Think Twice Before Clicking "Like" On That Kony 2012 Video, Miami Facebook Users

Categories: Viral Video
joseph-kony-2012.jpg
If you're on Facebook, the video called called Kony 2012 has surely popped into your feed sometime this week. Again and again, its re-posted by dozens of your friends with tags like "inspirational" or "I cried so many times while watching." Next thing you know you're watching the half-hour film by NGO Invisible Children, which aims to bolster international support for bringing Uganda rebel Joseph Kony to justice for crimes against humanity.

But does the viral video actually do anything to help Uganda? Cultist got in touch with an Africa expert at FIU to find out -- and you might want to read what he has to say before you click "like" and repost the video yourself.



An incredibly slick and well-produced film, Kony 2012 in and of itself is absolutely brilliant. It plays so well on all the little internet viral concepts that visually and conceptually grab people. Like explaining complicated ideas to a little, blonde hair, blue eyed white boy who adorably proclaims through a child's lisp, "that's a bad man." Pictures that move slightly while on earth toned backgrounds set to inspirational rock music and graphically designed charts and images. Plus exploiting the tragically horrible moment of a young Ugandan boy talking about how death is preferable to life. All it needs is a cat playing a keyboard.

It should be incredibly easy to point at Invisible Children's motives to destroy their credibility. It should be easy to point to the Evangelical intentions of the organization. It should be easy to point to the fact that the vast majority of money the organization collects goes to overhead and film production.

Yet the film keeps growing, and it's currently about to pass 50 million views. Give it another week and there's bound to be about 10,000 Kony 2012 posters plastered around the walls of Miami.

Florida International University's director of African and African diaspora studies program, Dr. Jean Muteba Rahier, though, says the Kony campaign misses the mark.

"[They] tend to focus exclusively on problems, and nothing on things that are beautiful to Africa," he laments. "They may eventually contribute to the reproduction of stereotypes, like [constant] famines, atrocities, and coup d'etats."

Other Ugandan writers have shared a similar sentiment.

A YouTube video by Ugandan blogger, Rosebell Kagumire, for instance, states that the issue is much more complicated than it's being portrayed. "[It] tries to bring one man, one bad guy, against the good guys, and the mighty West trying to save Africa," she says.

Angelo Opi-Aiya Izama, a Ugandan writer and blogger, writes, "to call the campaign a misrepresentation is an understatement." And continues, "these campaigns are disempowering of [African] voices."

And this is the real harm of Kony 2012. The intentions and motives of Invisible Children is questionable at best. Their strategy of playing on "White Man's Burden" by ignoring the voices of the people they are trying to "save" only supports the stereotype that African's can't take care of themselves and needs the White man to save them.

Dr. Rahier is quick to add that "if Joseph Kony is brought to justice, it would be a good thing."

It would also make an incredibly powerful statement on the strength of internet activism. The ultimate judge will be the outcome of Invisible Children's influence on actions against Joseph Kony, and what it means for the future of Central Africa.

In a just world, it all works out for the best. Unfortunately, things rarely do.

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Christian Church Pastor
Christian Church Pastor

This movie is a good awareness campaign.  I was shocked to learn his religious beliefs. How could a man use the name of Christ in such a terrible way?

Ivan Rodriguez Fierro
Ivan Rodriguez Fierro

I'm sorry but I agree with the article... even after reading your comments. My reaction to this video was: "This has been occurring for years and people learn about it thanks to flashy editing"... I guess we need to make EVERYTHING flashy, including history lessons. 

<< Work at home, $45/h, link
<< Work at home, $45/h, link

Avoid destructive thinking. Improper negative thoughts sink people. A ship can sail around the world many, many times, but just let enough water get into the ship and it will sink. Just so with the human mind. Let enough negative thoughts or improper thou

Patrik
Patrik

Sorry to state the obvious but the stereotype that "African's can't take care of themselves" seems to be pretty true at this point in time. DO we have war-lords grabbing children and giving them guns in Germany? In the US? In England? In Norway? No... So a little help from the developed nations might not be a terrible idea... Granted, I'm not the person to say HOW we should help, but it seems to me that these people has brought to light something that very few of us where thinking of before we saw this video. The complaints seems to be that they don't paint a complete picture of Uganda and Africa. I challenge you to sum up a political problem in any culture, even the smallest problem in a 30 minute video.. These guys clearly focused on what THEY thought where the mist important issue. I never heard them claim that they knew the answer to all problems facing Uganda and Africa, and I don't understand why "we" expect them to.

