocious issue going on across the ocean that no one is going to know or care about unless the awareness is spread. That’s the point- things only change when there is mass awareness. If it takes an emotional, borderline sensational movie to do that, then sh!t, works for me.

          • A Woman’s Eyes

            ” people are much less likely to organize action for one woman who is already dead ”

            People are much less likely to organize global action for one BLACK woman who is already dead.

          • https://twitter.com/#!/mackaroto Jay

            But the reality is, people are much less likely to organize action for one woman who is already dead than thousands of children who are still alive and in danger.

            My point EXACTLY. People are less likely to organize for one BLACK woman who is dead…So forget it right?? Push that to the side to hop on the KONY bandwagon because of what people are more “LIKELY” to do?? Its like Hollywood saying “Lets not make a black movie because people are less likely to watch it. Lets make another Jenifer Anniston rom-com because THATS something that people with get behind”. The rape, murder, and subsequent cover-up by the U.S. govt is a problem that should concern us MORE. But you’re right we’re less likely to investigate it because its has less emotional weight and thats sad.

            So basically we will get behind stopping KONY who the U.S. govt has known about for years and who, by accounts FROM ACTUAL UGANDANS, is not endangering any children at present. But we won’t investigate possible INSTITUTIONAL racism and savagery by our own government here at home, even with the victim being african american.

            • Around the Way Girl

              I get your point and understand your frustration. Everything I want to say in response, I’ve already said in other comments, and they were long so now I’m tired lol. But to put it simply, Kony is somewhere committing heinous crimes against children and needs to be stopped. We all know this now, thanks to IC. That’s their cause that they chose to take up. For us to react to them with “But WHY can’t we focus on THIS???” is silly and useless, in my opinion. If you think other things deserve more attention, then draw attention to them. Don’t p!ss on people who are doing good things elsewhere. One organization cannot solve all the world’s problems.

        • Kema

          Tragic…

        • A Woman’s Eyes

          Omg, I’ll never ever forget that story about Lavena Johnson’s death! I remember this!

          I saw an interview of her father. Her father was military and noticed the discrepencies in the condition of her body and the official report.

          Rapes in Iraq were being covered up –still are–because many of those rapes are fellow soldiers being raped and/or killed by their own fellow soldiers or rapes of civilians by soldiers.

          The way that she was found made me wonder if she told someone “no” or refused to keep a certain secret.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      Here’s the thing about what you’ve said, in nearly all of the reported interviews with the Ugandans who are critical, its largely critical of the timing…where were they then? Nobody’s going to say he’s not worth paying attention too, its just like…well this has been going on for years and now you pay attention? Which is understandable, but better late than never seems to apply here.

      And you’re right, if the video wasn’t well produced we wouldn’t know nor would we care…but it is produced. so what’s the point there? it exists now and now, via knowledge we can learn more.

      i’m not saying that now you have to put your brainpower behind this cause, i am saying that well, this does raise awareness which is the first step in creating change. to that end, i have absolutely no issue whatsoever with their methods and think its a great idea.

      i do agree with you, some measure of skepticism is healthy…however, when that skepticism completely hampers the ability to see any good in something, then its wasted energy.

    • S Emm

      I agree with you, but just because he is irrelevent now doesn’t take away the years of turmoil he brought. technically, nazis and the old school kkk are irrelevent now too but if they had a chance to be brought to justice, i’m sure we’d all be for it.

      But i see your point. I don’t think he’s number 1 on the war criminal’s list anymore. but he’s def top 10.

      • https://twitter.com/#!/mackaroto Jay

        But what about he Nazis and KKK members… THEY ARE STILL AT LARGE!!! Nobody cares though because there’s no viral vid for that. There are tons of domestic problems. There are tons of problems all over the world. I just hate that our momentum for change and problem solving is guided by the quality of a viral video. Not by anything logical like WHAT NEEDS ARE MOST PRESSING….or RECENT… or RELEVANT TO US… or TRUE for that matter. Thats why I say that we are easily led sheep. The winner in all of this is INVISIBLE CHILDREN. Sad, but good for them.

        • A Woman’s Eyes

          ” But what about he Nazis and KKK members… THEY ARE STILL AT LARGE!!!”

          Preach! There was no justice for Emmitt Till and the bombing deaths of the 4 little girls in Birmingham, Alabama! And its 2012!

