Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Kony 2012

‘Kony Campaign 2012’ gets over three million views in two weeks, ‘Crises In The Congo’ a youtube documentary about rape and civil war in the Congo is on 75,000 hits and was first posted two years ago. In 2010 'Unwatchable', a film about rape and violence in the Congo was put online, I watched it and shared it on facebook and no one “liked” the link.

The 1994 genocide in Rwanda got made into a Hollywood film in 2004 where the main characters were African-American and Black-British. A British film called 'Constant Gardener' was set in Kenya and released in 2005. Blood Diamond with Leonardo DiCapio was released as a major Blockbuster in 2006. 'What Is The What' about the Lost Boys of Sudan was written by Dave Eggers in 2006. Dave set out to write an Autobiography about one of the surviving Lost Boys in the Sudanese Civil War but then he turned it into his novel. Half Of A Yellow Sun by Nigerian/British writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is published in the same year and wins the Orange Boardband prize for Fiction. In 2006 A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Child Solider by Sierra Leone born, Ishmael Beah is nominated for a Quill Award and the Washington post says “everyone in the world needs to read this book”, the book is then read on BBC Radio 4 by British/Nigerian actor Chuk Iwuji and becomes a top seller. 

What does all this mean? Does it amount to real change? Does raising awareness raise the amount of active and effective campaigners? Why is Hollywood so interested in Africa all of a sudden? Can a white American man legitimately preach to the world about the issues of Africa? Is the answer really to despatch more European/American troops into Africa? - isn't that exactly what hypocrisy looks like? - A white man surrounded by black African babies? 


Yes, I am in full favour of this campaign and yes a few flags were raised among the gloss of it all but it is very cleverly designed for a mainstream audience and as we can see by the amount of support this is generating the video is pulling some weight. There has been a lot of  negative comments on twitter and facebook about this being a campaign for "people who know nothing about politics". I've also seen people say "oh' no one knew anything about Uganda until they saw this video" but that argument is like saying "if you didn't like Cold Play before they sold over a hundred million copies then you aren't a real fan", it's weird how possessive people get over political causes.

Something I took away from being in South Africa is exactly how non-constructive the "white man stole our land in exchange for a donkey" is. It's just never that simple. I thought about anger as an emotion, it's blind and irrational, it goes swinging in the dark, anger cannot resolve anything and the kind of baggage that is pulled around with colonial guilt/oppression ties people to the past rather than propels them to the future. Yes, people should know these things about their history but also there is a process that needs to happen towards the acceptance and peace (which I know isn't easy) to think clearly and constructively about how to move yourself, then your culture forward.


below I mentioned Musa Okwonga and The King's Will, ironically Musa is Ugandan and wrote this brilliantly level headed piece on the the Stop Kony campaign - 

It is also very important to read this BBC article from Feb 2011 about the Congolese Military being accused of exaggerating war crimes to fuel US Aid for profit reasons.

Here is a link to a credible campaign against Child Sex Slaves and exploitation. They could really use some help. (Thanks to poets Christian Watson & Niall O'Sullivan for the links)

Here is an article on Oil that was found in Uganda in 2009. Last year China and France engaged in a 1.95 BILLION DOLLAR share out.

Criticism For The Invisible Children Claims Only 32% Of All Funds Go Directly To Supporting Ugandan's. 

I think the I.C website does put the history and the campaign into context rather well on the website though and doesn't include all the cringe parts you get in the short film. (very well organised and includes the tracker they talk about in the video you can keep updated on Uganda's battlefields)

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