Stopping Kony, or stopping video activism?
NB: Latest updates marked (*)
The phenomenal success of the Stop Kony video has prompted a very good and useful debate about the role of civic action and internet-based activism in “Development”.
Judge for yourself:
The video, definitely worth watching:
The reactions (grossly mis-represented here, for the sake of brevity):
Reactions from Africa:
- “Capturing Kony is not the only action required to end the LRA problem”
- NGO halts public screenings of the video in Uganda, because of public anger with the film
- Al Jazeera use FrontlineSMS to hear from Ugandans on Kony 2012
- Kony is already famous. It wasn’t lack of fame that stopped him being arrested
- “African voices respond to hyper popular video”
- Resentment about paternalism
- “This can cause us more problems than help us”
- Good start for scrutiny of Ugandan governance
- Attacking the wrong problem
- Ugandans want an amnesty, not conflict
- This war is bigger than Kony, and Americans won’t end it
- Vlog: The danger of a single story
- “People have more pressing problems such as poverty and diseases”
- The most urgent challenge is Nodding Disease, not Kony
- The issue is Ugandan governance
- ‘Kony 2012’ presents a misleading picture of the current situation in Uganda
- Revival of the White Saviour
- Video’s solutions ignore Ugandan civil society
- Consequence: “A lot of dangerously ill-prepared young people embarking on missions to save the children of this or that war zone”
Question marks about Invisible Children as an organisation
- Five Questions for Invisible Children
- What do they do with the money?
- High overheads
- IC’s financial accounts
- “Lessons learned from the Kony 2012 campaign” (*)
- We have an “opportunity not to start something against Kony but to join something that’s already been around for years”
- Kony flops in Uganda (*)
- “Most critics from the expert community do themselves and their cause a disservice”
- Kony video ” treated its audience like short-sighted, emotionally selfish children” and will not sustain interest
- Great teaching resources arising from the Kony2012 discussions
- “Bravo to the filmmakers!” – Shining a light can help resolve mass atrocities
- A rapper’s response to Kony2012
- A round up of Western reactions
- Development progress is happening, and it comes when we are humble and support local organisations & individuals
- “If you want to help, your first duty is to make sure you don’t make things worse.”
- The capture and trial of Joseph Kony may not stop the LRA and won’t bring justice to its many victims
- (Tweet) “Responsible advocacy includes: don’t make yourself the hero; don’t lose the nuance that matters; respect agency of those you want to help”
- Taking action is good, now read up on the facts
- Kony is not in Uganda
- Not the way to address conflict
- “ The awareness of American college students is NOT a necessary condition for conflict resolution in Africa.”
- In advocacy, do simplify, but don’t distort
- “This is a principled campaign ad, and a very, very effective one.”
- The gulf in understanding between commentators and the people experiencing the problem first hand
- “What we need is not academics who ‘simplify better’ but activists who ‘complexify better’.”
- “The only useful response to the Kony 2012 campaign is conditional support”
- “We must educate ourselves to know the fuller story and the complexities of the situation”
- Celebrity tweets ramped up the viral spread
What do YOU think?
- Sour grapes from people who didn’t come up with a successful video themselves?
- Clever use of 21st century communications?
- Dangerous simplification?
- Misguided good intentions?
- Easy criticism of paternalism, to justify doing nothing?
Let’s have a debate!
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- Irish NGOs and social media
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Entry filed under: Development Effectiveness. Tags: Activism, Africa, Campaigns, Communications, Conflict, Development Education, Effectiveness, Good Intentions, Invisible Children, Kony, Kony2012, Peace, Smart Aid, StopKony, Uganda, Video.