          • Justmetheguy

            See, Jay and I are on the same page. I’m not gonna just sh*t on the ppl who are raising awareness. I admire them for trying, but like Jay said, once this gets old most of us will move on to something that actually entertains us rather than depressing and confusing us. I won’t even go into the KKK thing and who helped them operate, but you’re right, they’re still at large. I think the bottom line to why I’m yawning at this is that this type of sh*t is going on all over the world, and most of us feel quite powerless as well as overwhelmed. Plus our level of movement ADD is disturbing at best and flat out depressing/tragic at worst. Everyone needs to just pick ONE issue and research it EXTENSIVELY for months on end. Then they need to congregate with others who are passionate about that issue and do all they can to ACT on alleviating the people involved and resolving the issue. Afterwards they should raise awareness and possibly seek funding/support from the masses (only after they establish and communicate a clear goal to work towards). However, like Jay alluded to, there are just too many heinous tragedies occurring in just about every country for us to get involved (or even care for more than a few days) in all or even many of them. Pick one and see it all the way through. The documentary is a good start, I’m just curious as to why this one became the most viral video ever…

        • Sassy

          What evidence do you have that ‘nobody’ (read: zero) cares (read: is not pursuing apprehension & prosecution) about the kkk & nazis criminals at large?

          • Justmetheguy

            ” What evidence do you have that ‘nobody’ (read: zero) cares (read: is not pursuing apprehension & prosecution) about the kkk & nazis criminals at large?”

            So u have evidence that they are?

            • http://www.mysasslife.com Sassy

              I would wager that I could find some (read: at least 1) cause, case, organization, effort to that effect.

              Are you a betting man?

    • Ro

      So after reading this i had to go and actually “watch” the video…. b/c the 1st time around I “listened” to it while I was cooking dinner. I didn’t see any of the visual whatsoever… I clicked play and went to finish poaching my salmon. *shrug*

      So if this guy was inspired by a lil boy he met years ago and now has the means/funds/support/or whatever to try to gain this massive amount of support, more power to him.

      People are so cynical….. so I didn’t know anything about Kony last week. I also didn’t know that Ben and Jerry’s is giving a free ice cream cones on April 3rd, or that my sister might be flying out to help me drive from Orlando to Dallas. I had no idea who J.Lin or what the devil Linsanity was, or anything about Romney…….. just wasn’t in my bubble.

      Then my bubble was burst and now I know all of the above. Instead of being consipiracy theorists, naysayers, ‘haters’, critics, complainents….. if you think you can bring global issues to the forefront of young minds in a better way than the IC did for their KONY 2012 campaign….I suggest you get cracking. And just like them, I’ll share your video on my fb page and contribute to the dialog.

  • Iceprincess

    Good post P. I agree its not only about kony, per say,but raising awareness & dropin knowledge on these youth thru social networking. I even saw a “stop kony” graffiti scrawled on the train wall yesterday. Brought a smile to my face.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      awareness is the key to life.

    • Eps

      And that is the power of the video and its viral message.

  • The Other Jerome

    I totally agree with your pet peeve on the “Why do you care now, where were you then…” types. If you ever undertake an effort to fund-raise, the first thing you must realize is that people are predisposed to not giving a sh*t… until you put it right in front of their face. What type of sense does it make to chastise someone for not being up on something that is outside of their “Universe”?
    Therefore, when you pitch a concept or push for someone to join your movement, you always pitch it in a way that allows for someone to “easily” become included.
    People who wag their fingers and complain stating “why are you just now interested in this? Where were you such and such years ago…” Must have never even attempted to organize a protest, or raise awareness on an issue, or register voters, or even start a kickstarter campaign.

    That said, there may be some questions about “Invisible Children”. Many raised by Ugandans themselves. However, i must say i very much like what the KONY campaign is attempting to do. And i have no problem with the way IC allocates it money. Yes they only give 30 something percent to relief efforts. The rest is allocated for media, Overhead and lobbying. It’s the lobbying concept i love, because THATS how you get things done in this country!
    You want to affect policy in this country, you either have to put pressure on Politicians through their constituency, vote a new group of politicos in, or Lobby the current set in DC…… and that takes money; tons of it! (as Panama said, this is exactly NOT what Occupy Wall Street does. Thanks for blowing all that change energy folks)
    Of course IC is lobbying Washington to use the US army as a sort of “Dog the Bounty Hunter” group in order to bring this guy to justice. This whole thing is fascinating really…….

    • Mo-VSS

      I 100% agree with the first paragraph of your statement (didn’t read the rest as carefully because I was too excited about the initial statement). I used to organize for worker’s rights and when you say people are predisposed to not caring, you’re right. Even when it does have something to do with them or those in their universe.

