Stopping Kony, or stopping video activism?

08/03/2012 at 12:03 pm 19 comments

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:

http://vimeo.com/37119711

The reactions (grossly mis-represented here, for the sake of brevity):

Reactions from Africa:

Critics:

Question marks about Invisible Children as an organisation

Others:

Advocacy:

Jokers:

And much, much more via Brendan Rigby’s A Reader’s Digest of Kony 2012 and the Guardian blog, ‘What’s the real story?’

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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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Further reading:

And also:

Entry filed under: Development Effectiveness. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Trade, Growth and Development How do we communicate global poverty?

19 Comments Add your own

  • 1. galwayowc  |  08/03/2012 at 1:21 pm

    I’m afraid I only managed to watch the first ten minutes of the video and I’m not sure if I can force myself to watch the rest without throwing up … it makes me feel extremely uncomfortable (which can be a good thing) for all the wrong reasons, some of which you list above under the ‘criticism’ list. I do think it is quite an interesting way to harness ‘new’ technology, but wish it had be done with more care. I am worried that people might think that this is the way forward and forget that social media really is about ‘now’ and I’m not sure if constructive debates can be maintained for long – so people may be left with a very one-sided short-lived bit that supports and feeds into their prejudice rather than encourages them to think.
    And I really really do not like the over-emotive side of it – development and justice is about rights not about feeling good.

    Reply
  • 2. Lizzy Noone  |  08/03/2012 at 1:36 pm

    Very inspiring, very clear and simple what people need to do, I think we have a lot to learn from it. I’m dubious about the US army in Uganda but as a campaign I can’t fault it. Great for young people in particular.

    There is a little bit of the white saviour about it though.

    Reply
  • 3. Katherine  |  08/03/2012 at 3:28 pm

    Fantastic. These are exactly the links that need to be on a forum like this and then put on facebook/twitter etc. People should think/read do a bit of research about what they head/see before passing on videos such as the Kony 2012.

    These links will hopefully encourage people to be objective and not to take everything for granted. :0

    Reply
  • 4. Mary  |  08/03/2012 at 7:30 pm

    I think this type of conversation is a good way to handle this topic.
    There are pros and cons to this video strategy, I personally don’t like the guys son being on screen, I find the simplification annoying and the notion of America as saviour irritating in the extreme. However – I’d prefer people were doing something than doing nothing, I can’t see the harm in informing and causing debate, and I am equally irritated by people who say ‘I know more than you, and you’re wrong’, every time i get involved with a cause.
    Perhaps we all need to give up being right, even if we are right on this conversation. Because mainly all that leads to is a conversation about how others are wrong!!! Perhaps we might start by offering resources, information, options to people who are searching …. what else is available to those who have just woken up to Kony, and want to make a difference, how can they get involved & make a difference. Offer choice not criticism, and people will find truth and justice.

    Reply
  • 5. A reader's digest of KONY 2012 | whydev.org  |  08/03/2012 at 11:11 pm

    [...] Stopping Kony, or stopping video activism? (dochasnetwork’s blog) [...]

    Reply
  • 6. maxmichel  |  09/03/2012 at 9:49 pm

    It is a very thought provoking documentary, and over 30 million views in just a couple of days… amazing. I wrote an article on the subject as well: http://exodusme.wordpress.com/2012/03/09/why-kony-is-still-free/

    All the best,
    Michel

    Reply
  • 7. KONY 2012 | Good Intentions Are Not Enough  |  12/03/2012 at 7:00 pm

    [...] Stopping Kony, or stopping video activism? – Dochas Network’s Blog – Lists posts by type/viewpoint [...]

    Reply
  • 8. Ixak  |  12/03/2012 at 7:04 pm

    I think it’s important to remember that this is an internet phenomenon, driven in large part by the most interconnected, internet savvy demographics – people in their teens and twenties.

    How we discuss this issue and the overwhelming reaction to it is part of how we discuss their growing awareness of a world that they are far more connected to than their parents ever will be.

    http://rubiconman.blogspot.com/2012/03/lotsof-buzz-these-past-few-days-over.html

    Reply
  • 9. Caoimhe de Barra  |  12/03/2012 at 10:56 pm

    I think Ixak is right – the lessons from this are all about internet activism. The Kony video is out of touch with what’s going on in Uganda but it is a powerful reminder of what is possible through internet activism. Ocampo makes a good point when he says that these young people could be off surfing in California, but instead they are putting their time, energy and creativity into activism for social justice, however poorly informed. Some of the negative responses to the campaign remind me of a slogan on a t-shirt I saw in Washington DC ten years ago. The words were more colourful than this, but ‘Stop whinging, start a revolution’ is how it would translate in Ireland. An internet revolution, of course.

