Kony 2012: Invisible Scam

Does the tear-jerking YouTube video seem just as little too, well, are you struggling to put a name to it as well? You are not alone. From theories claiming that Joseph Kony died five years ago, to other accusations that this is a CIA driven piece of propaganda to invade their oil caches, there is no lack of skepticism where this revolution is concerned. But before I continue, and add words from others to support my claim that this whole thing is bullshit, allow me to deliver your moment of Zen:

rchelicopter3 over at HubPages states that;

“There is no question that Joseph Kony is a incredibly evil man. If you are part of facebook or twitter, you have almost certainly noticed a lot of your friends voicing themselves as “activists” since tuning into a particular Youtube video supposedly made by the “Kony 2012″ and the Invisible Children organisation. Even high level celebrities have pledged to “fight the cause” by publicising the campaign.”

Danah Boyd writes:

Much to the horror of many human rights activists, Invisible Children is not known for spreading accurateinformation as much as it’s known for spreading information widely.

Most of how they’ve gotten the message out is by engaging youth. Earlier films have been shown directly to youth (in schools and churches) and youth are actively encouraged to join the organization and participate in their campaigns. They provide toolkits for participation with the primary goal being to amplify attention to a particular issue.

The stories that Invisible Children create in their media put children at the front and center of them. And, indeed, as Neta Kliger-Vilenchik and Henry Jenkins explain, youth are drawn to this type of storytelling. Watch Kony 2012 from the perspective of a teenager or college student. Here is a father explaining to a small child what’s happening in Africa. If you’re a teen, you see this and realize that you, too, can explain to others what’s going on. The film is powerful, but it also models how to spread information. The most important thing that the audience gets from the film is that they are encouraged to spread the gospel. And then they are given tools for doing that. Invisible Children makes it very easy to share their videos, republish their messages on Facebook/Twitter/Tumblr, and “like” them everywhere. But they go beyond that; they also provide infrastructure to increase others’ attention.

Invisible Children knew that it was targeting culture makers and youth. And Twitter users no less. Indeed, check out the list of “culturemakers” that they encouraged youth to target. It’s an interesting mix of liberals (George Clooney, Ellen Degeneres, Bono), conservatives (Rick Warren, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly), geeks (Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg), big philanthropy names (Oprah, Angelina Jolie, Warren Buffett), and pop stars (Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Jay-Z, Justin Bieber). Plus others. They also recommended contacting political figures. (Interestingly, they start with G.W. Bush and Condoleeza Rice and don’t list Obama at all.) As Lotan points out, these celebrities got pummeled with thousands upon thousands of messages from fans, predominantly young fans. And many of them responded.

When celebrities receive this kind of onslaught from their fans — and, especially their younger fans — they pay attention. And so they post out about this. This is exactly where the fuzzy feelings towards attention philanthropy kick in. Young people feel like they did something by getting a celebrity to pay attention to a cause. A celebrity feels like they’ve done some by talking about the cause to a wide audience. And, voila, Invisible Children taps into the attention economy to get their message out.”

Is that not enough for you? Watch this!

It’s hard to remain value free when writing about this shit because too many people able to critically think have been extremely vocal and very proactive about this movement. Here is a picture that breaks down the expenditures of the Invisible Children:

One of the best takes on this came from Jonathon M. Seidl at TheBlaze. He outlines a very direct point of view, from watching the video in college, and to his shifting beliefs in the campaign’s legitimacy:

“I was a sophomore in college when I first saw the movie. I remember sitting cross-legged in front of the screen while wearing a white undershirt and khaki pants. I cried.

How can you not shed a tear when you see innocent children talking about having to kill family members and being captured to take part in a mad man’s war? I never forgot the images.

Those images were the result of the nonprofit Invisible Children — a group fighting to end the atrocities of Joseph Kony in Uganda. He and his Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) captures the helpless children, forces them to fight, and kills and rapes others.

