The response to ‘Kony 2012’ has been amazing, but it’s not an example to follow

When the Kony 2012 video first popped up on my Facebook wall and I started to watch it, I only got a few minutes in.

“Who are you to end a war?” asks Invisible Children's Director, Jason Russell, of a star struck teenage girl, “Who are you not to?”, was, specifically, the point I got to first time round.

I tried again a few days later, following the crowd.

10 minutes in and I was still convinced that Russell Brand was going to leap on for a verse of African Child at any moment.

But he didn’t and I did get to the end, along with at least a few of the now hundreds of millions of people that started it.

A week and a huge amount of debate later, I’ve ended up being genuinely inspired by the response to the campaign – both in the amount of people that wanted to watch it and the discussion that has followed.

Firstly, the scale of the video’s attention has given millions of people a window into the ability of evil men like Joseph Kony to perpetuate their terrible influence.

We have to stand back and agree that, as Ugandan Prime Minister, Amama Mbadazi has said, the response to the video “has demonstrated the fundamental decency which unites in concern right-minded people throughout the world when we see innocent people suffering.”

Secondly, the debate has cast light on the complexity of politics in this region of Africa and the perhaps even more complex role of Western intervention in these politics.

Overall, we would hope that this success doesn’t reinvigorate an outdated, counter-productive method: use mass public awareness campaigns to make the world feel sorry for Africa as a helpless, hopeless mess.

Despite the articulate criticism contained in articles like Charlie Beckett’s LSE Polis post, many campaign organisations will still want to use ‘Kony 2012’ as more evidence of what happens when you go for the most emotional denominator: vast attention, vast new income and response at a governmental level.

2 thoughts on “The response to ‘Kony 2012’ has been amazing, but it’s not an example to follow

  1. I see it critical. The international human rights organisation Amnesty International is calling for years that Kony is transferred to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to face trial​​.

    Just like the case of the alleged war criminal Thomas Lubanga from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Mid-March, the ICC has found Lubanga guilty:
    As commander of the rebel group Forces pour la patriotiques libération du Congo (FPLC), he has 2002 and 2003 in the eastern region of Ituri, hundreds of children abducted and forcibly recruited under the age of 15 as soldiers. These crimes are punishable as war crimes under international law!

    The verdict is a signal to the perpetrators, but also an important satisfaction for the victims. The victims are entitled a victim compensation from the Court – for many the only chance to build a new life.

    This case shows how important it is that war criminals be brought to the International Criminal Court and charged. Only then will the victims really get justice at the end.

    It is not sufficient to know only the name of a war criminal and to condemn him in the run before. To defend human rights is work and it is not done purely with propaganda and publicity.

  2. I’m impressed, I must say. Really rarely do I encounter a blog that’s both educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head. Your idea is outstanding; the issue is something that not enough people are speaking intelligently about. I am very happy that I stumbled across this in my search for something relating to this.

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