Kony 2012.

Instead of blogging throughout the year about the Kony 2012 campaign and my views and whats going on, I am writing it as one big blog. A blog of mini blogs. This way we can see what has happened throughout the year and how the campaign has impacted people, and what good, if any, has come of it. I hope you find this interesting, and I really really hope that when I publish this Kony will have been arrested and that things would have started to get better.

I will write each section as if I were going to publish it at the time of writing. I will not change any part of it when new information arises and hopefully we will see an honest, and truthful blog of how the campaign affected me, and how it impacted the world.

Lets see what happened…

At the time of writing the start of this blog it is 11:44pm on Friday 9th March 2012.

On Monday morning of this week I had no idea about Joseph Kony, who he was, what he did and what he was apart of. I also had no idea about the charity ‘Invisible Children’ (IC). However, on Wednesday morning I woke up and could not escape this Kony fellow. With tweets appearing saying;

“Have you watched #Kony2012? Here’s the link:http://vimeo.com/37119711#STOPKONY RT AND SHARE!” – @bencantelon

“Kony 2012: Please watch and RT. It’s half an hour but magnificent. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4MnpzG5Sqc” – @DerrenBrown

“Watch this. Share this. #stopkonyhttp://vimeo.com/37119711” – @martinsaunders”This is extremely interesting & good. Don’t click link until you have 30mins free. But do try to watch it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4MnpzG5Sqc&feature=youtu.be#KONY2012” – @timminchin

There were even Facebook posts all over with links to the thirty minute video(If you didn’t see it then you might still be able to see it here) that ‘Invisible Children’ had released. Kony was everywhere.

When I watched the video I wanted to help, I wanted to get behind the movement and I wanted to also get Kony’s name out there so that others could see what was happening.

However, there was some negative parts to the Kony business.

“Read this too if interested in #Kony2012. Things are ALWAYS ethically complex. Still think campaign is extraordinary.http://visiblechildren.tumblr.com/post/18890947431/we-got-trouble ” – @timminchin

The link Tim shared, and many others did too, links to a post talking about ethical issues and problems that the author finds in the Invisible Children Charity and the campaign. There were posts on Facebook using parts of that post to spark debate.

When I got into my Sociology class (looking at Crime and Deviance at the time) there were a couple of people in the class who felt very strongly and passionately about the KONY 2012 campaign and there was a very big, heated discussion about it. A few of the arguments some people had against the campaign were things like;

“What difference is it going to make?”

“The American Government will only do something if it benefits them, they don’t care about what people on Facebook think.”

“This happened in Rowanda for years, and no one did anything about that. What makes this so special?”

“It’s just a fad, by next week everyone will have moved onto something else.”

All of the above are valid points. I do worry that this will be a fad and that it will all be forgotten about, but i guess by the time this post is published we shall see what happened.

To counteract the ‘Visible Children’s’ Tumblr post, Invisible Children wrote a post to address the issues raised. Part of it says this;

“Invisible Children’s mission is to stop LRA [Lord’s Resistance Army] violence and support the war-affected communities in East and Central Africa. These are the three ways we achieve this mission; each is essential:

  1. 1) Make the world aware of the LRA. This includes making documentary films and touring them around the world so that they are seen for free by millions of people.
  2. 2) Channel energy from viewers of IC films into large-scale advocacy campaigns to stop the LRA and protect civilians.
  3. 3) Operate programs on the ground in LRA-affected areas that provide protection, rehabilitation and development assistance.”

http://www.invisiblechildren.com.s3-website-us-east-1.amazonaws.com/critiques.html

To me it’s pretty clear that this charity wants to make Kony known, and make a difference in the world by doing that. I believe at this present moment in time (Now 00:27am on Saturday 10th March 2012) that the campaign is a useful one, a helpful one and I am glad that people are getting behind it, and that young people from ‘The Hangout’ (Youth Club run by my church) are learning more and are going to be looking into ways that they can help end this war.

Who knows what will come of it all, I just hope that this can be the start of global change and that we can begin to make this world a better place, one Kony at a time.

At the time of writing this part of the blog it is 09:57pm on Monday 19th March 2012.

Since Friday (above) I had seen only 3 tweets about KONY 2012, one of which said words similar to “What happened to #KONY2012?”. This disheartened me, but then on the following Friday night (16th) at the afore-mentioned youth club, we watched 20 mins of the video (See it here). Everyone seemed pretty positive about it, and one kid even got excited into thinking about ways in which we could spread Kony’s name with a run into the sea with t-shirts on with his name on it, “Like a walk of witness”.

Later that night I read this article (http://www.relevantmagazine.com/main/slices/culture/28624-jason-russell-invisible-children-co-founder-arrested ) stating that Jason Russell (The guy from the film) had been detained (thought to have been arrested) for various unwanted behaviour in public. Just after reading this, and feeling very sorry for Jason, and wondering how the campaign would be effected, my attention was brought to an article in response (which unfortunately I can’t find now) which looked at the pressures that come with the world suddenly knowing who you are and having a mixed response to you and how Christians should be praying for Jason.

