So I just watched the Kony 2012, the Sequel. As of now, less than 5,000 views and less than 50 likes. That’s the thing about popularity I suppose, it fades and you can’t predict it. I’ll be honest, I was not a fan of the film or it’s implications. I think it ran the risk of making a very sensitive and complex situation a victim of our zeal and intentions. Part of me thought it was exciting to see my news feed festooned with actual news even thought I disagreed with its content. Despite my issues with it, and they were many, I’m not thrilled that people are ignoring it this time around. I’m sure the film makers aren’t either especially with the success of the last one which had over a million hits in one day. I suppose that’s why Aslan never does the same thing twice.
One of my many problems with the first film was that it left previously uninformed people with the idea that Invisible Children was the first group to do anything about the LRA. That is simply is not true. I know for a fact that Amnesty International has been monitoring and assisting local governments for over 28 years. That human rights workers here and abroad have been offering aid to victims on both sides. Their progress has been slow. Annoying slow. Frustratingly slow. Turtle slow. Then we have these happy White people (and I don’t mean that maliciously, however, it is a relevant point, especially because the allusions to “The White Man’s Burden,” was another one of my issues with the film) that were able to, in a short amount of time, bring a large amount of interest to the cause and convince them that change was just over the mountain. I’m glad the information is out there and that people can no longer claim they don’t know, thereby removing any excuse to not act or support organizations that have a better handle on what’s going on than my first world, Western self. I get it, they mean, well, their hearts in are in the right place, and their intentions are good but American intentions are dangerous. Remember how this country “rescued” people from Africa before and brought them over on boats and gave them jobs all in the name of “good intentions”? We need to be careful.
There’s one part in the movie where a Ugandan official says that a child in Uganda should be treated the same as a child in the US. Totally true, I guess. The irony isn’t the statement. It’s the visual. Side by side a picture of little brown Ugandan children and little blonde American children. The picture isn’t a deal breaker, it’s the truth – All children should be equally. Children shouldn’t have to grow up in a world where they have to fight for their survival. If we’re being honest, I want my future children to grow up with the same treatment and rights as the little blonde kids too. I want to know the government values my children only a little less than I do. I want to know that if someone murders them in cold blood, they’ll receive justice and that criminal will be tried and jailed.
But isn’t that isn’t the case in this country, is it? In case you need a reminder, the murderer of a 17 year old boy is still walking free and the keepers of the peace claim they have no basis for arrest.
Here’s my present thought: Kony 2012 operates under the assumption that by giving Kony the same popularity we give to celebrities, we’ll annoy the people in charge to such an extent, they’ll have no other option but to act. The idea itself isn’t so wrong. In fact, it’s the basis for several sociopolitical movements further along: political pressure for political change. But Civil Rights laws weren’t ratified because protesters made the racists popular. It came because of persistence, perseverance, and patience. There was a goal. There was the present and the end, which is the realization of that goal, no matter how long it takes. I’d say the difference between this movement and the ones of past is the end date. Granted, Kony should have been arrested yesterday but what happens if 2013 comes and no arrest has been made? Will you stop? Will you move on to the next country in need of our assistance? We’ve made him popular but we haven’t gotten results. So, I don’t want popularity for criminals. I want justice for criminals.
It’s seems so strange to me, the stories that have repeated themselves over the last few months. I’m not sure if we as a nation are making progress or we’re just making the same mistakes. Since we have made a habit of repeating ourselves, I’d like to call your attention to the Double V, of yesteryear. During WW2, many Black Americans found themselves fighting for their country in Europe, only to come home to a country that hated, disrespected, and devalued them. It was thought Black Americans needed to wage two wars at the same time, one for Democracy overseas and the other for Democracy in the country that sent them there. Like them, I want Democracy (although, I’d really prefer my fight did not involve war or guns). I want Justice. I want it abroad. I want it at home. Success can be achieved in no other way.