Lukeisstupid
Lukeisstupid

This is a Christian organization, which is why some PHD's and elitists are going after them. They're argument against them is idiotic and pointless. They have turned it into a white-black thing and how we are ignorant to the situation, but want to throw money at it. Hey Professor, instead of bashing people that want to help, help the people and country you give lectures about. 

Love to go
Love to go

Nothing but good can come of this, they will find him and kill him but, there are many more killers over there. It's very easy to plant a tracking device on or near someone..... Who will be the hero when he's dead.... EVERYONE!

Joanlopez001
Joanlopez001

WHAT IS THE BIG FREAKING DEAL?? People saw a strong video based on facts about what was happening in Uganda, and being HUMAN and having a good heart you share the video and the knowledge with people you know.  Yeah, most people are most likely not going to do something about it, but they might show it to one person who will.  Yes, the world is damned and there are issues going on in this world like sex trafficking, but IC did something that none of the other organizations did, which is appeal to the general public.  Not everyone sits and reads the paper, news online, or read books; Jersey Shore is far more entertaining. 

"And this is the real harm of Kony 2012. The intentions and motives of Invisible Children is questionable at best. Their strategy of playing on "White Man's Burden" by ignoring the voices of the people they are trying to "save" only supports the stereotype that African's can't take care of themselves and needs the White man to save them."

REALLY??? Why is something that has a good impact being scrutinized?? How does that create stereotypes? THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH RACE! It is trying to help people in need; in this case CHILDREN.

People need to get over themselves.  An organization is educating the world about a foreign issue and succeeded. 

gamoe
gamoe

So you're criticizing the film because it has emotional appeal and is well edited? I agree that sometimes the emotional stuff is over-the-top, but that's the same for most everything, including 20/20, news specials and so on. The organization is evangelical and most of their money is spent making videos- What exactly is wrong with this??

And the fact is that there are bigger problems in Africa than in America and Europe. So now "white people" can't help our fellow black brothers? Who is perpetuating stereotypes? So the issue is more complicated- what's wrong with homing in one one part of the problem and letting people search and discover the rest?

And all this criticism is based on unfounded fears and it seems even a weird kind of "envy" that someone else is audacious enough to inform a part of the world which is largely ignorant of the problems in a way you don't approve of. Seems to me the faulty emotional appeal is coming from this article, not the campaign.

Lauracardona001
Lauracardona001

point being kony2012 like other organizations there are good and bad in all. posting the video making it viral has done more good than harm i believe. it shows that people care. The idea that it takes the voice away from the african people is just ridiculous. if anything it opens up a  listening ears . yes these things have been happening for years, yes many good things have happened too. no one is debating this . Kony 2012  is opening peoples eyes getting them to talk about things that matter, and for a few days people weren't talking about there clothes or there weekend get aways they were talking about a cause. whether it be invisible children passing on the message or people from africa the message is out. If the african people wanted to send the same message from them  i bet we'd still listen. its not about black or white or who's voice is stronger its about a problem that people are now aware of. ITs about stopping a man who has preyed on the innocent to gain power. people want this to stop. if it takes an expensive video that our donations pay for to get the message across then so be it. i am not so concerned about what invisible children will do for uganda as what our interest in the take down of kony and its effect on our government and if it will cause the government to act on it with greater force. 

Ernesto Padron
Ernesto Padron

This article is preposterous! What is invisible children supposed to do with the money? Hire mercenaries!? Of course most their money goes to awereness, the name says it. They want to make these invisible children know to the world so that we can influence policy makers into supporting the hunt for kony. What i really question is the purpose of this article.

Joe
Joe

No doubt. I want my child to get back to her video games and stop caring about world issues. Thanks MNT's!

Stephanie Rodriguez
Stephanie Rodriguez

I understand the question is that the donations go to the production of the film and overhead and 30% of it goes to the actual cause. I dont think i necessarily see an issue with this. Most organizations collect donations in the same manner. To cover their overhead and then to donate to a cause.

J.J. Colagrande
J.J. Colagrande

well-written clip, Ric . .

You make strong points and develop them with valid explanation and examples, expert testimonies, ect. 

unbiased. good stuff . . .

Ric Delgado
Ric Delgado

I completely forgot to include this in the article.  For anyone looking for alternate ways to support Central Africa that isn't a part of Invisible Children, please check out the following link:

http://visiblechildren.tumblr....

Ketty Mora
Ketty Mora

It’s funny how all these elitist style posts have been popping up after this video has blown up. I respect the fact that you are being skeptical about this organization, it shows that you are able to think for yourself, good for you. However, most of what I have heard from the people bad mouthing this organization revolves around the fact that they are angry at the general public for being ignorant about this before the viral video had come out. To me, this is why I admire this campaign.

