“Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come”
It’s how the Kony2012 documentary starts; and 50 million views later here we are. An honorable idea. And my question is “now what?” Making a difference takes more than clicking a “Like” button on Facebook or Youtube. It takes more than random acts of political vandalism with posters, bumpers stickers, and yard signs. In the documentary Jason Russell tells his young Ugandan friend “We’re going to stop them, I promise”. But how do you plan on doing that? Will you take an armed militia and hunt Joseph Kony down yourself?
I admire the team at Invisible Children utilizing social media and viral marketing to it’s full potential. And I know their hope would be another Arab Spring, Social Media tsunami forcing legislators to send in Seal Team 6 to capture a guerrilla warlord in the jungles of Africa . But those involved in the Arab Spring mobilized and physically threw off the shackles of their oppressors themselves. No amount of support from American 20 something hipsters through Facebook was going to overthrow Muammar Gadaffi.
The Kony2012 team lays out a plan and a deadline. April 20 for organized media overload and to capture Joseph Kony by December 31. But beyond that, how are people going to physically take action to help? If making a big enough noise to the international community actually results in Joseph Kony’s capture, who will be there to pick up the pieces and put the lives of the children back together? Who will be there to ensure there’s not a second lieutenant who steps up to fill the shoes of a war criminal? Who will provide the counseling and deprogramming of thousands of brainwashed soldiers who had their childhood stolen?
If every person who watched the KONY2012 video donated $10, it would provide basic education for every child on the planet.
My problem with the whole thing is exactly that. What happens next? I see a bunch of people worldwide caught up in the next “cool thing to do”, when these things have been going on for years. If you dig a little deeper into the facts of the LRA, you’ll find they’ve been dwindling for years and their power is fading. Jason Russell himself said that he’s been on this mission for nearly 10 years. I’ve been involved in child sponsorship with World Vision International for 4 years. People turn their eyes as they walk by the sponsorship table because they don’t want to deal with it. They don’t want to make the commitment to a long term cause. What about the countless other “Invisible _______” around the world we turn a blind eye to? How about the Somali warlords starving their country? Or the human right violations of China? What about child slavery in India?
Does anyone remember Haiti still hasn’t recovered yet?
Commitment to a cause, whether it’s aid to Haiti or awareness to capture a terrorist, takes action and effort beyond saying “someone should do something about that”. It takes time, money, and effort long after the excitement and celebrity endorsement is over. If Joseph Kony isn’t in prison on January 1, 2013 will you still care?