The Real Meaning Of Kony 2012

kony1Via Warscapes, Dinaw Mengestu explains that the viral video’s appeal is that “the real star of Kony 2012 isn’t Joseph Kony, it’s us”:

Kony 2012 is the most successful example of the recent “activist” movement to have taken hold of celebrities and college students across America. This movement believes devoutly in fame and information, and in our unequivocal power to affect change as citizens of a privileged world. Our privilege is the both the source of power and the origin of our burden – a burden which, in fact, on closer scrutiny, isn’t really a burden at all, but an occasion to celebrate our power … helping to end the war in Darfur is as simple as adding a toolbar to your browser.

In the world of Kony 2012, Joseph Kony has evaded arrest for one dominant reason: Those of us living in the western world haven’t known about him, and because we haven’t known about him, no one has been able to stop him. The film is more than just an explanation of the problem; it’s the answer as well. It’s a beautiful equation that can only work so long as we believe that nothing in the world happens unless we know about it, and that once we do know about it, however poorly informed and ignorant we may be, every action we take is good, and more importantly, “makes a difference.”

What makes Kony 2012 especially frustrating, however, is that the film traffics in a sentimental and infantilizing version of Africa that is so prevalent we don’t even notice it. The idea behind a name such as “Invisible Children” is on par with the sentiments of the first colonists who claimed to have discovered the New World and Africa: We didn’t know about it, therefore it didn’t exist. The children of Uganda were never invisible to their families and communities, who long before the first flood of NGO’s to the region, worked for years to protect them. To claim they were invisible because a group of college students traveling through Uganda happened to stumble upon a war they were too ignorant to have known of before going to the region is, to put it mildly, patronizing …

Read the rest at Warscapes

12 Comments on "The Real Meaning Of Kony 2012"

  1. Jin The Ninja | Mar 20, 2012 at 3:51 pm |

    love warscapes. great link.

  2. Hadrian999 | Mar 20, 2012 at 4:06 pm |

    Honestly it blows my mind that so many people didn’t know about Kony and the LRA before. people will do their comfortable good deed and wear a t-shirt then forget and move on to the next fashionable tragedy, We don’t actually want to change the world, that takes hard work, we just want the occasional ego stroke from fair weather activism then go back to playing angry birds on our I-PAD 3’s and eating our artificially cheap blood chocolate

    • gravyrobber | Mar 20, 2012 at 5:27 pm |

      fair weather activism then go back to playing angry birds on our I-PAD 3’s and eating our artificially cheap blood chocolate.” I was waiting for the ‘sent from my iPhone’ at the end… 

      But while I agree with the sentiment of this rant, it’s also an ego stroke of us to smugly sit back and call bullshit on self-congratulatory ‘activists’. Bringing our attention to actual problems in the world seems to incur a certain wrath of energy that could be better spent going to these regions and trying to help in some real, tangible way. If Invisible Children is doing anything overtly bad (besides operating as a front for CIA-backed intervention to exploit oil reserves in Uganda), it’s they’re calling attention to the fact that we all really live in an insular bubble of comfort that precludes us from experiencing the rest of the world’s very real plight. In other words, if we actually invested the time, energy, resources into being individuals that fought oppression rather than point fingers at others, we might affect some better results. As it is, we’re satisfied to write snarky internet rants, like this.- Sent from my iPhone

      • Jin The Ninja | Mar 20, 2012 at 6:16 pm |

         the very real ‘plight’ that we’ve created through western economic and foreign policy ideology. what you see around you is the facade of consumer culture, Kony 2012, did not wake people up, it put them back to sleep- into a self congratulatory 24 year old dream.

      • Hadrian999 | Mar 20, 2012 at 6:29 pm |

        i am in my prep and planning stages, all paid for by uncle sam. the sad fact is most people will forget or move on to something new and fun, even regarding activity inside the usa, it’s hard to motivate the masses to do anything when doing something means fundamentally changing their lifestyle and recognizing that we have been part of the problem for a while

        • Themaleanatomy | Mar 20, 2012 at 7:35 pm |

          Well.. I can handle ADD do gooders.. its better than nothing. I agree with your sentiments about people blinding themselves with lifestyle brands and ignoring the pain of others. I hope your plan works out and you make the world a better place. Maybe I can help when you have an organization.

  3. the Context is U.S. purposely Blacks Out news from Africa i.e. Activities of Africom ; secret prison in Somalia and no doubt other places ; U.S. killing in Yemen ; Somalia ; Uganda  fo-get-bout-it , it’s censored , the drone killing is daily event .
    As far as Uganda , it’s covered up as well , the use of their troops to wag war in Somalia by Obama or that Ugandan president is a Hated Dictator ( Pres. For life) MORE HATED than Kony who hasn’t been active in 5 years , according to reports and this hyperactive guy who who made Video , runs out in street , apparently on drugs , masturbating IS INDICATION OF PCP TYPE DRUG . Yet narrative was set early on ” Not on drugs according to Family ” How would they know , how would Media know before any toxicology reports .
    Other FACT this story excludes is it’s bout a RESOURCE WAR in Africa and ” Humanitarianism ” is always used as pretext to send U.S. troops ( into Africa ). OIL : Cobalt for high tech weaponry and Bush set ground work by sending ” MILITARY FOR HUMANITARIANISM ”  Are you FN kidding and media parrots their devious actions .

  4. The real meaning of Kony 2012 is people have been duped into paying a pervert to wander drunk in public and masturbate.

  5. This text sounds more like some neocolonial bs!  So just with the approval of the west that anything can happen in the rest of the world?

  6. Marklar_Prime | Mar 20, 2012 at 8:14 pm |

    The true story of Kony 2012 is the speed with which the alternative news was able to expose it for being a disinformation psyop designed to justify US imperialism in Africa.

  7. I don’t think that the Kony 2012 video ever promised an easy answer.  Just because someone had a unique idea of how to change a seemingly hopeless situation, and successfully promoted it, doesn’t mean that it has to be the be-all end-all answer to all of Africa’s problems, or else it’s fatally flawed. If there were an easy solution, someone would have thought about it by now.
    The creator of Kony 2012 used his passion and persuasive talents with youth to raise money, and put the bulk of that money into creating a catchy movie about a real issue. He wanted to get the attention of the Western audience, an audience long accustomed to big-budget films. That was his idea, and I can see the intent behind it. It sure got a lot of people talking. I see no reason why that is a bad thing. What, because we’re just going to tweet ourselves to sleep? That no one who learned something new will benefit from it? That none of these people will make any iota of change because we’re all useless? I like to have a little more hope in humanity than that.

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