KONY 2012: Charity or War Profiteering?

There probably isn’t anyone left in the world who hasn’t seen the KONY 2012 video, a video spreading awareness about the ugandan war criminal Joseph Kony and his use of child soldiers. In case you’ve been living under in a sound proof bunker for the last month heres the 30 minute video

As you can see there is a clear problem that something has to be done about, I mean theres no question of it. Did you see that video? Were all awful people for ignoring this terrible crime. But its okay because thankfully Jason Russell is giving us the means to force change by, as he put it “Covering the night” on april 22nd with posters and stickers of Joseph Kony so that the american government knows that we are still interested in bringing him to justice. As most people did I watched the video and immediately afterwards posted it to spread the word as I thought I was doing my bit, however not long afterwards I began to question what I had just done. I had watched a video and accepted its facts, figures and claims at face value without any more knowledge than had just been presented to me.

Most people, as far as I could tell on facebook, stopped at this point and looked no further into it they had seen a video telling them they need to spread the word about this terrible man and so they had done this, as far as they were concerned they had done their bit. But then something else started to spread around the internet, almost as quickly as the original video, was the suggestion that maybe invisible children wasn’t doing as much good as we first thought. Statistics and figures about their profit through campaigns such as this starting flying around everywhere. The first article I read on the subject can be seen here, it tells how the organisation spent $8,676,614 with only 31% going to the actual charity. It also details how Jason Russell is looking for a military solution and not a peaceful one, apparently invisible children is directly funding the Ugandan government who themselves are not the most morally right military.


So here we are presented with an alternative point of view, and once again I feel inclined to spread this as its awful that through clever film making I have been manipulated into believing whatever facts are thrown my way! But then again is that not just what this article is doing as well? Have I not just been presented with some facts that I am to just believe? The honest truth is that when it comes to seeing and reading things on the internet we can never be sure if something is true or accurate unless we have collected the data itself. This is why I have chosen to not take one extreme or another’s point of view.

I think People are being far to quick to make a decision, whether it is that Jason Russell is a brilliant man who deserves to be praised for the amazing work he is doing or wether he should be ridiculed for his manipulation of the public with his use of social media. Whatever is to be said no one can deny he has done what he has incredibly, the video was put on vimeo 4 weeks ago and currently has 17.5 million views, on youtube where it was out up 2 weeks ago it has over 84 million. The current power of social media sites such as facebook and twitter, I believe, have more power than any tv channel, newspaper or advertiser.

It is now getting to the point where people are on social media sites and the internet in general more than watching tv or listening to the radio than ever before . This has been perfectly been taken advantage of the filmmakers of KONY 2012 with them encouraging to share on facebook or twitter the video directly after watching it (which can now be done in literally one click of a button). Even in this very post where I am claiming to not take a side I myself have shared the video because the moment I post this blog it links to my facebook and shows every one the link at the beginning of this post. We can’t even escape it,most of the time this is a good thing when it comes to awareness and the spread of ideas but perhaps when it comes to KONY 2012 it has been misused? As I have said its up to you and your interpretation of the facts.


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