make kony famous

For about a week everyone was crazy about discussing the Kony 2012 video. And then it all just … stopped. Which is a shame, because even though people were divided and entrenched, at least we were talking about Uganda and slaves and the Lord’s Resistance Army.

Which summarizes my thoughts on the video: people were learning, people were talking.

A friend sent me a Critical Analysis of the video, written by a man who lives in Uganda. And of course, these sorts of things were all over the place, from videos of the Ugandan responses to the Kony 2012 video, to activists seeking to transfer the conversation to their own cause, to rich white Americans criticizing Invisible Children. What they all have in common: they miss the point.

The criticisms aren’t false, they simply fail to see good.

Yes, it takes white hipsters to make other white hipsters care — but that doesn’t mean it’s not an issue worth caring about.

Yes, the issues presented are surface-level — but Americans refuse to know the horrific truth (just ask anyone who has ever written for a Christian publisher).

Yes, it’s over-simplified, and although Dr. Branch (who, abstaining from social media, fails to understand the way social media are used) “helpfully” offers to share the syllabus from his undergrad course, I’m willing to bet we aren’t going to be able to rally the necessary forces by first asking them to commit to 40+ hours of research.

Yes, we are white people trying to help Africans — but are we really going to hide behind the criticism of “white man’s burden” and label this an African problem (you know, like the Holocaust was a Jewish problem)?

Yes, there are other dire situations in the world, and even in America — but we must not be paralyzed with indecision.

Yes, Ugandans are offended and angry with the video — but they aren’t (and don’t understand the paradigm of) the target audience; they tolerate much more reality than Americans will. Should we risk comparing their reaction to the video against their reaction to an uncaring, silent world? Or would that be easier to bare, for it is already the established norm?

Let us not cease to care simply because there are problems with the Kony 2012 movement. Let us not permit rape, slavery, mutilation, and murder to continue simply because the founder of Invisible Children was vilified for his good intentions and collapsed under the pressure. Let us not forgo our political power simply because we are of a different race and paradigm.

But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?1 John 3:17


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