kony 2012 is not a campaign for a presidential candidate. if you haven’t seen the popular video produced by the non-profit invisible children, joseph kony was the leader of the lord’s resistance army, a rebel group that allegedly recruited child soldiers in northern uganda. despite the video going viral and yielding invisible children millions of dollars in donations in just a few days, many northern ugandans weren’t privy to the “stop kony” video and its accompanying social media sensation.
we can deduce the following from the above al jazeera clip capturing reactions to the video: 1.) invisible children did not consult the very people whose struggle their video proclaims to depict and 2.) the organization didn’t have the decency to host a showing in northern uganda, an area with limited internet access.
what’s more problematic is the paternalism and savior mentality exemplified by non-profits like invisible children. many were created to “fix” problems in the underdeveloped world from afar; however, the white men who lead the organization are not ugandan citizens and arguably have forged little connection to the country’s culture or an understanding of its people’s needs. in fact, if this connection had been present, then the non-profit would have taken leadership from northern ugandans when making the video which has since been highly criticized by the people (see the video) and certain media outlets. the guardian, colorlines, al jazeera, and black agenda report have all done worthy stories on the issue, providing balanced views on the ugandan military and leadership who have also been accused of recruiting child soldiers and committing atrocities against its citizens.
in an era where facebook reigns supreme and many youth get their news from twitter hashtags, it’s necessary to think before we re-tweet (note to oprah, rhianna, and lady gaga). invisible children’s video and accompanying merchandise are voyeuristic propaganda that exploit people’s suffering. how much of the proceeds will really benefit ugandans, those who need jobs and basic necessities, not stop kony 2012 t-shirts?