      I don’t know why people think that being genuine doesn’t coincide with learning about something once someone has brought awareness to you. I don’t have time to learn about every issue under the sun but if someone presents it to me in a way I can understand and causes me to want to learn more, then they’ve done a powerful thing. People who have never organized or participated in a movement tend to underestimate the effort that it takes to make that happen.

      • andromeda

        I do understand that they are a lobby group and Jason has repeatedly stated that they are not a charity or NGO organization.

        Why is it important to raise awareness in America? Is it because he believes that only American interference in the situation will capture Kony. The American forces tried and fail BTW.

        Who should ask for military intervention in a sovereign country? The Ugandan people or the IC?

        I did not like the video and i do not support the campaign at all. Because, having gone to Kamapla, Uganda last week, all this awareness ain’t changing anything for them anyway. They have more to worry about than Kony. So why don’t we just say this video was for Americans (clearly stated in their agenda) than for the Ugandan people especially the child soldiers who are now young adults are being reintegrated into their communities.

        • https://twitter.com/#!/mackaroto Jay

          Exactly. And THIS is what is wrong with simply “caring” about an issue once its put in your face. When its “put” in your face, the person that “put” it in your face can tell you ANYTHING, and if its compelling enough or involves children then you will probably buy it. Buy it whether its true or not… buy it without knowing all of the facts. This is why the world hates us. We live in our bubble and then when some organization makes a viral video we jump on it wholesale without INFORMING ourselves. We just feign interest. If we were really interested in whats going on in the world then we would have known about this without help from a 3rd party like I.C. We all know that this will be completely forgotten in two weeks and you will be hard pressed, as usual, to find ANY American that gives a f*ck about Uganda.

          • Around the Way Girl

            This is true for most people. Americans are pretty lazy and disinterested when it comes to political and social issues. However, if you show this video to enough people, you’re gonna catch many who really do have the passion and the desire to learn more and stay involved. The whole country doesn’t have to be uber committed and doing all the groundwork, but if you keep it on people’s minds, there will at least be support and a platform for those who have dedicated themselves to the cause to actually get something done. I got the sense that the IC wants most of all for people to show the video and spread the word, much more than they were asking for money or any real sacrifice on our parts. And this is with good reason. Again, awareness is the key. You can’t do sh!t without it.

            • Mo-VSS

              Thank you. Very well said.

          • A Woman’s Eyes

            One of my pet peeves about those compaigns that request our money and time is the lack of follow-up. We are not updated on where our money went, whose life was saved or what political system changes have happened to prevent genocide from happening again in that country.

            This is why I know it is more than attention and money and Facebook likes. It is about putting pressure on the people who CAN change things in that country to give political power back to the people of that country.

            Otherwise, what is the point in replacing one dictator with another “democratic” world power who tells the country what to do and takes that country’s natural resources for themselves?? (oil! oil! oil!)

        • Mena

          “Why is it important to raise awareness in America? Is it because he believes that only American interference in the situation will capture Kony. The American forces tried and fail BTW.” B/c whenever America gets behind something, the rest of the world follows. This is just simple truth. We have so much wealth, political capital, and resources here that this is the best place to start. America is at the top of the free world. It just is what it is. You can ask France, Germany, Spain, etc but it won’t have the same effect. Now if the entire EU got behind this, that would be cool too but you are essentially asking for 20+ different approvals when you can come to America and just ask for 1 yes.

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

          If I’m not mistaken, and feel free to correct me here as maybe all of the research that i looked into is completely wrong, but aren’t they aslo building schools in Uganda? Isn’t that them doing something on the ground?

          • Sassy

            Yes they’ve already built the schools.

    • GypsyCurl

      ” “Why do you care now, where were you then…” types. If you ever undertake an effort to fund-raise, the first thing you must realize is that people are predisposed to not giving a sh*t… until you put it right in front of their face. What type of sense does it make to chastise someone for not being up on something that is outside of their “Universe”?”

      Coming from someone (me) who has made it her life goal to be a philanthropist, i think this type of criticism can be legitimate. Spike Lee’s message to WAKE UP means to educate yourself. Stop the not giving a S&$! Stop using the I-didn’t-know-therefore-you-can’t-blame-me excuse. Stop waiting for someone like the Invisible Children to feed you knowledge. To a certain extent, we have control over what we know. Especially since we are living in a time where information is very easy to acquire from the internet.

      This type of criticism is not legitimate when it is stated by someone who does not have the intention of participating in any type of social issue. They are simply being negative and destructive for their own personal reason. They are essentially “tea pots calling the kettle black”….hypocrits.

