Sunday, 11 March 2012

KONY2012: My thoughts...


Did anyone else log onto FB one day and think who the heck is Kony and what have I missed? I did. I was sitting in my room in Cambodia wondering what was going on in Aus that I had no idea about!

(If you’re reading this and are still wondering who Kony is, I’m guessing you’ve been living in a social-media-free cave this week so go ahead and Google and YouTube it and see what it’s all about).

And then just after this influx into my Newsfeed of KONY2012, there was a wave of people standing against the KONY2012 campaign and condemning it. People seemed to be going to extremes either way. So here are a few thoughts of my own about KONY2012:

I love the fact that KONY2012 is bringing awareness. That is what Invisible Children do well. I love that it wakes people up to the reality of the world outside their safe little first world boxes. I like that it gets people passionate and questioning the injustices that are faced by so many every single day.
But at the same time there are some huge dangers of this campaign.

One danger is that we are hearing one voice, whereas out there are thousands of voices waiting to be heard. KONY2012 is presenting one story, one man. We must never forget that this is a single story, a single voice amongst the thousands affected.

Everywhere around the world there is injustice, trauma, and hurt. Even in your own backyards. It’s easy for us, coming from a first world nation, to look at the injustices of other nations and think of ourselves as superior to them. Want to smash that worldview? Look up the sexual abuse rates of children in Australia. Look at the discrimination all around you. No I’m not saying Australia is currently experiencing anything like the torture and horrific abuses like those living under Kony, however our nation faces its own shortcomings too. Never forget the ones in your own backyard. They are crying out to be heard too.

Another danger of the KONY2012 campaign is the tendency for Westerners to adopt a rescuer complex. The theory that we are saving someone by liking a status or putting up a poster. I’m not against those things, but remember the extent of what you are doing. Follow through with your actions. Sponsor a child, given to an organisation that is empowering the people. Empowering is always greater than rescuing.

And final thoughts are will we remember this…. Will we continue to fight against injustice? I am in a third world nation, fighting against injustice every day. It’s easy to stay focused on that here because I see the circumstances, hear the stories every day.

But I know that back in Australia it’s harder. We busy ourselves with our own lives, our first world problems. Or we become blinded to and desensitised to what happens… It seems like a far away problem. Sometimes it’s hard when you don’t see the faces and hear their cries. Sometimes it seems overwhelming, unsure how to play your part. Poverty is never easy. The solution is not simple. I just know that I need to do something. So maybe your something is posting a KONY2012 status. That’s a start. I encourage you to continue though. Talk to people about it, continue researching into what is happening in our world. Keep going. Don’t stop at a status.

And finally I want to say thankyou. Thankyou to Invisible Children for making voices heard by us in the West. Thankyou to those who brought awareness through social media and posters. Thankyou to those who sponsor the kids. Thankyou to those who encourage me whilst I am immersed in stories so similar to this. Thankyou for doing something. 

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