Twitter and Facebook were hit by a social activist tsunami this week as Invisible Children launched its “Stop Kony 2012” campaign. I’m not going to explain what it is, I know you all know. In quite literally a matter of days Joseph Kony went from being an unheard of African warlord to becoming the anathema of the internet. Not one of Joey’s better weeks I would imagine.
At first the campaign was greeted with approbation and acclaim. The producers were praised for the well-made half-hour video with its emotive and, at times, harrowingly sad depictions of the evils of Joseph Kony and the efforts to capture him. Now I have no problem with that. Kony is quite clearly an evil man who has committed some heinous crimes in the past 25 years, he deserves capture. But the video, and in particular the message it conveys, is a piece of misleading, hypocritical and condescending bile.
The content of the video has come in for criticism regarding its all too simplistic and misleading description of the conflict in Northern Uganda and its failure to apportion any of the blame regarding Joey Kony’s macabre escapades to the Ugandan government. An interesting fact is that there has been no LRA (Lord Resistance Army, Kony’s crew) activity in Northern Uganda since 2006. The video misleads us into believing that Northern Uganda is still a war-torn battlefield.
One criticism that has not been levelled at it thus far is the absolute hypocrisy the video propagates. Who are we, the Western World, to look down our noses and wag our fingers revoltingly at a Ugandan warlord like a teacher reprimanding a naughty school-boy. We in the Western World have some warlords who would make Kony loo like the lovechild of Mother Theresa and the pope (It is unlikely that the pope or Mother Theresa would have engaged in coitus but I shall create the image for use in this analogy). And what’s worse is we elect them as leaders.
George W. Bush is one of the politicians that the campaign wishes to recruit in its campaign to find Kony. My initial reaction to this was one of absolute perplexity and consternation. They want George W. Bush? The same George W. Bush who initiated the illegal occupation of two countries which resulted in the deaths of well over 100,000 civilians? The same George W. Bush who interned scores of innocent men in the infamous Guantanamo Bay Prison Camp? Pardon my French but I wish to depart from my usual eloquent language for just one second to convey my absolute disbelief, are you fucking shitting me? Do Invisible Children not see the hypocrisy in this? One warlord after another warlord.
The campaign itself and the reaction to it are indicative of the uninformed and brainwashed society we inhabit. We see ourselves as some sort of white knight saving the feckless Ugandans from the clutches of the evil Joseph Kony. It helps people sleep at night in the apparent knowledge that they are making the world a better place. But while Western civilisation has enhanced the world in many fields such as innovation, arts and science, we have raped, pillaged and killed on our way to the current position as the apparent apex of human civilisation.
Our leaders are no better than Joseph Kony. The ordinary people of the Occident are intrinsically good but the actions of our governments have contradicted this decency in recent times. America is fast becoming an almighty imperial power, akin to what the British Empire was over a century ago. The lust for oil and power has led our armies to far-flung lands in recent times and with the recent problems with Iran show more conflict could be on the horizon.
Our leaders don’t care about peace or national security or the wellbeing of other countries. Syria is in absolute turmoil presently but the international community is almost turning a blind eye to it as it’s not in their interest to assist Syria. Syria has only miniscule oil reserves. The Stop Kony video outlines how, after much pressure and lobbying the American Government sent 100 army “advisors” to help develop the Ugandan army in the search for Kony. The video lauds this as a momentous achievement and an example of how Barack Obama and the US Government were touched by the efforts of Invisible Children. But maybe there were other things on the mind of Obama, like, hmmm I don’t know, possibly the discovery of oil-fields in the West of the country thought to contain over 2.5 Billion barrels of oil. But that’s just the cynic in me thinking that, right?
The aim of the campaign, when stripped down to its bare, basic concept is inherently good. Find an evil warlord and capture him. But we have enough evil warlords in the Western World to be dealing with besides tackling a Ugandan problem. There is a saying “real change comes from within”. That adage rings true for both Uganda and Western Civilisation.