At first I thought the idea of this campaign was great because it was said to raise support and money to help assist those whose lives have been ruined by the L.R.A and all other rebel groups in the area. The campaign is funded and run by a company called ‘Invisible Children’ and the main idea of their cause is to make the leader of the L.R.A, Joseph Kony, famous. They aren’t aiming to make him famous for any positive reason though, and instead are trying to make people aware of his crimes in order to gain supporters to pressure the American government to continue giving help to the Ugandan army so they can arrest him. At least I though it was a good idea, until I researched more about the situation.
The Invisible Children Company attempted to raise awareness by taking to the virtual world, creating an online video and making it go viral all around the internet. The video features a co-founder of the Invisible Children Company, Jason Russell, who narrates and explains his personal experiences with the victims of Joseph Kony’s rebel efforts. It also highlights the worst of the crimes Joseph Kony has committed, and why it is important the American government continues to support the Ugandan army despite Kony having been dormant for the past 10 years.
By putting a face to both the good and bad sides of this struggle, the Invisible Children Company managed to build up a mass of supporters willing to help the campaign. However, despite all the good putting faces to good/bad had done, it also has put the campaign at a setback. When people living in America heard the name Kony, they thought of all the information given to them by the video and how the Invisible Children Company had done so much to help the people of Uganda. The actual victims of Kony thought differently. The 30 minute viral video was shown in Northern Uganda for the first time, and sparked outrage amongst the crowds. Scuffles broke out and many were baffled by the idea that Invisible Children aimed to make Kony famous, as his fame would only remind them of the pain they felt when his crimes first began.
The video also affected the Ugandan tourism industry, causing outrage amongst those who aim to create money and job opportunities for all citizens. Foreigners began to cancel their visits to the already tourist deprived country and started contacting the tourism officials inquiring if the country was safe to visit. The Invisible Children Campaign video suggested that Kony was still affecting the country and therefore made people question their safety if visiting. Many victims of Kony believe the video is a burden rather than a form of help and think the information in the video is manipulated to make Ugandan citizen’s situation worse than it actually is.
Personally, after hearing this information I think this campaign is doing more hurt than it is help. Arresting Kony would be a good thing, but isn’t worth the hype it’s been given. The Invisible Children company seems to have good intentions, but has been exaggerating the situation in Uganda and manipulating people to donate to their cause. A lot of the money donated by people to the campaign doesn’t even make it to Uganda, and is used to line the pockets of senior members of the Invisible Children Company. The money that does make it to Uganda has barely any effect on the life’s of victims of Kony’s crimes, and is instead used to help track him down. If the campaign was left to successfully continue it might’ve made an actual difference towards the state of Ugandan victims, but as of March 16th 2012, has been condemned by co-founder and video narrator Jason Russell.
On the 16th of March a white male was said to be streaking naked around the streets of San Diego. As police arrived on the scene, the man was said to have been found masturbating, pounding his fists against the ground and was tested to be highly intoxicated. When detained by police the man was confirmed to be Invisible Children co-founder, Jason Russell. Invisible Children has released a statement saying Russell was dehydrated, malnourished and exhaustion due to the extreme stress he has been under.
I think this act of public indecency is completely unacceptable and can’t be excused under the simple explanation of malnutrition. Jason Russell has tarnished the Invisible Children campaign and has jeopardised the efforts they have tried to make. The campaign has manipulated people into giving money towards a pointless cause that will only result in the lining of pockets of senior Invisible Children Company employees. The campaign has caused pain amongst Kony victims and will continue to cause unrest throughout all of Uganda. It would be unwise for the American government to continue supporting the Ugandan army in arresting Kony after the incident involving Jason Russell and shows that the Invisible Children Company has crushed all hopes that Kony will be arrested at all.
I think the Kony 2012 campaign is a complete and utter shambles.
Meltdown video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32PBZ870ymg