There has been a lot of backlash toward the Kony 2012 video that has gone historically viral. Many of the complaints that I’m reading mention how the film doesn’t spend a lot of time discussing the entire story. The true story, though untellable in a single blog post, has several layers. There have been atrocities committed on both sides of the Ugandan conflict. There are indeed many aspects to this story that are not covered in the video. Still, I don’t think that makes this video wrong.
It brings awareness to something that many of us might not have known about. We can use it as a jumping off point to learn more about Uganda and Joseph Kony, and use that knowledge to influence the people in power to help. This is where I think the critics of the video get it wrong. Regardless of whether the video tells every aspect of a complicated story isn’t as important as the colossal awareness that is being brought forward. Joseph Kony wasn’t on the radar of our country’s leadership, but he most surely is now.
One aspect of the criticism that I do find to be valid is whether military engagement of Kony is a good idea. We’ve seen how military action aimed at taking out terrorists has worked in other parts of the world. In the end, a lot of innocent civilians lose their lives. That alone should give us pause before advocating military action.
At the end of the day, regardless of the complexities of this story, I see nothing wrong with bringing this man’s crimes into the light. Also, I see nothing wrong with criticizing the way in which his story was told. That is how we learn about the greater, nuanced story. That is how we can use our greater understanding to affect change in a positive way.
There has been a lot more come out about who funds Invisible Children, the group behind Kony 2012. The reaction of the Ugandan people regarding the Kony 2012 video should also be taken into account. I do wonder about the motivation of the people behind the video. Most troubling, it appears that many of the donors to Invisible Children promote homophobic hate speech. I do not support that, and certainly won’t give money to an organization that promotes that. I have not, and don’t plan to, give money to Invisible Children. Nevertheless, I don’t see Invisible Children promoting anti-gay and homophobic ideology. At least that is the case with the Kony 2012 video. I do think Joseph Kony needs to be brought to justice, and I don’t see that as being a point of contention.