Two days ago, I was introduced to a viral video that was sweeping the web. My co-worker asked me, “Have you heard of Kony?” My reply was, “Hmmm…Coney Island? Yes I have.” She wasn’t talking about that Kony. The Kony she spoke of was a much darker version of Coney island. One where children were exploited and laughter was non-existent. Kids did not wish for this Kony, instead they were taken against their will. That was the Kony my co-worker meant.
She gave me a link to the Kony2012 video and I promised to view it later as it was 30 minutes long. I instead went to my trusted google to learn more about this Kony. I found that Joseph Kony is a Ugandan guerilla group leader whose style is reminiscent of a modern day Idi Amin. We probably would never have heard of this madman had he not vist his atrocities on children. He has apparently abducted and forced an estimated 66000 children to fight for him. Young girls were made into sexual slaves and used to reward his soldiers. Kony is bad news. Very bad news. And that was why two days ago, every other person was hearing or viewing a video about Kony. A group called Invisible Children is responsible for bringing Kony to the public’s awareness. Movie stars and other celebrities are throwing their weight behind bringing Kony to justice in 2012 (hence Kony2012) with their signatures and donations.
Now here is my take on this Kony situation. I agree with the common consensus that indeed a serious crime is being carried out in Uganda against children and also the citizens. It is totally unacceptabe and yes, something should be done. Unfortunately, this is nothing new to me or even you. In Africa, child soldiers are common and child sex slaves are too. Painful yes but true. So do I feel compel to send a donation? Sorry, I don’t. Before you label me, I strongly oppose what is going on but like I said, it’s almost a way of living in that part of the world. In some cases, these children have now bought into the system and sees us as the enemy. And how do I even pick which country’s children are worth saving? Why Uganda and not Sudan? How do I cry for the exploited children on the other side of the world but not blink for those forced to walk the streets as prostitutes in my neighborhood?
Do I think that capturing Kony is important? Not really. Idi Amin, another mad strongman was there before him and getting rid of him did not change anything. Killing Bin Laden did not kill Al Qaeda or end terrorism. Then what should one do then you ask. Well I suggest we pray for the people of Uganda. (Yes, there are atrocities carried out against the adults too). Pray for the children and keep them in your thoughts. You might also want to ask yourself, how come it seems that much cooler when the child you adopt is from a remote part of the world and not from your local orphanage. Cooler to send money to Africa but not to your local soup kitchen or homeless shelters.
I found interesting, the fact that this whole campaign is aimed at stopping Kony. One Man. Not trying to end young girls forced to become sex slaves. Not addressing head on the issue of children forced to fight war. Just stop Kony at all cause. The only way to end it is to bomb and eventually destroy Uganda. Impossible? Can’t happen? Exactly my point! And that’s my take.
Note: Soon after publishing this take, news broke that the Director of Invisible Children, (The group behind Kony2012) was arrested for allegedly “masturbating in public, vandalizing cars and possibly under the influence of something.” I am not saying how and if this has any bearing on the legitimacy or illegitimacy of his venture. Just throwing it out there. You be the judge.
Source: Invisible Children Co-Founder Detained: SDPD | NBC San Diego