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

        and you know, i’m glad you mentioned this. i think that’s the crux of my point.

        even on this site we get a lot of people who criticize for the sake of criticizing who ain’t gonna do sh*t to make a change anywhere. i know people liek that in real life and it pisses me off to no end. if you’re gonna complain about everything than shut the f*ck up and do something about it instead of talking.

        i realize even that this blog and many like this could be construed as doing just that (first time I’ll probably ever outright agree with Obsidian), but there are things I’m personally working on behind the scenes specifically to use this blog to do something to exact actual change for that very reason.

        that’s why i like what they’re doing. they have a platform adn they’re getting the most out of it. i respect that.

    • Around the Way Girl

      “It’s the lobbying concept i love, because THATS how you get things done in this country!”

      Yeah, that’s going to be what makes this organization successful, as long as they have the support from the public.

      You’re into community organizing, aren’t you? I dabbled a little; that sh!t is exhausting, but it is so necessary. Hats off to community organizers.

  • That Ugly Kid

    While I sympathize with the situation, I will say this. As cold-hearted as this sounds, America. Comes. First. Period. Last time I checked, people here are struggling to find jobs, people are losing jobs, our economy is f*cked up, gas prices are outrageous, etc. It’s about to be Spring/Summer time pretty soon, which means cities like Chicago, Detroit, NYC, etc will once again top “Most Dangerous” lists because n*ggas out here with no life and no future will just sit on corners and by liquor stores looking for an excuse to kill someone now that school is out.

    I could go on. Point is, how can we help someone else when we need so much help, here, in our own backyard. Again, I applaud IC for their efforts and surely Kony must be stopped, but not before we get ourselves back on track. Yes, hooray, we’re helping other people by giving them our already diminishing resources. Pat on the back, good for America. But who’s helping us? No one. Once we fix the USA, then we can go play superhero.

    • Thai

      Agreed. We have invisible children right here on American soil.

      • Innovative21

        Apparently you should make a powerful video.
        (I think that’s the point of this post) this IC methodology was indeed brilliant. No matter how many holes can be poked in their cause, they have managed to find a way to educate many many folks about something they wouldn’t have given 2 excrements about. If you really believe our benefit lies in staying here at home, take notes and DO something. Otherwise, you just talkin….and posting in vain

        • Around the Way Girl

          Word.

    • Mo-VSS

      I do agree with this. Much of the citizens of the US buy into the notion that if you’re struggling it’s because you want to. Period. Even with millions out of work, struggling for day-to-day survival, folks still have the “McDonald’s is always hiring” notion. As if that’s the answer.

      You can’t address what you won’t acknowledge. That’s always been and will always be the chief problem in fixing what’s wrong in the US.

      • MH

        I’m also on board. I live in what some people call a “struggling neighborhood;” I see kids get recruited into gangs all around: boys turned into killers and girls to whores. I work hard to make things better, but there’s only one of me; I have yet to go through a four-month period without a murder happening within blocks of my home. The smartest and brightest, the ones with most potential, are the first ones we lose.

        Do we need to do something about this guy because his evil has a face and a name? You bet. Do we need to do even more something about the faceless and nameless evil that’s taking our kids right on our own streets? Damn sure we do.

      • http://asiyah3.wordpress.com Asiyah

        “I do agree with this. Much of the citizens of the US buy into the notion that if you’re struggling it’s because you want to. Period. Even with millions out of work, struggling for day-to-day survival, folks still have the “McDonald’s is always hiring” notion. As if that’s the answer.”

        And that’s MY pet peeve. I think that’s why so many people are critical of the Kony 2012 campaign. They feel it will continue that kind of mentality of “well, let’s just kill Kony. problem solved!” I personally don’t know how I feel about IC’s “campaign,” because it’s not about me and my opinions anyway.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      I agree with you. I’ve long been one of those people who’s felt like I’ll worry about the rest of the world when we take care of the problems here in America.

      Here’s the ONLY issue with that. I’m not the one creating this campaign. They did. So unless I want to say bump this campaign and then go out and make as equally compelling one and spend all of my time and resources to fix the hood, which I’d wager very few of us are actually doing, then I don’t have much room to complain. He took on this campaign b/c it was personal for him. That’s how most movements get started. Hell, that’s how America’s most Wanted, the show, got going. I cant fault him for feeling compelled to want to work there.

      Also dont downplay how little some people know about how bad it can be here. There are literally people I work wtih who find it completely ludicrous that there would be starving and hungry people in America. The abundance most of us know in relation to the world puts blinders on for many people who never get a perspective shift if they never leave their comfort zone.

      Again, awareness.

