Would Cutting the Serpent’s head solve the problem? Kony2012
By: Maheen Nusrat
I woke up this morning and saw my Facebook feed flooded with the “Kony2012” video. I didn’t get the chance to watch the videos until the end of the day. I quickly realized that the video is about the notorious Joseph Kony (Ugandan guerrilla leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army — the world’s worst criminal wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes and crimes against humanity. I saw the video made by Jason Russell and couldn’t help but be angry, yet be hopeful that change is possible. Those behind Invisible Children provide a simple and easy to achieve solution—make Joseph Kony famous, so he is unable to hide his face any longer and is therefore “stopped”.
The Film has all the elements that make it memorable, captivating and impactful enough go viral and start a discussion on the violation of human rights in Africa. Russell uses simplistic, child-like logic to explain and prove that Kony is evil and therefore must be stopped. He further uses his 5 year old son to drive the last nail into the coffin. I was shook to my core when I heard Jacob (the Ugandan kid-a victim of Kony’s crimes) say that he would rather be dead than be on this earth . It made me realize: a) I am very lucky to have my life of freedom, b) it highlighted the desperation of a young child who would rather be killed than be alive, and c) that because of my privileged life, I have a choice to utilize the opportunity to do something about it. It is the latter that moved me enough to want to sign a pledge to capture this evil man, to participate in the April 20th event of plastering every wall with Kony’s name and pictures, and be inspired enough to write this blog.
As I watched the video and accepted the reality that such a scum bag exists and pondered the opportunity to put an end to this evil; the cynic in me wondered if this taking Kony out of the equation really solve the problem of the Ugandan people,?There are many critics of the Kony2012 campaign. see here:
As much as I respect and agree with both the writers to look at the war in its holistic form and to not just blindly jump on a bandwagon. I do disagree that we must tone down the Kony2012 Campaign. Kersten points out that the problem isn’t that Kony is unknown, and the simple act of making him famous will not solve the complex and complicated situation of Uganda and East Africa. Here, I agree with Kersten. The real issue here is the children who are both the victims and the perpetrators of the heinous crimes and they will continue to need the world’s support. This is why it is important to capture him, but also equally important to continue making noise even after Kony is captured.
The second writer points out the flaws behind the Invisible Children and the misuse of the funds. After reading that, I was definitely skeptical about the entire organization. However, it seems pretty clear that everyone agrees that the problem in Uganda is a huge problem and worthy of attention, what seems to be of disagreement is the matter of how we eliminate that problem. I am a huge proponent of the belief that even the smallest action of good towards the betterment of humanity is better than no action, and it definitely beats an action of evil by a thousand times. If we must get our support behind Kony2012 simply for its brilliance in getting a dialogue started on the issue and making people aware, then we must do that whole-heartedly. How you choose to spend your money or tell your legislators to act in Uganda is YOUR CHOICE.
We must ask ourselves why we as a global community have allowed Kony to continue his evil reign for so long? Why has the US administration sat idly just until last year with no desire to intervene? The problem isn’t that people didn’t know about Kony, but the dilemma that most of us find ourselve is that we feel helpless to do anything. What makesKony2012 so different and powerful is that it provides an option to do something. It doesn’t promise that Kony’s capture is the “be-all-end-all”; rather it is just the beginning. The message here is that we have a global responsibility to humanity that transcends national borders and “national security”. We must become the voices that dictate what our legislators and policy-makers do on the global front.
Maybe, I am an easy prey to the dream of a utopian world, but without a chance at taking the reign of the world we wish to live in and leave behind for our children, there is no hope for a better tomorrow. I am a huge believer of grassroots movements. Had it not been for hope and the desire for change, we would not have seen the “Arab Spring” of 2010-2011. Cutting the serpent’s head is the beginning of the process to kill the serpent. Kony is the serpent’s head. I whole-heartedly support Kony2012, albeit with a word of caution that the project to save the children of Uganda does not end on December 31st, 2012 or with the capture of Kony. Today I am offered a chance to make a choice-the choice to join the masses to rise above artificial boundaries for the betterment of humanity. Today, I choose to be a part of the Kony 2012 movement even if only for the selfish reason that when I have children, I too want to inspire them to rise against oppression and hear them say: “I want to be like you when I grow up”.
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