Kony 2012 Spreads the Word and Makes an Impact

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It’s not specifically Latino, but it’s incredibly human and worth your attention. To say too much more about the video would be to do it a disservice – and chances are you’ve sort of heard about it already – but it’s an amazing example of the internet striving to make a positive difference around the world. Much of what’s been said about internet driven activism – cough #occupy cough – is that it’s directionless and doesn’t have a goal. Here’s a goal: ending a legacy of horrible injustice and abuse in Africa at the hands of a terrifying criminal. What happens next with this “movement” remains to be seen.

Whatever your feelings about the organization Invisible Childrenwhich may not have a spotless record and is, to put it simply, promoting a military intervention in Uganda 0 it’s important to see what the internet is capable of: in a matter of hours, this video has gained incredible traction and is reaching its goal.

As for the inevitable cries of “armchair activism” and “bandwagon activists,” but the fact is

A) the video is a call for an actual, actionable course of action and
B) “bandwagon activism” isn’t really applicable, since the video is, in itself, a call for people to join and acknowledgement that, yeah, you probably didn’t know about this before.

Worth watching. Please do.

UPDATE: Our buddies at Latino Rebels have once more done an awesome job of breaking down the issues – here they tackle the questions that have immediately arisen in response to the #Kony2012 and #stopKony campaign, both in regards to Uganda and to the organization Invisible Children itself. As we mentioned above, it’s not all roses with this group, but the Rebels do a great job of going into detail with the problems.

As for me, as my initial reaction to the video dies down – and I still think you should watch it – a couple of thoughts come to mind:

  • Where are the internet videos about the injustices suffered by American children? Where’s the viral calls to begin a movement? I have no doubt that attempts have been made, but I’m often amazed at how much more successful humanitarian groups are at getting people to care about things that happen far away. An argument can be made that the crimes in the third world are much more severe, sure, but I’d respond that we don’t have to choose one or the other.
  • There’s an argument being made that this “movement” smacks of the White Man’s Burden, and that’s an issue, but the bigger one for me is that philanthropic efforts led by white people to help brown people have a staggeringly greater chance of doing well and finding a voice and going viral than philanthropic efforts led by brown people to help brown people; I’m less concerned that the efforts to help here are led by a white dude – who seems well intentioned, paternalism and White Man’s Burden be damned – than I am that people are only willing to listen when a white dude brings attention to an issue. After all, we’re already intervening militarily in the Uganda, but not many people know that, and when the announcement of our military involvement was made it was immediately met with backlash. But of course it was: the man who made the decisions and, later, the announcement was President Barack Obama.