    • Around the Way Girl

      “Once we fix the USA, then we can go play superhero.”

      First rule of community organizing; you need to target a SPECIFIC issue for people to organize around.

      This is what this IC org did. They found a problem, and they proposed a specific solution. Get Kony. Once we get Kony, we can possibly fry bigger fish and make REAL changes. But you have to focus on one thing and take care of that first. This is how you become empowered as an organization. Now to your point, how are we going to “fix” America? What specific issue can we point out to the American people that will tug their heartstrings and get them invested enough to unite and do something? There are many places to start, and it is possible. Someone just has to do it. We could take the IC organization’s exact model and apply it here; and if this Kony thing is successful, I bet we’ll see it more and more. What this organization is doing is very innovative and commendable, imo, and it’s not fair to knock them just because the cause they chose to target isn’t the one you would have chosen.

      • That Ugly Kid

        How am I knocking what IC is doing? I’m not. I’m not saying that IC’s approach or even its cause is bad. But America comes first. We have enough problems to handle here, in this country. Why add another one? That’s like asking for seconds at the dinner table when you still have a plate full of food. Let’s eat what we already have first before we go looking for more food. Basically, putting the problems of Ugandans should not come before the problems of the American people.

        Let’s say we do help Uganda, stop Kony. Amazing! Awesome! Do you feel good about yourself? You feel special now that you helped “save” Uganda? Hooray, right? Now take a look out of your own window. See, that homeless guy? Still homeless. Your neighbor? Still mourning the death of her 11 year old son who was murdered. That nice lady down the street who got laid off? Still jobless. See my point? Our own problems get worse everyday, but who cares right? As long as we can feel good about ourselves for saving the poor, helpless Ugandans.

        • Around the Way Girl

          So again, HOW are we going to fix it? That was a real question. I’m hearing a lot of complaining (this isn’t just directed at you) with no substance behind it. We’re just sitting on our @sses whining about Pookie n nem not getting enough attention. Why don’t we take some cues and start thinking productively and innovatively, rather than just negatively?

          • That Ugly Kid

            Do your research. There are already groups and organiztions out there dedicated to helping people in urban environments as well as other Americans. People trying to fix America. They just haven’t gotten the attention IC has gotten. That’s one of their problems. If people CARED about the situation, then they’d research ways and organizations that set out to fix said problem instead of casually stumbling upon a video describing it. The fact that you, yourself, even asked “how” to fix America proves this.

            Just because these local organizations don’t have a viral video on Youtube doesn’t mean they are just sitting on their “@sses” doing nothing. Even the daycare I work at would make “Pray For Peace” T-shirts and both the staff and the kids would walk for blocks, marching and chanting about peace and the likes throughout all these dangerous neighborhoods. People ARE doing something out here only to be ignored. So our complaints about “Pookie n em” not getting attention are completely valid.

            • Around the Way Girl

              You have to MAKE people care. There’s a science to organizing that I could go on about, but I don’t have enough time at the moment. The point is, IC chose an issue that they wanted to address, and they did what they needed to do to captivate people’s attention. That’s the only way you get anywhere, and we need to be thinking about how we can take what they did and use it for our own gain instead of all this meaningless yapping about what we WISH was being done.

              IC had the resources to put together a great video and get it circulating on the web, which I think is a genius way to go about it, but that’s not the only way to do it. Those organizations you mentioned, if their goals are to expand and get widespread support, they need to get out into the community and make what they’re doing not only known, but respected and deemed necessary. You have to engage people’s emotions; get them angry or sad or excited in some way, and then find an issue for the community as a whole to take action toward. Like I’ve said, you have to take things ONE ISSUE AT A TIME to create a successful and empowered organization. And what a lot of you guys are talking about are problems, not issues. Problems are general and sweeping, like violence in a community, for instance (or racism, imperialism, and a lot of the other stuff people are mentioning); issues are specific and smaller, like having police patrol an area better, or getting rid of dangerous abandoned buildings. To be viable and able to actually get problems fixed, a community organization has to always be tackling ISSUES; otherwise, the org will remain stagnant and eventually die due to a lack of motivation by its members. All problems are made up of a bunch of issues, and if people see an organization successfully addressing those issues, they will be motivated to keep working at it.

              We’ve already established that there is a lack of knowledge in this country, and that includes our own communities. You have GOT to inform people effectively- by making things both real and urgent to them- and if you’re not doing that, then whatever it is you are doing isn’t going to go much further than exactly where it is. Sounds like yall expect people to just know what’s going on, or be able to just recognize when an injustice is taking place, and that’s not the world we live in. Like I said, take notes from IC and MAKE these mofos care.

