I posted earlier on Facebook and sparked quite a debate on the issue of Invisible Children and their Kony 2012 campaign. I received a number of replies and want to give them their full merit. I’ll post my original thoughts (which I stand by), and my defenses in the light of various comments and outside sources brought up. Essentially, I hope to enlighten everyone about the weaknesses of the foundation in bringing any meaningful change into Northern Uganda. That being said, if you still wish to back the organization, considering it at least is trying to get something done, I respect that as well.
To summarize my thoughts, everyone should know about the evils that Kony inflicts onto the people of Northern Uganda- he is undoubtably a tyrant and menace, and deserves to be deposed. This change, however, would be irresponsibly handled by Invisible Children. This is for a few reasons, and I hope to explain these fully.
They are famously secretive about their finances. Although they have released a statement found here and an infographic here, they refuse to report these statements to the Better Business Bureau The information needed is on pages 6 of the statement. I’d like to point out that there is obvious bias on the latter infographic favoring IC (obviously, it’s from their website). They spent only 2.8 million of their total 8.6 million dollar budget on charitable services. I’d like to point out that this is less than last year, even though their budget increased. I’d also like to point out that through promotion, production, and distribution, they spent almost 3.1 million on their documentary. (For those of you looking at their provided infographic and saying, “huh?”, I don’t blame you. Not only are they using half-2011 data and half-2010, but they also leave out a national tour promoting their movie from “film production”, and make the latter’s slice, which is twice as high a percentage as fundraising, look significantly smaller. The proportions are slightly if not significantly skewed.)
Thus, by all accounts, they are film company with a charitable dividend.
Regardless, they still propose that they can fix this conflict, and their primary strategy, as mentioned in this video, is a “strategic military operation” by the Ugandan People’s Democratic Force. This study shows that putting more power into the hands of this military force would be a bad idea. While we cannot say that they are “worse” than Kony and his cronies, they are still “bad.” I cannot advocate a movement that, rather than attempting to solve a problem, simply wants to relocate from the fire to the frying pan.
I simply aim to give perspective to this important issue. I am thankful to the documentary for revealing to the modern world important facts about Kony’s Brutality. However, I think that the production was biased to be the best film possible, and refused to acknowledge the corruption on the “good” side of this battle. The answer is not to fight violence with violence. The answer is not to give money to an organization that specializes in making movies, and to ask them to effectively end a conflict that multiple paramilitary operations have failed to stifle.
Here, instead, are some ways you can help responsibly and intelligently. Not as pretty a website, but some really compassionate people.
More information is all out there, please view me as one perspective on a bigger issue.
I’ve long considered starting a blog where I discuss things that I think are interesting and to which I may provide a valuable perspective. These things can include philosophy, politics and current events, music, and other things that interest me. I’ll aim each post to add a little credence to my posts by posting sources and other interesting ways to follow up.
The issue with invisible children and the Kony 2012 campaign has inspired me to finally bring this idea to fruition. I hate the idea of Facebook debates, and other things that use social media to scream opinions into people’s personal lives. I’d rather allow them to seek out my commentary if they think fit, and correct me in a private, civil manner if I am mistaken.
So. I guess I’m off. Whenever I feel like it (which will likely be inconsistent) I’ll blab on on this blog about some issue or another, or perhaps post a link I find interesting. I’ll likely see if I can get face bookers to ask me questions and all that, but I don’t aim to make myself some sort of celebrity. I just want to get my voice out there to some random internet browser (no pun intended).