The controversy surrounding Kony 2012

What is going on with all the Kony 2012/Jason Russell drama? I stumbled upon a few articles last night that are saying how Russell being hospitalized is jeopardizing the entire project. Another one said that Kony 2012 is more about Jason Russell than actually capturing Joseph Kony. Is all of this true though?

First of all, even though Russell is the mastermind behind Kony 2012, it has gained so much momentum and struck so much interest in people around the world, that it would be difficult for it to just collapse. Regardless of where he is, he has other people working with him. Kony 2012 has offices all over America, and supporters world wide. One of the criticisms that their campaign received from a student was that they are “narrow minded” to think that resolving this problem is easy. Another professor said that the region in Northern Uganda where Kony is running his operation has not seen turmoil in several years. She suggested that Russell and the rest of the Kony 2012 team channel their efforts to more active war lords in Uganda. This makes perfect sense, but contrary to the negative media, Kony 2012 can be a success because:

1. Movements like this have a domino effect, only a bit slower. See, the problem is the governments in these countries do not use their power to abolish child soldier practices because of the mass population, and possibly corruption. Russell’s campaign can stop Kony in Uganda, by which time they might have the power to influence the Ugandan politicians to implement the rules more strongly. Once that happens, they can make similar projects in the rest of Africa. I know it’s easier said than done, but anything is possible. Honestly, that is why Kony 2012 is took off with a deafening bang – because Russell and his team believed it was possible.

2. Russell and his team may have oversimplified the situation, but with a Facebook page, a Twitter account and a website they are obviously encouraging people to get involved. Of course their goals would be slightly more difficult to reach if they were all alone, but they have almost the entire world on their side! As much as we admire Russell for initiating this, he cannot override the power of the supporters.

Now the next problem is the fact that YouTube disable the comment button, meaning about 500,000 comments got deleted from the video. This is what one article calls “invisible media” – they are saying that “we don’t interact as much as we respond” Basically, everybody has their say, but interaction can be more difficult on social media sites than when people are talking face to face. Yes, our lives do frequently run on social media, because it makes communication easier. Especially for a campaign that is this huge, it would be impossible for everyone to interact in person – social media solves this problem. The fact that YouTube does not allow people to post comments is the best for Kony 2012. Often, people will post comments that are critical or negative, and even though freedom of speech allows them to do this, the video is not the place to do so. There are other ways to express your disagreement with Kony 2012, through your Facebook status, your blog, Twitter, or whatever. The video and all the other social media surrounding the movement are all working towards a goal. Negative comments will only steer away from that. The team is obviously very important to the success of this campaign, but they cannot have all the light shone on them. This is not about them as much as it is about their common goal to stop war lords like Joseph Kony, and to protect the children who are at risk. The only way Kony 2012 can fail is if everyone loses focus.

Many thoughts going out to the Kony 2012 team!
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References: http://www.thestar.com/news/world/article/1142287–kony-2012-campaign-goes-viral-in-an-effort-to-help-hunt-down-ugandan-warlord-joseph-kony
http://theconversation.edu.au/kony-2012-and-the-case-of-the-invisible-media-5954 http://www.mysanantonio.com/opinion/columnists/maria_anglin/article/Viral-video-shines-too-much-light-on-Jason-Russell-3430446.php http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/24/us-uganda-kony-future-idUSBRE82N00P20120324

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