Yes, all you nay sayers are the smartest people in the world, and the general public are all ignorant and stupid. I get that you are super angry that it took a Facebook and Twitter campaign to create awareness and that further shows how stupid everyone in the world is, blah, blah, blah.

What this video means to me is that some people are completely aware of how to reach the general public using the power of social media to try to do something positive. I get it that you hate that the general public are all idiots and don’t think for themselves and just listen to what they are told and/or what is popular and trending.

Do you not realize what the Invisible Children organization is getting across in this video? You can’t change the way the general public thinks, it will just never happen. The majority of people listen to what is popular, and do what people tell them. All you “elitist” types that look upon the general public with extreme condescension because of this whole Kony campaign are just as ignorant as they are.

Invisible Children has realized that in order to make a difference you need numbers. In order to gain numbers you need to reach the general public. They have created an amazing marketing campaign that has exploited social media and the minds of the general public…IN A POSITIVE WAY. You will laugh at the fact that the IC is trying to get celebrities to get this message across, but why? Once again, the general public listens to what they are told, and if they see it in enough places, they will start to take notice, and hopefully a percentage of them might take action. This campaign has done an amazing job in creating awareness throughout the general public, therefore strengthening their numbers.

I will reiterate…

The IC is doing more than just finding and killing one man. What do you think they are going to do if they find and stop the LRA? Do you think they are going to go back to their mansions and swim in cash? If this movement succeeds, what it proves is that the IC has figured out how to build numbers by reaching the general public in society today, and do something good with it. People like you who are sitting at home, reading countless blog posts that are just as biased as the Kony video itself, and making fun of the general public for being so gullible and ignorant aren’t helping at all.

As for the shadiness of the charity’s financials…

Once again, you criticize people for being ignorant and not digging deeper to find the facts. I see all these nay sayers blog posts popping up and none of them mention the fact that it is well documented where the money is going. You are using your biased opinions and only stating facts from your side to help get your point across. It has been extremely clear and well documented (maybe not to most of you because all you read are these negative and biased blog posts criticizing the movement) that the IC paid $1,724,993 in salaries in 2011. In that year they employed 45 people. If you do the math, that works out to slightly more than $38,000 per person per year, which is less than the average american salary. Would you like them to live in complete poverty trying to achieve their cause?

If even they were earning a profit, I would be ok with it because they are actually using their marketing skills to try to do something positive in the world and not just for a pointless personal business goal.

So please, all you people who are trying to chop down everything having to do with the campaign, realize that you are just as ignorant as the general public that you are criticizing, and please, dig a little deeper than these hipster negative posts to form your opinions.

Really, just relax, take a step back from the situation, and ponder if it is really a “negative” thing that people are becoming aware of a tragic situation and wish to help. The Kony campaign is based on values of caring, solidarity, pro-activity and hope. Many people long to be connected to these values, to this sense of being.

305mia
305mia

I just love how everybody is quick to become keyboard activists about something happening in another country that most of them cannot even point out on a map.  But when it comes to the real issues happening in our own country nobody wants to say or do anything.  Yea, let's just all sit around and talk about Uganda while the wealthy elites buy out our politicians in favor of them and infringe on our constitutional rights.  Instead of rallying against the police that are being used against us time and time again killing, beating, and jailing innocent americans....let's talk about africa instead.

Why are prisons becoming more and more privatized?  Do you think it is OK for somebody to make a profit off of jailing others?  Why do they keep talking about cutting the salary of teachers and other people who are low on the totem pole but important to our society?

I live in Miami and our schools here are literally crumbling and falling apart...but what did they do recently?  Build a half BILLION dollar stadium with TAX PAYER money.  Yeah, forget educating our youth....let's watch some baseball!

But let's get real...none of you will do anything about Uganda or about our current issues in our own country because you are too busy watching "Jersey Shore", "Toddlers in Tiaras", "16 and Pregnant", "Real Housewives" or whatever the current "in" reality tv show is.  The government/media does a good job at keeping our attention on everything EXCEPT the real issues people need to focus on.

305mia
305mia

I just love how everybody is quick to become keyboard activists about something happening in another country that most of them cannot even point out on a map.  But when it comes to the real issues happening in our own country nobody wants to say or do anything.  Yea, let's just all sit around and talk about Uganda while the wealthy elites buy out our politicians in favor of them and infringe on our constitutional rights.  Instead of rallying against the police that are being used against us time and time again killing, beating, and jailing innocent americans....let's talk about africa instead.

