Let's Think Ahead
Awareness. This one word is the center of Invisible Children’s 2012 campaign to stop Joseph Kony and his militia of child soldiers in Uganda, Africa. Invisible Children would like to make us AWARE of many things, most importantly and most recently they launched the “Cover the Night” campaign to make every single person in America aware of Joseph Kony and his child soldiers.
I have been a supporter of Invisible Children since I was first exposed to their agency in 2008 as a Freshman at Judge Memorial Catholic High School in Salt Lake City Utah. Their message seemed very clear, and with all their enthusiastic speakers and touching videos, I was instantly entertained and reeled onto the “Stop Kony” bandwagon. Every year since then I have attended the assemblies hosted by Invisible Children and I have supported them 100%, with the belief that someday their message would reach our government and their dreams to stop Kony would come true. Recently however, I have become worried about the Kony 2012 campaign that has seized facebook and twitter, as well as the lunch room conversation.
America has always been the “mediator” for every nation’s problems: All European nations are fighting, in swoops Americans to tip the scale to one side. Vietnam has a problem, in swoops the Americans to try to save the day! Iraq’s people aren’t satisfied with their government, in swoops America to capture the corrupt leader. And now Uganda. According to history America should be frothing at the mouth to swoop in and fix the problem; my question is how long will we support America in Africa? Because if I recall correctly, awareness is what lead us into Vietnam, into Iraq and what might be leading us into Africa. There is one vital fact that the Kony campaign of 2012 has seemed to skip over in all their advertisements and viral videos; and that is the fact that Kony has lived under the radar for 30 years, and although we are ‘AMERICA’ and we have fantastic technology and the desire to hunt him down, doesn’t mean that we will.
In the end, what America wants isn’t Kony, what America wants is a success story. We want to be the hero, we want to be the ones to bring Kony to justice and set his child soldiers free. But what is just as likely is the possibility of another Osama Bin Laden incident. You know the one I’m talking about, that one time when we invaded Afghanistan then couldn’t find him for 10 years, and during those 10 years everybody started to hate the president and didn’t support the troops anymore. Ya that thing, I’m not sure we should do that again; mostly because we are still trying to dig ourselves out of that hole.
So what’s the take away? Well first off let me start by saying this: Although I have seen the darker side of Invisible Children (like the fact that only 37% of total revenue went directly to African Aid), I still support them, because they are fighting for a good cause. They want to help people who cannot help themselves. Secondly, I have watched the viral video, as well as many others, and I am planning on attending “Cover the Night” in Salt Lake City. But, lastly my third and most important point, support to find Kony is different 2-3 years down the road, not to mention 10 (Iraq). Making 10-17 year olds aware of Joseph Kony is a smart advertisement move. But when it comes down to it most kids are not able to comprehend the side effects of storming an African country to find a notoriously “invisible” warlord.
It seems great on paper, the idea of capturing someone who abuses kids in Uganda, but the reality is there is so much more that goes into a decision to invade a country. Thinking back into history, the majority of Americans supported the decision to invade Afghanistan, as well as our involvement in Vietnam. But what we seem to forget when supporting Kony 2012 is how people feel about those decisions now. They regret them. The reality is Kony is just as slippery as Bin Laden, and we barely caught him, 10 years after we became aware of him. If you are going to support America’s involvement in Kony 2012, you better be supporting it in 2022.