#Kony2012: Is It About The Ugandans?

So the extremely viral Kony2012 video has been a hit. It is officially the most viral video ever made amassing 100 million views in just 6 days. Before that Susan Boyle’s Britain Got Talent performance held the record, 3 days longer than the Invisible Children-developed video.

They want Joseph Kony.

Some netizens have been celebrating it as  success for cyber activism. The idea that from a computer across the world 100 million people at least have gotten access to a message that may not have gotten to them before has them doing cartwheels.

We ask one question, does all this mean anything? We watched the video and it presented what was essentially a western view of what happened in Uganda and it seemed as if the target market was people who pretty much looked like the producers of the video.

Then we started poking around to find out more about the trust and it seemed as if it had very little links to where the tragedy took place. It was a bunch of bored kids who found a new way to make money. After all the NGO route is one of the easiest routes to glory. Just create a cause and then guilt people into buying a badge or a hat or a t-shirt (we all watched Boondocks Fund Raiser episode). And about the t-shirt we don’t quite get why they would parade t-shirts with Kony’s face on it. It would be like Al Qaeda saying ‘let’s hunt down George W Bush’ and then going around with a photo of his face printed on their t-shirts.

Ah but because it is Africa how are those Ugandans going to know? The people who were most affected by Kony and his army have no access to the Internet so even if you pretty much ignore them and just use their cause to further some ideology – or money scheme –  how are they going to know?

On top of that, you are helping to soothe the conscience of those who somehow derive some sort of penance from seeing the suffering of others. They clicked, they watched the video then went off to watch some porn. But they watched the Kony video so they do not feel like bad people. They are ‘conscientising’ (that is a uniquely Zimbabwean word for creating consciousness/awareness) themselves and other people about the cruel world we live in and how justice must be served.

As for justice in the real sense the majority of those who watched the videos couldn’t be bothered. They will still live their lives –  after tweeting #kony2012 or #stopkony2012 – and may even engage in some unjust acts themselves. However they feel a little better than Kony. After all, he killed people.

Meanwhile, the people of Uganda are trying to piece their lives together. They don’t know that their despair increases someone else’s profit margin and makes another person feel better about themselves.

  • Rosaleenappelhans

    I have a friend who immediately wrote to the PM of Australia! People still act on injustices they see.
    Myself? I did not. I thought of the children here in Australia who suffer abuse that it is hard to check because people have all got ‘rights’ and it is so complex.
    It is complex in Africa too.

    • It is not cynicism. After I wrote that someone forwarded me a report from Uganda which says the people there were pretty upset. They walked out before the doccie was done.

      I am all for acting on injustices but in reality most of these pseudo-activism groups are a con. In this instance this has nothing to do with the people.