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Kony 2012 Campaign: What Bandwagon Are You Really Jumping On?

In days, the Kony 2012 video has gone viral reaching millions of viewers from sheer concern for children who have been pegged invisible. To slightly reiterate what certainly many know by now, Stop Kony 2012 is an online campaign to raise awareness about Ugandan guerrilla leader Joseph Kony along with the Lord’s Resistance Army which abducts and forces thousands of children to fight in his army.

Mind you, this forcible fighting has been going on for two decades. Anytime to lend help is wonderful, but have you stopped to wonder why now? If celebs have anything, they have power to make an issue a movement. But before Rihanna and Taylor Swift hopped online to tweet to their million followers to look at the sensational video or help the cause, did you stop to research what exactly is the cause?

Wanting to help others in need is what connects our human heartstrings, but I’ve been more astute about my time, effort, and money since funneling the aforementioned into Yele Haiti, Wyclef Jean’s Haiti earthquake relief charity. According to, less than a third of the accumulated $16 million went to the actual emergency relief.

Moving forward, my reservations don’t stand alone, Luso Mnthali of “AfriPop” raises poignant thoughts and questions including is this a farce to further project a “White Savior Syndrome,” where the White man becomes the savior. According to Chris Blattman, a Yale political scientist, he is in agreement, stating the Invisible Children’s program is aligning to be a dead ringer.

Luso Mnthali goes on to say:

“At this point, you must know Kony is one hideous, hideous man. No question. And anybody would want to stop him. Yet the timing of this IC campaign is suspicious — why on earth does the IC lead savior campaigner, former child soldier Jacob’s best friend in the whole world, not explain that Kony is no longer involved in Uganda, and that no one knows where he is? Why is the IC funding the Ugandan military, and how are we even going to sit here through the days of AFRICOM and pretend like the US government and its army are simply ‘advisers’? Why does this campaign look like only Americans can save Ugandans/Africans, when meanwhile Ugandans have been saving and helping themselves for many years? Completely nuts.

Crazy in that this hipster almost all-white movement’s axis point, the video that went viral in a day, comes at a crucial time in American politics. A time when the questions asked by some are why neo-colonialist assumptions about the rightness of aid and awareness are no longer finding easy answers. And as Africans we are asking ourselves why now? Before any of you get excited, or don’t, for whatever reason, there are some very real points to take into consideration. From a Ugandan’s perspective like Musa Okwonga’s (he has family ties to the region in question) to Solomme Lemma’s take on this campaign, there are some very strong points to be made about why supporting the Kony2012 campaign is the wrong idea.”

In this technological space we are afforded, we have to better police ourselves. Researching the research is necessary. Making people accountable by asking questions about their campaigns should not be a stretch for them—or us. Take the time to have a clear understanding of what’s really going on before emptying your pockets. Besides how helpful are invisible minds to invisible children, if indeed they are?

By Deidre White

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