    Reply
  • 10. Ese video… « Al Borde del Caos  |  12/03/2012 at 11:15 pm

    [...] en Inglés), recuerden visitar A reader´s digest of Kony, y un filtro por categorías varias en Stopping Kony or stopping video activism? . Realmente valioso me pareció el post de TMS Ruge, nacional de Uganda y viviendo en la [...]

    Reply
  • 11. CR  |  13/03/2012 at 2:34 am

    Outdated information to raise funds for an organization should never be tolerated. It is sad to see so many people being hooked by an emotional campaign and give money for an issue that subsided in 2006. It is discouraging the press is not bringing up the misinformation more. It is horrifiying people/press are not listening to and considering the reactions of Ugandans regarding this campaign. I am still trying to grasp why anyone would continue to support this organization and campaign after learning about the above. Why give money to a cause that doesn’t exist? Why give money to an uneducated plan that has been proven to be ineffective? IC is not a trained organization in international development. Why aren’t people listening to those who are highly trained in international development saying there are many flaws in this campaign that can do more harm than good? Money should be given to organizations trying to improve current issues in Uganda and around the world. In an interview, Jason stated working directly on the field is an old model and his way is a new model. This clearly shows his lack of understanding on community development and humaniatrian work. All of this is very frustrating. Please ask the press to report more on Ugandans reactions as well as the blatant misrepresention of facts. IC needs to be held accountable for false information.

    Reply
  • 12. How Matters  |  13/03/2012 at 4:07 am

    Thanks for linking to my post on how-matters.org. @InnovateAfrica & I hosted a live chat today to reflect more the issues that came up from our posts on #StopKony. Read more at: http://www.how-matters.org/2012/03/12/searching-for-closure-a-kony2012-postscript/

    Reply
  • 13. Idea Ireland  |  13/03/2012 at 4:44 pm

    I found the video disturbing- the slick camera work, the welling string music, the cute American child,… on reflection I feel the technicall astute production methods of this video prepared me to be more skeptical of the cause than I would normally have been. The strong emphasis on heroism was also off-putting. I agree with many commenters that one of the key learnings in this is about complexity- how simple should we make things in order to engage people? How do we engage the public in complex challenges, without boring or confusing everyone?
    One great thing about Kony 2012 is that it has stumulated this debate in ireland, we should take advantage of that!

    Reply
  • 14. Hans Zomer  |  13/03/2012 at 6:53 pm

    This tweet sums it up really well:

    https://mobile.twitter.com/JeremyKonyndyk/status/177521325487828992

    And here’s my tuppence worth:
    http://www.irishtimes.com/letters/index.html#1224313202944

    Reply
  • [...] But don’t stop asking questions. These and many other important links are assembled under Stopping Kony, or Stopping Video Activism? at Dochasnetwork, the network of Irish NGOs working for global justice. There’s a stable, [...]

    Reply
  • 16. Deborah Sheeran  |  15/03/2012 at 10:51 pm

    I think the video itself is fantastic – compulsive viewing. Re what the critics are saying, yes, they absolutely have a point but what’s REALLY annoying me is that people are debating the video and not Kony.
    Surely if you are angry your anger should be directed at Kony? If you are frustrated then it should be with the politicians and media who never saw the plight of those in Northern Uganda as being important until millions of potential voters heard about it via youtube.
    I feel people are STILL missing the point – we should be asking what we are going to do about Kony not Kony 2012. And no, simply redecorating Dublin with posters and stickers will not change the world but neither are we helpless to effect change.

    Reply
  • [...] * * * * Vaata ka Iirimaa arengukoostöö ühenduste võrgustiku Dochas blogi kokkuvõtet erinevatest arvamustest kampaania [...]

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  • [...] Ilmselt ei ole vaja meenutadagi kurikuulsat Kony2012 kampaaniat, mis oma ülipopulaarse video kaudu kutsus üles püüdma kinni Uganda sõjakurjategija Joseph Konyt, kuid langes koheselt nii suure kriitikatule alla, et põhjustas kampaania autori närvivapustuse. Sellest, kas Kony2012 oli geniaalne teavituskampaani või stereotüüpne ja naiivne maailmaparandus, oleme aasta tagasi kirjutanud Postimehes. Iirimaa arengukoostöö ühenduste võrgustik Dochas on oma blogisse koondanud suurepärase kogumiku kampaani kohta avaldatud kriitikast. [...]

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  • […] Stopping Kony, or stopping video activism? – Dochas Network’s Blog – Lists posts by type/viewpoint […]

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