              • dokus

                Great comment and explains everything well, as to how to go about organizing. The truth is all the criticism toward this campaign are proof positive of why things always fail in attempts to stop violence in neighborhoods. People a) don’t care. b) focus on far reaching general goals (stop the violence, love yourself). and c) get caught up in communal resentment and racial insecurity as some of the criticisms of this campaign shows.

                The people criticizing this campaign are the same ones who do nothing or are resentful at the success of this thing. EITHER way this whole thing will be forgotten in a month though there may be a growth in the number of people who will know about it and a slight bump in those who care and can be called upon to pressure politicians again.

  • MsPackyetti

    Agreed that the last criticism holds little merit. No argument from me-people have various passions and one of the benefits of social media is that you can learn about that which you don’t already know or pursue information about regularly. It’s why I like StumbleUpon. Im not going to regularly google tasty recipes for cranberry orange muffins, but best believe the boo tore them up this weekend, so thanks for the new new, interwebs.

    My issue is the fallacies and half-truths in the messaging. SENSATIONALISM is going to go viral for people, mostly regardless of the format. It was a red flag to me when most of the voices we heard on this (via YouTube, Facebook and Twitwit) were white, western and/or totally domestic. Now we’re hearing from Ugandans, NGO leaders in the area, and those peace workers actually still engaged in this fight about things IC never told us. Kony hasn’t lived in Uganda for years. The US has tried multiple military interactions only to not catch him (thus, stop making it look like the US is just ‘scared’). Simply “bringing awareness” isn’t actually what Uganda needs right now-they need support for rebuilding efforts. And you know who’s saying that? UGANDANS and NGO leaders from the country. Similar to the fact that we’re not crying “Arrest Michael Brown (former head of FEMA),” the right and necessary thing is to continue to yell “rebuild NOLA” and to thusly put our time and resources there.

    And all of this from an organization that encourages the Ugandan army, which is still accused of raping and pillaging that nation. Im not mad that people are now interested. I’m mad that people fall for the okey-doke so quickly and don’t do the research before they hash tag damn near anything.

    • MsPackyetti

      Just to be clear: Kony does need to be stopped, but what will truly help the Ugandan people is investment in the rebuilding of their country and the protection of their citizenry from ALL misfortune-not just Kony.

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/reality-check-with-polly-curtis/2012/mar/08/kony-2012-what-s-the-story?newsfeed=true

      • A Woman’s Eyes

        Yes

      • dokus

        So than you have nothing to criticize than. All these things you’ve mentioned: the need to invest and rebuild Uganda and all that are things that you’re able to share on this blog to these readers thanks to this campaign. The point of the campaign was to get people to know about the LRA and the organization has been at it for years so they succeeded, if only for a short while to grab the world’s attention and educate them about it. Now the focus can go on putting pressure on Mussevini to treat his people right (and step down), treat the Buganda right and all that other stuff.

        The campaign’s goal was to get the word out and it did. I’ve known of this issue for years mainly due to being an international news junkie. The international criminal court has a warrant on Kony, so the world has known of him. This blog (though it’s not its niche) would never have talked about this if not for this campaign. Most won’t do anything outside of tweeting it and will forget about it in a month, but IC still did a great thing in getting people to know about it…….which they could have freely known about just by reading the economist or the times at any point in the last decade.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      I feel you. I truly do. And I agree, sensationalism isn’t the most positive way to go. But if the message gets to the right people, and let’s be real, the people truly paying attention might get caught up in the video but they are likely to google and go find out more information. This has relevance written on it, not ignorance.

      And from what I gathered IC is doing its part to build schools and the like. YOu can argue that’s not enough. But you can also argue that very few of us have built sh*t to help out any body else’s cause either. I don’t know you personally so that’s not directed at you, but my point is, at least they are making an attempt to create awareness right?

      • MsPackyetti

        Lol. Nothing taken personally (especially since I’m a former teacher and work for an education non-profit, so social justice is my life’s work…)

        I feel you back. And I’m glad to hear that they are helping in rebuilding-never would I argue that’s not enough. I believe in people adding to the greater cause at hand, period. No arguments from me.

        What disturbs me is the potential cost-benefit analysis of the harm they are doing/can do vs. the good that comes. To me, continuing to support a president and national army that commits war atrocities (including the abduction, creation of child soldiers and mass rapes) outweighs–if not negates–the good you’re doing. And it seems there’s a solid chance that money going to IC is still going to support that. That gives me great pause and inspires deserved skepticism.

