The hunt for Joseph Kony has become a viral sensation with people tweeting, sharing and changing their profiles to make Joseph Kony a international celebrity to help bring him to justice.
Celebrities ranging from the Kardashians, Oprah and Rihanna have shown support for the Kony 2012 movement by encouraging their followers to watch the video. The video has now received over 69 million views on Youtube.
No one is questioning the authenticity of Joseph Kony’s crimes, the evidence is overwhelming, and he was a terror to the Ugandan people; but notice I used the past tense ‘was’. A wave of negative backlash question the timing of the Kony 2012 campaign and the credibility of the Invisible Children organisation.
Some Ugandan people have claimed Joseph Kony has been inactive since 2006, and footage from the viral video is old. Reuters reports that Kony may be dead and the LRA were forced out of the country in 2005, which explains their inactivity. A blog, Visible Children- dedicated to critically analysing the campaign wrote:
“Invisible Children has been condemned time and time again. As a registered not-for-profit, its finances are public. Last year, the organization spent $8,676,614. Only 32% went to direct services (page 6), with much of the rest going to staff salaries, travel and transport, and film production. This is far from ideal, and Charity Navigator rates their accountability 2/4 stars because they haven’t had their finances externally audited. But it goes way deeper than that.”
The Invisible Children organisation respond to the criticism by breaking down their finances and breaking down their goals in this blog post.
The graph from the Invisible Children blog post, validates the notion that only about 37 percent of the money raised goes to Central African programs. Mashable reports in 2011 “$1,074,273 was allocated to travel and $1,724,993 was allocated to staff compensation.”
And for the people sharing and tweeting the Kony 2012 video: have you done any research before going behind the campaign?– The media have accused people of ‘Slacktivism’– or more specifically Charity Slacktivism, Wikipedia defines it: “Charity slacktivism can be described as actions in support of a cause that take little effort on the part of the individual.” Slacktivism involves the act of liking, tweeting and sharing the Kony 2012 video without taking an active role in the campaign.
It begs the question, does social media encourage slacktivism? and moreover it is really effective?
Slacktivism has it’s flaws but in general, it is not a bad thing– raising awareness can help a cause achieve it’s goals; such as the money raised in the Haiti earthquake crisis in 2010 was in part due to slacktivism.
The main objective of this post is to encourage a bit of skepticism before jumping on the bandwagon.
So, do I support Kony 2012? I don’t think is it a bad thing, and the documentary is insightful but I do not know enough about the organisation to donate, and due to Joesph Kony inactivity and unknown were abouts, I am uncertain that he is still in Uganda.
Here is a video of a Ugandan woman, claiming the Kony 2012 video is misleading due to its timing and the inactivity of the LRA.