For a little bit, I even wanted to go over to Uganda and join the fight against Kony. I didn’t. I became a journalist. And now I find myself in a tough position: after posting an Associated Press story about the Invisible Children’s newest video (which has been seen millions and millions of times and even has the support of Anonymous), I’ve been getting messages from people (including my own brother) telling me to look into it more. Something seems a little off, they’ve said. Torn, I started digging a little more. And here’s what I found.

On the surface, something does seem a little odd. In looking at what people are saying about the new video and campaign, there could be legitimate criticisms. The UK’s Guardian has posted an extensive piece detailing some of the critiques. For example, it points to the tumblr Visible Children, which has raised some important concerns, including Kony not even being in Uganda anymore and accusations of “manipulating facts:”

The group is in favour of direct military intervention, and their money supports the Ugandan government’s army and various other military forces. Here’s a photo of the founders of Invisible Children posing with weapons and personnel of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army. Both the Ugandan army and Sudan People’s Liberation Army are riddled with accusations ofrape and looting, but Invisible Children defends them, arguing that the Ugandan army is “better equipped than that of any of the other affected countries”, although Kony is no longer active in Uganda and hasn’t been since 2006 by their own admission. These books each refer to the rape and sexual assault that are perennial issues with the UPDF, the military group Invisible Children is defending.

Still, the bulk of Invisible Children’s spending isn’t on supporting African militias, but on awareness and filmmaking. Which can be great, except that Foreign Affairs has claimed that Invisible Children (among others) “manipulates facts for strategic purposes, exaggerating the scale of LRA abductions and murders and emphasizing the LRA’s use of innocent children as soldiers, and portraying Kony — a brutal man, to be sure — as uniquely awful, a Kurtz-like embodiment of evil.” He’s certainly evil, but exaggeration and manipulation to capture the public eye is unproductive, unprofessional and dishonest.”

The aim is to increase the number of troops on the ground, in order to insure the safety of the oil in the region and take over the continent. Even the Ugandan army, who Invisible Children work with closely, are accused of rape and looting, as are most armies in Africa, but they wish to deal with Joseph Kony because he is a threat to oil. Africa and its children have been looted by every Western nation throughout history, whether it was for diamonds , gold and now oil. So, why do we want to stop Joseph Kony? If you truly care about these children, then why not stop them from being used as an excuse to invade a country because it has oil?

Still skeptic? Let these twin brothers help persuade you:

End of Line.

-T

 

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7 Responses to Kony 2012: Invisible Scam

  1. Mike says:

    I love how people are so upset and outraged about the shit going on over there. As if that shit hasn’t been happening elsewhere in the world for decades. Like it’s new. Now suddenly, we’re supposed to focus our efforts in capturing this Kony dude? As if that would help anything! His underlings would simply carry on his atrocities. Wait a minute… this sounds familiar. Oh right! It’s a pattern for countries that have been in the shit house for the last X amount of centuries committing genocide, rape and every other nightmarish thing you can think of just because there’s no authority to stop them! Or… they *are* the authority doing it!

    • Tony says:

      Very well stated! It isn’t new at all, and has been in existence in other countries within the continent of Africa and China and Korea have a history of this as well. But one thing still stands to challenge the mind- this guy may not be alive and his crimes may be exaggerated. Political activist, or scapegoat for oil drilling?

      • Mike says:

        Or like a means to an end… i.e. getting famous by using images of Kony to jack off in public!! Sounds good!

        I’ll start using that guy from the last Rambo movie who’s a menace to all the Karen rebels… then once I’m famous I’ll jerk off in Times Square, then report I’m severely exhausted… THEN report that I have psychosis! Then everything will be fine! lol

  2. Mike says:

    Oh and the twins YouTube video you end your post with… They’re 6’5, 220lbs, and there’s two of them! LOL

  3. Rob Conway says:

    “We’ve got to spread awareness!” Even though every international police force and multiple government agencies are already looking for him! Re-tah-ded.

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