The video above is part of a campaign by the charity Invisible Children and has become somewhat of a viral sensation online. The campaign aims to make Joseph Kony famous, not to celebrate him, but to raise support for his arrest and set a precedent for international justice. While I’m sure their intentions are admirable it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not doing it for large personal gains.
A user by the name Lord_Cade made the following post on Reddit which in turn led me to look into it some more. His post alone is enough but there’s more, the way Invisible Children go about solving the issues is plain wrong as pointed out by pussyhands in this thread on Reddit. While I concede Reddit is not the most reliable source of information, both posts have plenty of sources to back up their information. For example:
Theres ALWAYS two sides to every story. This viral film has caught the attention of heaps of young folk but you are all far too late. Watching that Kony video is essentially watching old news. They started filming in 2003, and northern Uganda has been free of LRA violence and war for over five years. In fact, the LRA have signed a peace accord! They are rebuilding and are restoring the peace.
Yes the leader is still out there however the recruitment of children has decreased 80%. This isn’t due to the Invisible Children organisation, its because Ugandan military and the ICC have intercepted. The Invisible Children group are trying to pass a bill that allows America to militarise the region… They are providing misinformation to woo idealistic followers. The group have combined multiple regional conflicts to make it appear that this is one rapidly increasing issue. When confronted about their dodgy tactics, the head spokesperson stated;
“I agree with you that leading people to believe that the war is still happening in Uganda is not ethically right. It’s something we’ve been addressing internally, focusing on getting all staff and supporters on the same page (of communication).”
That’s a quote from the second Reddit post, here’s one from the first regarding the Charity’s finances:
First of all, the guy who made that film get’s paid $90,000 a year. That’s for him and his family. This does not include him paying costs for film equipment, video editting software, nor does it cover travel or accomodations whilst in anywhere else. Those are all covered under the ludicrous budgets that the Invisible Children organization actually deal with.
If you go to the thread on Reddit he continues to breakdown the finances of the Charity. Still not convinced? Thankfully Grant Oyston, a student at Arcadia University, has grouped a lot of information with sources over at visiblechildren.tumblr.com. He goes over some of the points above as well as adding in some of his own personal views and thoughts. It’s definitely worth reading along with the two Reddit posts linked above.
Naturally this video has created a buzz on the internet with celebrities flocking to be seen to be supporting the latest great cause. Celebrities such as Piers Morgan and Derren Brown have already linked to the video. Thankfully Derren Brown later tweeted the other side of the arguement, but never fully retracted his apparent support for it.
This leads nicely onto my main point: people on the internet are too quick to jump on the bandwagon. If they see a nice-looking video they post it on their status, their friends get a hold of it without thinking things through and they repost it. This is what’s happened in this case; people have been too quick to get on board with this campaign when there are major underlying issues.
Hopefully this post opens a few eyes and in future will lead to greater personal scrutiny before everyone jumps on the bandwagon.