        Plus, I worry about simple awareness as an end game. A) we now know this awareness is outdated, and people are actually becoming aware of old information…but more importantly, B) awareness to what end? It seems the point is simply to support IC with my money. And again, I’m skeptical of that, for sure.

        Working at a non-profit means I have to be more discriminating about my funds :)

    • Around the Way Girl

      “Simply ‘bringing awareness’ isn’t actually what Uganda needs right now-they need support for rebuilding efforts. And you know who’s saying that? UGANDANS and NGO leaders from the country.”

      Where is this support gonna come from though? You have to start somewhere, you can’t just tell people, “Hey, we’re F-ed up over here, give us your money.” You’ve got to get people invested first. Have them watch a video about innocent kids that brings a tear to their eye. Get their ears to perk up a little when they hear something about Kony on the news. Now, you have interest. Add an actual success to that (which hopefully will happen, we’ll see), and you get even more support because now people believe in what you’re doing. Now you can do more. These things have to build.

      • MsPackyetti

        But if you’re bringing awareness to the wrong thing, what good does that do? Bring awareness to the atrocities occurring in Uganda, yes. But it seems that the more purposeful goal is not “StopKony” but “#RebuildUganda.” Make THAT the tagline.

        And I get it. The classic “get the bad guy” trope is much more sexy–that’s more compelling than the long work it takes to rebuild, but if you’re going to raise awareness, then do it of the reality, and not just what compels people.

        Nothing’s wrong with bringing awareness if you’re making people aware of the right things and inspiring productive action.

        • Around the Way Girl

          “Rebuild Uganda” is way too broad. People hear that and get overwhelmed. You keep it at “Stop Kony,” with “Rebuild Uganda” in mind, and you take your opportunities to do more once you are in a position to do so.

          And what about the information they presented is wrong (and in not factual)? That’s a real question, I’d honestly like to know.

          • Around the Way Girl

            *as

            • MsPackyetti

              Don;t know if you had the chance to look at the Guardian UK link I placed upthread, but that’s the best and most accessible collection of information to answer your question at the end…points to the inaccuracies (the fact that Kony hasn’t been in Uganda in a while, the fact that the US has tried military intervention to capture him more than once) and the harm that can be had by making people “aware” of outdated info. http://visiblechildren.tumblr.com/ is a good resource about IC’s questionable financial priorities. (I put more stock in the first link than I do the second, though, simply because the sources are more diverse and arguably reputable overall.)

              And I def. see your point about the fact that “rebuilding” is too broad. That was just a quick musing on my part. You’re right–the masses need simple action items. I just would hope they’d be the right, informed ones not based on fallacies and inaccuracies.

              • Around the Way Girl

                I feel you, thanks for your response. I’m glad you included these links; I only had a minute to glance just now, but once I sit down and get into them I can see that they’ll help me form a more educated and well-rounded opinion about this org.

                • MsPackyetti

                  Good chattin + thx for the food for thought :)

  • kid video

    I think we found Don Cheadle’s next award winning/nominated role…

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      Don Cheadle stays working doesn’t he?

      • MsPackyetti

        This might be the most on-target call of all…

  • http://panamaenrique.wordpress.com Malik

    Kony 2012 is going to end up doing far more harm than good. Any type of activism from outsiders that does not even attempt to integrate the people that they are supposedly trying to help is not worth a damn. It’s just white liberal guilt masturbating and crying (crocodile tears) at the same time to me.

    • andromeda

      Co-sign + 1000 times!

    • SheWhoMustBeObeyed

      I’m going to just go ahead and cosign here.

      Case Study: Libya is about to slide into civil war (again). And if it does, it’s going to last for a while because nobody cares about Libya now that Ghadaffi is dead. The city of Benghazi has recently declared autonomy from the rest of the country, and the NTC has hinted that they will use force, if necessary to stop Benghazi (which is an oil rich area) from pursuing autonomy. The NTC has been accused severally of extra judicial killings of black African workers in Libya. People that lived in Pro-Ghadaffi areas of Libya are being persecuted/tortured. The country is flooded with weapons that were given to the rebels by NATO to help bring down Ghadaffi. Now that he is dead, no one can account for who/where/what these weapons will now be used for. Some have simply vanished. Where is the outrage? Since NATO/NTC succeeded in killing Ghaddafi and arresting/killing his family, is Libya now a land of milk and honey? NO.

      We waste our (fleeting) attention pursuing things that bring more harm than good. In the case of the KONY meme, I do not support NGOs going to other countries and trying to shape the political discourse in such a public way. That is the role of governments, citizens and/or the UN. The stop KONY movement needs to know their place or get out of Uganda.

