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Kony 2012

March 7, 2012

((Update: See after the video for more information.))

What do Justin Bieber, Madeline McCann and Adolf Hitler have in common?

The answer of course is very little. For many people the only real common thread is that they’ve heard of all of them. Though this might not seem like much of a theme to build on, but in light of the video below awareness is one of the most important things there is, especially these days.

They say knowledge is power, and if you believe that then you need to watch this video. And then you need to share it. Use that incredible power at your fingertips to do something relevant instead of twittering on about Justin Bieber. The internet is a tool for spreading knowledge all over the world. Let’s use it for something important.

And do it now, because it’s important now. Madeline McCann’s abduction was tragic, but it wasn’t new. That sort of thing happened to children a lot, the only difference with Madeline was that her case made headlines. It shouldn’t take another Madeline before the world can wake up to a tragedy that already affects thousands of children in other countries, and which is happening right now as you’re reading this.

As for Hitler, he was undoubtedly a tyrant but now he’s dead and gone, safely confined to history. But there are other tyrants who are living now, doing things as bad if not worse than the things Hitler did, and we shouldn’t have to wait for the history books to be written before we can know about them. That would be too late.

That’s what this video is about; knowledge, tragedy, tyranny and power. You probably don’t know who Joseph Kony is, or what he does, but this video will tell you, and then you’ll wonder how you hadn’t heard of him before. It’ll only take half an hour out of your life, but at the end of that half hour you’ll see how important this is. I can’t explain it in words in a way that will have the same impact or make it seem as important as the video does, so I’ll stop trying. The link for the video is below. Please watch it.

……

Update: As I’ve said before, I like how the internet and Twitter in particular can be used to spread important information, and the Kony 2012 movement is a prime example of this. However, in the post I’ve just linked to I also stated my frustrations when information is spread unchecked, presenting only one side of an argument and ultimately not really doing much good at all.

I’m not saying this is the case here. From what I can see of it, I think the ‘Kony 2012’ project is still an important one, due largely to what Tim Minchin just said on twitter:

The central thesis of #Kony2012 is that social media can be exploited to place great crimes in a bright spotlight. Hard to criticise that.

Though this in an important example of the use of social media for useful, productive and relevant causes, it MUST be remembered that every story has at least two sides. To that end here is another article that Tim Minchin just posted. As he says, “things are ALWAYS ethically complex“, and although few doubt that Joseph Kony is a Bad Man, the Invisible Child movement/group isn’t exactly doing things in a perfect way either. If you want to get the best view about this issue then read as much as you can, starting with the video and this article together.

Another article linked to in that one is here, again very rational but pointing out the other side of what’s going on behind this (undoubtedly pretty amazing) video.

Update 2: The Invisible Children organisation has responded to some of the criticisms and observations raised in the wake of the Kony 2012 video hitting the intertubes this week. It’s a brilliant response too, it’s very transparent and up front and addresses pretty much all the points raised against them. If you want to be informed about this read the response, because it looks to me like the best place to get the truth about what’s going on here is from the people who brought it up in the first place. That makes a nice change doesn’t it.

Update 3: There’s now been some fairly prominent backlash against the video. Here is the latest article denouncing the campaign as ‘at best ineffective, at worst dangerous’. Though it does raise some valid concerns about legitimacy and factual inaccuracy these are concerns that have, on the whole, been addressed in the above response from Invisible Children (which seems odd since the article itself strongly advocates fact-finding and enlightened decision making). Again I’d say read it and see if it changes your view on things, but also again remember that everything we’re seeing is coming from one perspective or another and that nothing is impartial. I still think the Invisible Children response is the most concise piece on this issue since the video initially hit the interwebs.

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