It’s been two days since the IC “Kony 2012” film premiered, and the fact that I’m making a post about it now just reinforces my “late majority” shortcoming when it comes to following trends. I was planning on posting the film on my facebook, but it seems mostly everyone has already done a good job of that seeing as I can’t turn the corner without seeing it online or on some sort of social media outlet (facebook and twitter mostly).
What I’ve been doing instead is reading the mounting number of articles (mostly skeptical) that seem to be popping up daily whether it be visible children or other rants. These articles and the film itself has caused such a stir so much so that IC themselves had to post a response to these critics on their website. At first I was frustrated that people were weary about such a great cause/organization, the immediate thought being “How could they?”. Especially since I myself have been involved with IC. Either by hosting screenings, donating, visiting their office in SD, and or meeting the wonderful people behind the roadie teams as well as the amazing Ugandan students.
It wasn’t until I saw this http://www.quickmeme.com/meme/36h9t3/ and had a discussion in my class (after one of them showed the film as a presentation project). I realized how some of them were bandwagoners, and others just simply naive.
Watching KONY 2012 doesn’t make you an activist. It doesn’t make you anything, except a little more “informed”. I say that in quotations because there’s still a lot of researching and reading to be done, and even more so now that the media and people are catching on. Not to mention this has been happening since 2007 (when I first saw the original film in high school) and even earlier. Simply watching and clicking the like button does nothing. You’ve only just begun down the rabbit hole.
Invisible Children is just one organization. While I was frustrated with the sudden hype of the movement (I mean even P. Diddy was tweeting about it! Really?) I am filled with joy for the enthusiasm of peoples hearts and the desire to make a change. That being said, that enthusiasm for change doesn’t have to just take place a million miles in another country. There are poor, starving people here in our own backyards that yearn for the same compassion and sympathy our brothers and sisters abroad need. And yet they are overlooked on a daily basis. There is no excuse for this. Just as there is no excuse for child soldiers.
My favorite part about this video is near the end when Jason says “…this is about human beings.” My hope for whoever is reading this is that the emotions felt after watching the film, reading the articles, sharing the video or whatever feelings you have for or against Invisible Children, is that your enthusiasm and spirit translates into action. An action that tries to do good in this world filled with complex problems whether it is Uganda, Los Angeles, Kansas, Sao Paulo, wherever.
That being said buying something or throwing money at it doesn’t make it an “action”. It makes it a commodity. If you’re going to donate to IC, I recommend donating to their Legacy Scholarship program or Schools for Schools program as education is an immeasurable gift and having met the Ugandan teammates, I have developed a new found appreciation for the gift of education. But the idea is ultimately more than just donating money to IC or any other non-profit group, it’s about searching for a cause or an injustice going on around you and taking part in it’s eventual solution, driven by genuine passion, care and understanding.
I leave you with this quote from Grant Oyston of visible children. “But whatever you do, I urge you: don’t stop caring. Engage those around you in informed discussion, and get involved. There’s lots of work to be done.” This ultimately, is about caring.
Thanks for reading,