      • A Woman’s Eyes

        +1

        • Justmetheguy

          +2 And Panama I think she’s referring more to the end goal being to “Stop (read: kill) Kony” She’s saying we’ve seen this story before and when we thought it was over (and got bored with it) it only got worse. So what is the actual goal? Awareness? Killing Kony? Getting Americans to care? Rebuilding the country after he’s captured? I understand that we shouldn’t say “It won’t work, so don’t even try” because that’s a defeatist attitude, but it really does seem like they’re marketing the goal to be “Stop Kony” and we’re simply saying, that this is so much bigger than Kony that the people that don’t really care need to just keep it real and say they don’t. I’ll be honest and say that I don’t really care (I mean I do, but I might as well not, because realistically I ain’t gonna do sh*t about it), because I don’t think there’s anything that I could do. Not only that, but there are atrocities like this all over the world and if I stayed depressed about what’s going on I’d be ready to jump off a bridge for peace of mind. I help specific issues when I can, but I have my own personal issues that are more pressing right now. I’m happy that people want to care, but I don’t fully believe most of them. At least I don’t believe they care enough to do what is actually required of them in regards to this situation. If they do, I would encourage them to do way more research than simply watching the Kony 2012 documentary so that their efforts are worth the time and energy. That’s all

    • Todd

      You’re right, but also somewhat missing the point. Though you can say this about the good people at Invisible Children as well. The problem is we’re talking about an issue that can’t be reduced to cute short-hand. At least people are reading up on it though.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      Is that actually true though? Are we sure that they aren’t integrating the people they are trying to help? even in the video, the IC had a Ugandan woman as their director in Uganda. i’ll go back and see exactly what her job is, but i would find it hard to believe that they would totally be on some we’ll come and save your souls, kiss the ring , b*tches mentality. i didnt get that at all from the video and the research i’ve done.

      • Sassy

        Again. You are right. They have ‘offices in Uganda and the republic of Congo (that) are run by development professionals primarily from the war-affected region.’

        • Mena

          Sassy, you are staying on the facts. I have not been this disturbed by cynical conspiracy theorist…like ever. We are truly skeptical of anyone one or thing that tries to do good for a big group and will question it until we are blue in the face.

          • http://www.mysasslife.com Sassy

            Thank you for the acknowledgement Mena. I have just begun to address this level of cynical critics…I’ve just begun…

    • dokus

      Seriously? do more harm than good?
      More harm has already been done than you can ever imagine. I can understand criticizing them for asking for donations (and wondering where that money goes) but have you seen the gory stuff that goes on in that part of the world. I saw a video of the leftovers of the one of the LRA raids on liveleak more than six years ago (the video was recorded in the 90s) and have known of this for years . The ICC has a warrant out for his arrest so plenty of people knew about this and information was freely available to those who cared/were interested. All I can say is IC did a great job bringing this to the attention of the world.

      One of the hardest things for those trying to help is always to get people to understand or better yet know what is going on and more people now know about Uganda (that it exists to begin) and more importantly about Kony. Instead of all these critics going after IC why don’t they use their energy and the attention of the world to bring the full picture to light. a) Mussevini’s iron-fisted rule. b) spread of nodding disease in the region etc NOPE IT’S EASIER TO HATE ON THE WHITE MAN FOR DARING TO GET INVOLVED.

      All things considered IC succeeded in getting the word out, Uganda is going to stay bewildered though: it is passing laws to execute gays right now (which the population supports), it is going back on all the advances it made against fighting Hiv/Aids ect. This is IDI Amin’s country so hate and violence is nothing new to the place but IC is just one NGO dedicated to stopping child soldier’s in one region–Uganda and they got the word out.

  • http://eboniejohnsoncooper.com EbsTheWay

    @PJ….Yeah, I try to steer clear of political/ controversial sideshows. I too was like Kony….Oh. -__- Especially when I saw Bossip and Michael Skolnik(global grind) tweefing last week about this I just knew it wasn’t worth it.

    But I stand corrected. Invisible Children is a rad organization! I was introduced to them at the Stay Classy Awards last year and was floored by their 2011 campaign. When I met their creative guy Jebidiah Jenkins (yes, that’s his real name. And yes, I took a picture w/ him because his name is Jedidiah) he told me this year’s campaign was going to be sick. Well…he was right! So glad I know about it now!

    Thanks for bringing this to light and clarifying it for those of us who would have otherwise paid it no mind. Look at you all deep-like. \o/

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      I have my moments.