A million tweets, Facebook shares, YouTube views. We need to ask ourselves if awareness matters. Does it realistically achieve the goals we seek? Over the last week or so Invisible Children’s KONY 2012 video and other marketing components have spread across the web like wildfire. Striving to achieve their goal of spreading the word about the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).
From the noise around the web they have certainly achieved that goal. Whether you support their efforts or think that they are misusing funds, the misconception that we can make a difference with a few tweets without researching to get the bigger picture is irresponsible at best. (And though it’s inflammatory I have to mention that photo of the filmmakers with guns, a joke or not, is chilling in it’s implications.)
The truth behind the conflict and violence merits more than 26 minutes of video. Be responsible enough to look for more information and understand what you’re supporting before sending out a tweet from your couch in the US. True understanding comes with educating yourself.
Reading a declaration from documentarians at SXSW has left me with the feeling that we need a better understanding of what making a difference truly means. “Dyer, however, thinks, there’s a larger achievement here. “Now 13-25 year olds around the world are at least talking about it [strife in Uganda]. That’s the most important thing to come out of that film.” I very much disagree with that statement. I’m disheartened that the attention could cause more harm to come to children who have already experienced horrors that thankfully our children never have.
What’s done is done now, we are limited in what we can do to prevent the harm of children so many thousands of miles away. There are some reputable charities that are able to help feed those children. I would caution you to do some research and investigate which those are and give to them instead of Invisible Children. IC’s quest to bring attention to the unjust methods the LRA is idealistic and not realistic in truly providing help. If you aren’t sure where to donate, I would encourage you to consider the International Red Cross Uganda’s National Society. Recommended reading: Wil Wheaton on KONY2012