Kony 2012: A Clarification of our Critical Analysis

Yesterday, three LUNA editors collaboratively posted a critical analysis of Invisible Children’s Stop Kony campaign, which you can read here. The response to this piece was overwhelming, proving the powerful message that the video had on its viewers.

We’ve received many responses to this piece, and it appears that there has been some serious misinterpretations and extrapolations of both the piece, and our intentions. We would like to clarify that we in no way condemn the infrastructure building IC is doing in central Africa, nor do we condemn the awareness raised by the organisation. In fact, we applaud it. They have both saved and improved countless lives and deserve to be congratulated for their efforts.

The entire purpose of our analysis, as we have previously stated, is to provide extra information to those who are not as well versed on the subject and provide them with an alternative point of view to IC’s official stance. Our aim was to encourage people to familiarise themselves with an issue, cause or charity before throwing themselves 100% behind it- or rather, to ensure that they’ve evaluated an idea fully before following their friends on a social media network. A world in which the blind lead the blind is neither comfortable nor safe for anyone.

Due to the large rise in IC’s popularity over the last 48 hours, the organisation has been subject to an increased amount of scrutiny. As a result, they have released an official statement to address some of the questions that have been asked by the media.

We at LUNA encourage all who’ve read our piece, pieces like it, or are generally interested in the IC cause to take the time to read this response, which clarifies a number of points that had been ambiguous up until this point.

The provided information addresses some of the criticisms we raised two days ago about the organisation, and is essential reading to anyone who is looking to actively support their cause.

One of the key points addressed by IC is the allocation of their funds. Whilst indeed, they acknowledge that less than a third of their money goes directly towards development assistance and rehabilitation in LRA-affected areas, the statement explains that the remaining two-thirds are directed towards advocacy campaigns and the production and touring of documentary films. Whilst these are in fact transparent causes, this is vital information that should be made clear to those who are looking to pledge money towards the cause, as it may deter those who wish to more directly contribute to the active rebuilding and rehabilitation of the Ugandan nation. By releasing and publicising these numbers in their official response, IC have demonstrated that they are taking the anti-transparency claims very seriously and are looking to dispel any allegations of financial misuse. We hope that this new-found emphasis on transparency will continue in future, and that would-be supporters can now fully understand the cause before pledging themselves financially to it.

Our only criticism of IC is the way in which they present their policies, namely their aggressive approach towards the capture of Kony. Although IC clarifies numerous allegations related to finances in their statement, they do still stand by their initial approach to capture Kony by force and with the aid of the Ugandan army (UPDF).

As an informational platform, it is not our place to judge their perspective, but we feel it is our place to make the reader aware that this hostile position is not presented in a manner that acknowledges the severity or repercussions of such actions. As a result, supporters of the charity may be unaware of the extended intricacies of what they are actually supporting.

The most notable case of this, as we have stated before, is that Kony surrounds himself and is known to only trust those of a young age. Therefore, to violently hunt Kony down will result in the inevitable murder of children that have been forced to serve under the warlord. This is a horrifying prospect that is not adequately emphasised in IC’s most recent video.

King’s College London’s Jack McDonald recently echoed these concerns:

“The idea that popular opinion can be leveraged with viral marketing to induce foreign military intervention is really, really dangerous. It is immoral to try and sell a sanitised vision of foreign intervention that neglects the fact that people will die as a result.”

In conclusion, we applaud IC for listening to public response and clarifying a number of ambiguous or contentious points, and we implore them to continue doing so in future. When releasing content that will have the same level of social impact as their most recent campaign, campaigners in general must ensure they are providing viewers with all of the facts, otherwise pressure will come from those to whom the information does not line up properly.

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