It has been almost a month since the now famous KONY 2012 video circulated on the internet, or at least on my laptop. It was hard to escape the dozens of shares that would appear every hour on my facebook homepage.
Today is a very different story than what was heard a month ago about this infamous video. Public attention seems to have shifted from the inspirational video that made a dozen of my facebook friends change their profile picture to Joseph Kony, to an organization under much criticism lately.
In a closer look at this video, we must understand that it is nothing less than a form of modern propaganda. It starts off with the star of the show showing his family and how peaceful they are, and with the manipulation of his son. In its last minutes, the video is convincing you to buy one of their “Action Kits”, or their “Kony Bracelets”.
The thirty minute Kony 2012 video is one of the longest sales pitches that people would expose themselves to… and it works. With a look at the Invisible Children website I noticed that all their “action kits” are sold out.
I am critical of this organization because I was involved with an organization that was bent on ending the Ugandan civil war and I find that Invisible Children has been unreliable in terms of solving the Kony problem. And there are a few things about it that I am uncomfortable with.
Firstly, the organization spent over 8 million dollars last year and rough estimates state that only 32 cents on every dollar actually went to direct services, while the other 68 cents went to paying employee salaries, plane tickets and this famous film production.
I am surprised that this NGO would ask for increased military intervention which would result in a renewed conflict with the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). It is ironic that the Kony 2012 video states that the LRA is outside of Uganda near the beginning of the video, but is calling for the US military to train Ugandan forces before the video’s end. Notably, the Ugandan military has been known to use child soldiers.
Why would Invisible Children want to support a renewed war between the LRA and the Ugandan government if their purpose is to “save the children”? They place a disproportionate burden on the LRA for using child soldiers to justify the means of the Ugandan military. Clearly a war between these two groups would endanger more Ugandan and Congolese children.
When we reflect on KONY 2012, we should recognize that propaganda still exists today and through many different mediums. The video evokes emotional responses from its viewers, and then urges them to support a cause without providing context or objective facts. Be wary of an argument that only consists of pathos. Ask questions and, above all, think critically.
Ryan Husk -1st year Carleton university student
The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author's own and do not necessarily represent those of The Prince Arthur Herald.
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