Saturday morning came and a couple of young people were sharing the KONY 2012 video on Facebook which was encouraging. It means that we are getting through. At least two people that we have been speaking to over the last 2 weeks are getting passionate about the campaign. I am excited to see how this goes. I think young people can make a big difference in this world, and I think this campaign, no matter what the outcome, will help them to realise that they can play an important part in the world.

At the time of writing this part of the blog it is 00:29am on Tuesday 10th April 2012.

Last Thursday (5th April) some of the young people came with us to play Lazer Tag. Everyone had lots of fun and it was a good night, and we showed them this video (http://vimeo.com/5399984) from ‘Children Of The Nations’ looking at the same issue as IC. This was a fresh reminder of what was happening in the world and getting us ready for the following Thursday when we are going to come up with an action plan with how we can help make a difference.

Early that day I got an email from IC giving me a link to their latest video ‘KONY 2012: Part II Beyond Famous’ (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_Ue6REkeTA&j=42974558&e=andrewwhite92@ymail.com&l=29804180_HTML&u=267212198&mid=10415228&jb=0) which until today I hadn’t watched.

The video, to me, kind of covered what had already been said and explained a little bit more about what had been happening since the first video was launched with a big advertisement for ‘Cover the night’. There were a couple of points where young people said things along the lines of “We are the leaders of tomorrow, we are the ones to make a difference”, and we are. You, Me, we can do this. We can change the world, and like the guy said in the film, it’s not just about Knoy, it’s about injustice everywhere. From a country on the other side of the world, to a neighbour on the other side of the street.

Wouldn’t it be great if in 10/20/30 years time we were living in a world where the political leaders of this world were people who fought for justice and won. Wouldn’t it be great if charities like Invisible Children didn’t have to exist because we stood up and fought for justice. Perhaps my dreams are too big, but what if…

At the time of writing this part of the blog it is 05:14pm on Wednesday 26th September 2012.

Five months have passes since I’ve written in this. A few weeks after the previous account we had a night at for Hangout (older youth club @LBC) to come eat pizza, watch the Invisible Children DVD (it was released a few years before the 2012 campaign) and afterwards made our own tees as a ‘cover the night project’. Since then nothing. I have never seen #Kony2012 on Twitter, on Facebook, on the news, anywhere. Perhaps it is because I am blind or perhaps the whole thing fizzled out.
I went onto kony2012.com and saw this video (which I didn’t link to and so now have no idea what video I’m talking about, sorry). It really did look like we were making an impact – in April. What happened? Where did we go?
The next thing on the website is “MOVE:DC” a chance for people to gather in DC and make a difference. But what about us Brits that can’t just pop on over to DC for the day? Does this mark the end of our role in the campaign?
Don’t get me wrong, the campaign is important and I do still believe that when people gather around an idea there is no end to what can be done. I just feel like there was such a big hype and everyone was excited about capturing Kony and being world changers and now, we’ll now were just not.

At the time of writing this part of the blog it is 10:48pm on Sunday 7th October 2012.

I got an email the other day. Friday to be exact. You will never guess who it was from; Invisible Children, and they were sharing this flyer with me.

This video will air at 3am here. That’s in just over 4 hours time. (I’m not staying up to watch it, I will blog about it tomorrow) I think basically what I understand from this poster is that the clip (although it does say movie so maybe it’s another half hour-long thing) is all about the video the first Kony 2012 video that they released back at the start of March. I am looking forward to seeing it. However, what really interests me is the bit at the bottom.

“Just prior to the films online release, Jason Russell will appear on Operah’s ‘Next Chapter’ in his first on-air interview since march”

Basically what they are saying is “Jason is gonna be talking on TV for the first time since he went a bit crazy and got detained.” Is this to draw in a crowed in attempts to go viral again, or is it a chance for us to find out his side of the story and why we should still be supporting IC even if what happened to him gave them a bit of bad press? I guess we will find out tomorrow.

At the time of writing this part of the blog it is 4:02pm on Friday 12th October 2012.

Five days have passed and I haven’t seen or heard anything about Kony or the ‘Move’ video. Just before coming to write this part of the blog I tried to find the interview with Jason Russell. I could only find one clip of him telling Oprah what he was doing when we had a break down. 

On the Kony 2012 website a new promo video for ‘Move:DC’ has been shown (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpQN6fqdgR0&feature=player_embedded). Its nothing amazing, just another advert for what they are going to do. I am now, going to watch the new 30 min video entitled “MOVE”. You can watch it here – my thoughts in just a sec.

So I’ve just watched and shared the film. It’s good. Like a lot of the IC films it covers a lot of stuff that they have shown us before, but what I found really interesting and helpful is that with Jason’s break down they didn’t just shy away and go “yeah he had a break down, now he’s back and were still going” they talk about the hardship and struggle that they had as an organisation, the attacks that were facing them, and more personally Jason, and showed how they did not quite because of it.

