Kony 2012

Mar. 8th, 2012 03:40 am
fantastic_jackie: (Space 3)
[personal profile] fantastic_jackie
If you've somehow made it to now without at least seeing Kony 2012 somewhere on the internet, I would be surprised. You may not have dedicated 30 minutes to watch the video to find out what it is, though. Link to video.

I don't want to watch a 30 minute video: What is Kony 2012?
It's an awareness campaign to make Joseph Kony infamous, thereby ensuring via citizen concern that the US government continues to carry out its non-combat military support in order to help find and bring Kony to justice. Joseph Kony is the leader of a violent organization called the LRA. Originally in Uganda, it's now spread to a handful of other African nations. He's the #1 international criminal in the world for the atrocities he's committed: namely kidnapping 30,000+ young children, forcing the girls to be sex slaves and the boys to be soldiers - forcing these children to mutilate people and kill their own parents. Ultimately, the goal is to finally stop Kony after 25+ years of bloodshed and horror.

That's sick! He should be stopped! So... what's the controversy?
In a nutshell, it is the organization pushing the campaign: Invisible Children. Naturally, there are several facets to consider.


On the question of whether I support US involvement as a conservative, I think there are some issues that transcend the Constitution. If no one else is willing to step forward to help these people then yes, we should: we're the most wealthy, most powerful nation in the world - I think out of everything we waste money on, we can afford to do something as meaningful as this. Sure, we're Americans, but we're also human beings; I will never believe that the US should be the world's police force, but I'll also never believe in hiding behind the Constitution in the face of horrible atrocities.

That said, the question that has the internet on fire is the legitimacy of Invisible Children. There are some valid questions raised, namely these:
1) They have a low Accountability and Transparency score.
2) They have not been independently audited and there have been issues in the past with the Better Business Bureau.
3) Only 30-some-odd percent of proceeds goes towards actual activities on the ground in Uganda.
4) There are claims that money donated to IC is funneled to the Ugandan military, which is also guilty of pillaging, raping, and murdering the Ugandan people.
5) The organization has been described as naive, misleading, and dangerous by some bigwigs.

In response, IC recently -and I mean only hours ago, so this is developing- released This FAQ. You can read it if you like; I won't go into all the details here, but it does address a lot of the above concerns. Whether these responses are adequate or somehow misleading remains to be seen; everything I'm reading now I take with a grain of salt.

Regarding #3
Here's the thing about nonprofit organizations: they all make money, and I honestly don't have a problem with that. Even if the other 65% of the money was going to line the pockets of the organizations' members -which it does not, according to their chart and simple logic... They have expenses obviously.- don't they deserve something for their troubles? I'm not advocating making money off other peoples' suffering: what I'm saying is that doing what they do is hard work, and a lot of it. What's more is that their cause is a highly legitimate one. Even with all the controversy surrounding their organization, no one disputes the fact that these things have occurred and that other horrors do continue today. Out of all the things that someone could make money off of, getting people to do something about it a pretty worthy cause. People make money doing far more shallow things, far worse things, and there's no problem with them, so what's the issue here?

Regarding #4
According to IC, not one dime goes to the Ugandan military, and there's not a shred of evidence I've found anywhere to support the opposite claim that's out there. The closest thing there is to evidence is a picture of IC's top members holding weapons with the military; this picture is explained in the linked FAQ above, but beyond that, it does not in any shape or form prove that IC is funding the Ugandan military.

Tied to this accusation is also the untrue statement that IC wants Kony killed using military action. I want him killed, but IC wants him arrested and tried in international court. I don't see a problem with that so long as the outcome is still death. Actually, when I read into IC's history, they've been pursuing this issue from a peaceful standpoint for years, hoping that it could be resolved through peace talks. The use of military force, from what I gather, is merely to find and capture Kony who wields a military force all his own. -One comprised at least partially of children.

The enemy of my enemy is...?
The biggest and most legitimate hang-up I see with this whole issue is the partnering with the Ugandan Military. -Keep in mind though that it is not IC that is partnering with them. It is the United States government/military that is, aka you and I are already doing this via our democratic style of governance.

It sets up a horrible double standard, that we'll go after one really bad guy with the help of other really bad guys. There's nothing to say or reference to make this concern anything more or less than what it is: ultimately, the US is still pretty uninvolved in the region. The question is can you support taking down a horrible monster if it means having to work with an organization of monsters?

What do you think, Jacks? Do you support IC and the Kony 2012 movement?
At this point in time, yes. As I said above, this is a developing story, so we shall see. For now, I feel like the organization has done a TON to further this very important issue. Supporting the campaign itself will only allow further light to be shed on the entire situation, and I'm a fan of that, too. If Invisible Children gets rich off it... Well, that's between them and God in my honest opinion. I do not have a problem with it; part of me thinks they would deserve such a thing, especially if the movement is ultimately successful. As for the concerns over the Ugandan military... The way I see it, getting one really bad guy out of the picture is infinitely better than standing on (very valid) principles and allowing ALL the bad guys to remain. And who's to say this thing stops with Kony, anyway?

I plan on participating in the April 20th Cover the Night event. I'm not purchasing anything yet, though; there's still time for me to sit back and take in more news articles regarding the IC organization.
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