Worldwide, there will be several presidential elections in 2012. In a season of elections, KONY 2012 is brilliant marketing, and although not presidential it has emerged as the most talked about campaign to date; even though the injustices have been happening for years...
Someone emailed me the "Get GCB Off of TV" petition this week. And I thought, "No thanks". Some things don't need protest. They just need to be ignored. To me, that's not injustice. It's just TV.
Then someone shared the KONY 2012 video. To me, this is raising awareness. It's just the Internet and the mechanics of social media. Applause. Applause.
When did awareness become change? Bracelets are not change. Slogans are not change. Sharing a video is not change. Campaigns are not change. All of these things are great marketing for mobilization . . .and big business. Awareness is important, but it's only part of the equation...
I reached out to a sister friend Anna Wimberly and this was her balanced reply:
So I have been doing my research, these are the sites I went to and below are some of my key thoughts.
1. The concept of creating a video that sparks such an "eye opener" to those who were completely blind to the situation, I think, is awesome. I myself was not aware of what was going on at all. While rebuilding Africa is THE most essential thing, what is the harm in bringing awareness to the western world?
2. After watching the video, I did a bit more research, and learned that Kony hasn't been in Uganda since 2006. HOWEVER does that mean that there SHOULDN'T be awareness and pressure put on those in positions of authority to go after his arrest and justice?
3. I LOVE that the people of Africa are extremely forgiving people who JUST WANT TO rebuild their lives. I can understand that they would perhaps feel that "their story" is not being told in full.
4. I think we need to keep in mind the mission of the organization and the fact that they are a media-based/awareness organization (which, let's face it, is needed in this day and age) that ALSO does work on the ground.
5. The response to this is more, I believe, than just young adults, who want to feel good about themselves. The sincerity of this generation demonstrates a desire to see justice served against those who do terrible things. They want to rally together for the common good.
6. As far as the $30 packet is concerned, I can see how marketing such a packet could be interpreted in many ways. It would have been excellent to involve the affected people as part of the process, even if only to make the bracelets. This way it would be viewed less like a "western savior" mentality and more like one that says, "don't do for the people what they can do for themselves" which in turn empowers the people from the ground up and makes for sustainable change beyond the presence of a "campaign." I was disturbed that not much of revenue from the "$30 packets" seemed to go back into the country.
7. If the goal is to simply bring awareness to politicians by letting them know the people of the world are aware, they could have attached a petition to the video, thereby applying the necessary pressure to keep this going past KONY 2012.
8. Further, they could have done an "on the ground" campaign for infrastructure, roads, schools, etc. My husband added that the Invisible Children went beyond a generic petition -- doing what most politicians do in a campaign -- raising the question, "Why don't we get just as 'up in arms' with the money spent on marketing during an election year, when those funds could go back into our own school or health system?"
So these are just some of my thoughts, I think the video has brought awareness, I think this shows what our generation IS capable of doing. But I'll end with this; at the end of the day, is bringing awareness to necessary justice a bad thing? There is a long list of war criminals, and we need to start somewhere at catching them. At least someone has discovered 'what breaks their heart' and is using their creativity, gifts and talents to reach an equally creative generation right where they are!
What do you think?
Follow Sonya Denyse on Twitter: www.twitter.com/SonyaDenyse