NOTE: This is a guest blog post from John Travis, co-founder of Drop in the Bucket.
By now you have all most likely seen the Kony 2012 video and I’m guessing you have also been exposed to the media firestorm that has ensued.
For the most part, viewers seem to be divided into two groups. On one side there are those who have known about this situation for years and were upset at some of the oversimplifications and the way some of the facts were presented. The other side seems to be mainly made up of people who had little or no knowledge of the LRA prior to seeing the video and were angry at people coming across as overly critical about people trying to do something positive.
It is difficult to be impartial about any situation that involves children being brutalized, raped, kidnapped, forced to fight and brainwashed at the hands of an insane murderer wanted for crimes against humanity. But, what seems to be absent from the discourse is an objective point of view.
This blog is an attempt to address that.
Answering some of the criticisms of the video
Lets start with the detractors. Many of the charges leveled against Invisible Children — the charity behind the video — were unfair, and some were out and out ridiculous. Some bloggers were making comments such as, “This was all paid for by big oil, who only care about Africa because of its vast oil reserves.” This kind of accusation could only come from someone unaware of the Invisible Children organization.
First of all, Kony 2012 was not Invisible Children’s first video, in fact, far from it. They have actually been producing videos for years of different styles and with varying degrees of success. What was different about this one was that the messaging was far better than previous attempts, and it resonated with people far more than any of their earlier videos.
One of Invisible Children’s previous videos had the founders of the charity dancing as if they were in a third rate boy band, and singing out of tune about how they are trying to change the world. That video alone disproves the conspiracy theory that sinister oil interests or big business was behind the organization. It also shows just how far they have come as communicators and filmmakers.
Now let’s talk about the people who recently got involved as a result of watching the video. Criticizing these newer supporters for jumping on the bandwagon is unfair to say the least. You can’t blame anyone for not knowing who the LRA and Kony were two months ago. Within the scope of Africa, Uganda is not a big country and the Central Africa Republic (where Kony actually is) is rarely in the news. I personally only became aware of the situation due to my work with Drop in the Bucket, an Africa water charity I co-founded. Over the last six years, Drop in the Bucket has constructed over 100 water wells and a number of sanitation systems in the Acholi and Lango sub-regions of northern Uganda. These are the exact areas where Kony and the LRA were most active during their time in Uganda.
Photo by Invisible Children
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