Invisible Children and Kony 2012: should you support?
I’m like everyone else in the internet world. I woke up this morning, I got ready to get my day started and in my traditional morning Facebook check-in, I came across the words that have been blowing up all over social media websites like Facebook and Twitter: Stop Kony, Kony 2012 and Invisible Children. I came across this video, which explained the sensation, but I had to wait until I got out of work today to justify watching a half hour-long YouTube video.
I made sure one of the first things I did when I finally got home from work was watch the video. Like everyone else, I felt incredibly shocked, ignorant and angry about the things that were happening in the world that I had never been aware of. I wanted to act and I wanted to act fast.
But by the time I had finally checked into it, the video was seeing a few criticisms from naysayers and those who had done a bit of research into Invisible Children and its founders. Naturally, I gave these things a look over myself.
Then, I stopped and had a chilling thought: WHO CARES?
There’s a saying in this world that “no good deed goes unpunished.” These men, regardless of their indie, hipster attitudes, are striving to make a difference in this world. The fact that Joseph Kony’s crimes may have been exaggerated does not take away from the fact that he is a bad man enlisting young people to carry out hostile acts as vicious as killing their own parents — which, in case people have forgotten, is morally irresponsible and also a war crime as defined by the International Criminal Court.
I think it takes away from the message that people are trying to find holes in the organization.
Jason Russell, Ben Keesey and Laren Poole aren’t asking you to fill their organization with donations so that they can make a difference; they’re asking you to make the difference. They’re asking you to make Kony a celebrity for his reprehensible actions that have gone ignored for far too long. They’re asking you to spread a message that we, not only as American citizens but as human beings, care about the well-being of children on this planet and we want the U.S. government to keep their focus on capturing this horrible criminal.
What you do is up to you. You can support their cause however you want, either by donation to Invisible Children (or organizations like it) or simply by pledging to spread the word. However, the key message of the Kony 2012 is to support the cause.
I’m not suggesting anyone put their money anywhere without doing their research. I’m only suggesting that if you don’t get the Kony 2012 Action Kit, then at least make an effort to spread awareness and contribute to the cause in your own way.
Stop worrying that the world will end in December 2012 when Snooki’s baby is born. Start worrying about what will happen in December 2012 if Kony is not caught.
Side note: I’d like to offer some praise to three Central Michigan University students who are currently in The Hague this week speaking on the issue of child soldiering at the International Criminal Court Student Network conference. Not only is this a great opportunity for them to represent our country at an international conference, but they are doing their part to stay educated on the topic and stay involved. Kudos!
EDIT (3/8/12): This is Invisible Children’s response to the criticism. Draw your own conclusions on this, but I think the movement is still the most important message here.