Why are prisons becoming more and more privatized?  Do you think it is OK for somebody to make a profit off of jailing others?  Why do they keep talking about cutting the salary of teachers and other people who are low on the totem pole but important to our society?

I live in Miami and our schools here are literally crumbling and falling apart...but what did they do recently?  Build a half BILLION dollar stadium with TAX PAYER money.  Yeah, forget educating our youth....let's watch some baseball!

But let's get real...none of you will do anything about Uganda or about our current issues in our own country because you are too busy watching "Jersey Shore", "Toddlers in Tiaras", "16 and Pregnant", "Real Housewives" or whatever the current "in" reality tv show is.  The government/media does a good job at keeping our attention on everything EXCEPT the real issues people need to focus on.

J.J. Colagrande
J.J. Colagrande

 you sound redundant . . . 

Ketty Mora
Ketty Mora

Sorry for sounding redundant. I hope it doesn't bother you so much.

As for the LRA being no longer in power since 2006, it's stated clearly in the video, I think you are being redundant. They are hiding, and could come back anyday if this issue is forgotten and that is what this campaign is trying to avert. In fact, they went on hiding since adknowledging of this movement to have Kony captured. IC has achieved support from the government and it is clearly asking to keep voicing this issue in order to keep the governmental support.

The good thing about this video, to me, is its ability to make us feel human, to awaken the desire in us to help, to look at Africa, to see the lives of other people who doesn't have it so easy, and relate, and feel for them, to care, and to want to take action.

J.J. Colagrande
J.J. Colagrande

now you sound sarcastic...i like sarcasm.

redundancy, not so much...and neither should you like redundancy...

elitists, naysayers, smartest people in the world, thinking the public is stupid, hipster egos, ect. this rhetoric of yours is indeed redundant, a little condescending and slightly hypocritical. other than that your comment is quite intelligent, coherent and fair..

it caught my eye ...   

    

Note
Note

"Elitist" "Hipster negative posts" LOL what are you talking about? My problem with the video is that it's a couple of years too late. Since 2006, Kony has been in hiding and the LRA is no longer in power. The video misinforms the public about the true current political situation in Uganda. 

The only good thing about the video is awareness about an Evil man most people didn't know about.

But for the love of God, we need to stop policing the world. 

Lauracardona001
Lauracardona001

the lra is actually still active just not in uganda its still active in sudan and in other parts of africa 

Elena33140
Elena33140

This video is not about Africans or the "White man" trying to save them.... it is about the children and what they have been suffering for many years because of one man called Joseph Kony.  It is a shame I did not know about this before.  Koni 2012 is a good example of what social media should all be about... help each other!

Guest
Guest

 BTW what did you actively DO to support the cause after you found out about it, beyond reposting on Facebook, retweeting, re-blogging on Tumblr, or maybe buying one of the "action packs" (of which 70% of the proceeds will go back just to these guys' salaries and filmmaking efforts)?

Alex
Alex

I'd like to add what did "YOU" do besides criticizing something that has the power to do good? 

Progress518
Progress518

What administrative frills? Paying staff? Sorry, but NGOs need to do that. More than 30 percent of the money goes to on-the-ground efforts in Africa, money to film making (raising awareness, something good, given that our news media does virtually no thing), travel to and from these areas, and other various things to promote public knowledge. They are an advocacy group; the fact that they spend 30 percent of their money on the ground in the area for which they are advocating is a huge amount.

Guest
Guest

This isn't my cause of choice; to my causes of choice I donate a lot of time and money, but I make sure that my efforts and dollars are actually going to supporting the cause, rather than a bunch of administrative frills. That is the real issue at hand here -- Invisible Children as an organization, not whether or not child soldiers in Africa are a bad thing -- we can all agree on that. 

Guest
Guest

 Are you really so ill-informed that you are just now finding out about the practice of abducting children for use as soldiers in that part of Africa? And guess what... it's not just Kony who does it, but also the VERY UGANDAN ARMY that Invisible Children wants to arm to "get" Kony, who is no longer in Uganda. How about stopping them? Why pick one over the other? This isn't about one boogeyman, Kony, but rather a much larger, systemic problem in that region -- which is a concept the makers of this film have completely glossed over. But hey, it makes for an easier time getting donations, which largely just get funneled back into allowing them to fly all over the world making movies.

Progress518
Progress518

Uganda's military abducts kids, too? Forces them to cut up each other's faces, kill their parents, etc.? Evidence?

Omar Pro
Omar Pro

At least now I know who is Konny and what he does to humanity that is the goal of the film. Stop Kony. We are all humans.

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