I now understand that the reason MOVE is a 1 specific place sort of event is because of the gather of leaders. It’s not the most practical of ideas, and perhaps that will be its downfall. But maybe it wont. Like the video said, everyone is saying that we are the Millennial’s. That we will achieve nothing other than YouTube hits and Twitter followers. I believe we can prove them wrong. I believe that this generation can have the biggest impact the world will have seen to date. But i also know that I, like so many others, can’t just pop over to the white house for the day.

It is only 80 days, 7 hours, 52 minutes and 35 seconds until 2013. Can we arrest Kony in that time? We’ve had since March.

Let’s wait and see…

At the time of writing this part of the blog it is 00:53am on Saturday 29th December 2012.

I’ve just clicked on to the Kony 2012 site once more, to be pleasantly surprised. I had looked at the site a few weeks ago to see if anything new had been posted. And at that point it was just things about Move:DC that I talked about earlier. I thought that Kony 2012 was going to trickle away and everyone would forget. But now I’ve looked and i am greeted with ‘Year In Review: Results’. Lets explore shall we.

We start off with a page telling us about the online video that started this whole experiment off (and thus sparked the creation of this post) and how it gathered a lot of awareness, but it also recognises that Kony is still out there.

The site then lists four goals.

  1. Make Kony famous to create global awareness of LRA atrocities.
  2. Increase protection of civilians from LRA attacks.
  3. Pressure international governments to support the regional efforts to stop the LRA
  4. See Joseph Kony and his top commanders captured by regional forces and tried by the international Criminal Court (ICC).

The first three have all been ticked.

Scrolling down there is a list called ‘Epic Progress’ which goes over everything that has been done over the last 10 months. And to look at it, it is quite exciting to think that it all happened.

We see pictures, reminding us of ‘Cover the night’ where people around the world rose awareness of KONY 2012. Then a video of the Move:DC event reminding us of the meetings, and awareness that happened that day (if you were able to be there, that is).

There is even a link to the financial report for the year. – I didn’t look at that.

Then we get to the good part. ‘Where do we go from here?’.  They say this;

Invisible Children exists to bring a permanent end to LRA atrocities. As citizens we have done everything we can to see Joseph Kony captured. The responsibility of actually apprehending him belongs with the highest levels of government. We will continue to remind our leaders of the urgency and their promises while focusing on protecting families from LRA attacks and encouraging LRA soldiers to surrender.

and show this video.

The video talks about the prioritization of things that need to happen before Kony can be arrested. It talks of the other work IC is doing and that we are the generation that can still bring social change. Ending with them saying they will still be working to bring Kony down in 2013, and that we should join them.

We are then offered these three reasons why Kony hasn’t been caught;

1. SUDAN

Recent evidence suggests that the government of Sudan is allowing Kony and a large LRA group to hide in the disputed Kafia Kingi enclave of South Darfur. It is critical that the regional governments and the international community place strong pressure on the government of Sudan to prevent the LRA from finding safe haven in its territory.

2. RESOURCE COMMITMENT

Operations in the LRA-affected area, including humanitarian, military, or otherwise, are extremely expensive. Even the most basic humanitarian services take a lot of time and money to deliver because of the remote and difficult terrain. Resources from all engaged parties need to be sustained or increased.

3. COOPERATION

The LRA operates in four countries. In order to see an end to LRA violence, it is essential to invest time and energy in coordinating efforts between regional and international governments to protect people from LRA attacks and prevent the LRA from crossing borders with ease.

That’s it. That is the end of KONY 2012. We made some sort of difference. Some awareness was made and some progress has gone underway. But there is still a long way to go.
When I say that We made some sort of difference, I defiantly don’t mean me. All I have done is tweet the original video and talk about it with people the week or two after the original video was made. When I say we I mean this generation. Us as a group of people all living in a world where this is going on and taking a stand against it.
I suppose, I kind of feel like that I could have made a bigger difference. I didn’t partake in Cover the night, I have never donated money, and I obviously couldn’t do Move:DC – so perhaps this is my part of making a difference;
I did a talk to a group young people aged 11 and 12 and I told them to go and change the world. I even gave them ways to do that;
  • In the words that they say.
  • In the actions they do.
  • In the love that they show.
  • and in the way they live their lives.

(I used 1 Timothy 4:12 as my basis for this.)

So now I am telling that to you. And to me.

Perhaps we need to break it down a little bit, and do little things to start thinking more and acting upon Social Injustice. (Check out Rhythms for a great help in doing that.)  Perhaps we need to sign up to the IC mailing list to see how we can help in 2013. Perhaps we need to choose, right now, to acknowledge that this was never a 1 year thing. This is an ongoing battle that we must fight. Even when Kony isn’t the problem any more. We must keep going until we have changed the world of injustice.

I believe that we as a generation can do this. I also know that I don’t want to, because I know it’ll be hard. But I will. Because how else can I say I want to change the world, when I wont stand up against injustice.

At the time of writing this part of the blog it is 12:56Pm on Saturday 29th December 2012.

So that’s all from me on Kony 2012. I haven’t added anything or taken away anything to what I originally wrote, and I hope it is an honest account of how I felt over the year of Kony 2012. Here’s to the new year, and hopefully to more progress made with him, and injustice in general.

Over and Out.

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