Tag Archives: Kony 2012

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Followers of ‘Stop Kony’ lose motivation

By Michelle Eigenheer–

Two months after the Kony 2012 video went viral, the hype has died and Twitter feeds have since calmed down. Why is it that such a seemingly important humanitarian effort only mattered to people for a month or two?

There are a few reasons, the first being that the majority of people are followers, not doers. When a call-to-action video like the one produced by Invisible Children is released and goes viral, a lot of people watch it and want to be involved. However, the majority of these people are not self-starters. They won’t initiate action, and Invisible Children really didn’t offer that much in terms of offering ongoing help. You could share the video and buy the kit – that’s about it. So, of course people forgot about it. Whoever’s doing the PR for Invisible Children must not have really thought in terms of a future.

On top of this is that, while Invisible Children may very well be a heroic effort to reduce world problems, it’s still one of those organizations that survives on the fact that it’s “cool” to be involved with them. Like ‘To Write Love On Her Arms’ – a program with a great cause – this organization’s following is greatly made up by kids who want peace in Darfur but can’t point out the country on a map; they just know that it’s what everyone’s talking about. Don’t get me wrong, there are legitimate, caring, concerned people in these groups, but they are not the majority. Big campaigns are exciting to this group of followers, but they lose interest quickly as the fad moves on.

It probably doesn’t help the cause that Invisible Children is under some serious scrutiny as to what their funds actually work to achieve. A lot of people are criticizing the organization because they concentrate on making people aware of problems and don’t actually do anything to solve them. Also, viral videos of the founders of the company doing some questionable things came to light after the Kony 2012 campaign launched. One was of co-founder Jason Russell running through the streets of San Diego naked, vandalizing cars, masturbating in public while possibly under the influence of something. (I sure hope he was.) The San Diego police department arrested him, evaluated him and decided that he was in need of some medical aid.

Later, a statement was released by Invisible Children, explaining that he had been suffering from exhaustion, malnutrition and dehydration, triggering his meltdown.

Two weeks after this incident, a video emerged of Invisible Children’s Director of Idea Development, Jedidiah Jenkins, taking swigs from a bottle of Smirnoff vodka and bragging about how the organization had just won a million dollars and, “Here’s $100,000 for Haiti and $900,000 extra for me… Join the bandwagon.” While they later released a statement explaining that it was a “silly and unfortunate joke,” the video does lend some credibility to those who claim that Invisible Children mishandles their money.

Invisible Children may arguably do great things, but their 15 minutes of fame seems to be up. Did you know that they released a sequel to the Kony 2012 video? They did, but a significantly lower number of people seemed to care. The second installation has approximately 86 million fewer views than the original – everyone knows that the sequel is never as good.

Cartoon by Michael Layman/The Louisville Cardinal

meigenheer@louisvillecardinal.com
Photo courtesy KONY 2012

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‘Stop Kony’ video: Trending human rights groups

By Michelle Eigenheer–

The non-profit organization Invisible Children returned to the activist spotlight last week when their 30-minute video, released on March 5, went viral, seeming to instantly become a huge global movement. The video raised awareness of Joseph Kony, a man who spends his life kidnapping Ugandan children who are then forced to become child soldiers or prostitutes. The outrage at such a disgusting idea has pushed Kony into a place of infamy – #stopkony is trending on Twitter and the thirty minute film, called ‘Stop Kony,’ is flooding Facebook across the world.

Invisible Children’s website for the movement, kony2012.com, encourages people to join the movement and raise awareness. The website even contains links to directly tweet celebrities and prominent politic figures about Kony, without having to do any work – Just click ‘send’.

Invisible Children is an organization that deals mainly with advocacy and raising awareness in today’s youth. That’s great – It’s good that an organization wants the current up-and-coming generation to get involved and make the world a better place. Seriously, this generation needs more of that and social media alone tells us that the Kony 2012 campaign is having an impact. Friends and followers alike are calling for action from U.S. leaders in order to put an end to Kony’s war crimes.

However, a large number, if not the majority, of these new activists are the same people who have spent the last 10 years screaming at the government for their involvement in the Middle East. For several years, people, like former president George W. Bush, have been openly criticized and attacked for trying to piece together devastated countries, such as post-Hussein Iraq. Opposition has repeatedly questioned why the United States is devoting money, tim, and military to help other countries when “there are big problems here.”

Well, sure, there are big problems here. There have been for a long time. Why, then, has this standard changed with the Kony movement? There are still a large number of unemployed people in the US, still a War on Drugs, still street violence and prostitution, still illegal immigration and child abuse. Did domestic problems become less important because an organization that appeals to young people launched a movement that says, “Stop at nothing??”

One of the “Policymakers” that Invisible Children urges supporters to contact via Twitter is George W. Bush himself. Why is it okay to ask this man, who has been openly criticized for his actions overseas, to advocate for another overseas endeavor? If I were Bush, I would have more than a few choice words for someone who badmouthed my name because of my action in the Middle East, only to turn around and ask for my help for a similar matter.

It is not at all a bad thing to want Joseph Kony to be apprehended by the International Criminal Court, who has been after him since 2005. Joseph Kony deserves to die a horrible death, preferably at the hands of his victims – That’s what Saddam Hussein got. But it is not okay to have a double standard when it comes to issues such as this. People like to forget that conflict in Iraq took place to overthrow a leader who killed his own people based on which kind of Muslim they were and to establish a government that would never again let that happen.

Tragedy happens all over. How can this genocide be more important than another one?

opinion@louisvillecardinal.com
Photo courtesy Kony2012