By Avani Rajesh:
This question might seem a bit dated right now, but I know that somewhere in the World, this fight is being fought. The children in Africa (and it could be any part) are being dragged into merciless warfare and brutality. In a span of two days (and counting) my newsfeed has been flooded with concern for the KONY 2012 Movement and almost simultaneously, there’s been a cry claiming that we should all get our facts right, make a more informed decision and not just jump on the ‘Let’s bring about a change!’ bandwagon. I, for one, have found myself caught in this proverbial crossfire of opinions, unsure of which step to take, because from that video I did realise one thing that can’t be fabricated or overlooked: what we choose to support, our action from any side of this globe holds the potential to change more than we can foresee.
Kony or Kohn, as it is apparently pronounced, is a warlord, a profession (if it may be called that) which is very popular in regions of Africa. It may or may not surprise you to know that rebel groups and militants are a constant feature in the world of young Africans living in villages, along with poverty, disease and little or no aid. The militants rob the children from their homes, forcing them into warfare, arming them with a license to kill. If they make it out of the camps or are rescued, they live in fear of being hunted. Their bleak future is one they do not wish to have, an insight brought to us by The Invisible Children. Kony has made it 20 years so far, going about stealing little children from their childhood, shoving them into a lifestyle of abuse, violence and weaponry. The video that is being circulated is for spreading awareness, to generate knowledge that an act is being committed out there, which can be stopped and by joining in, you can help make that change happen.
There are a lot of people critiquing the KONY 2012 movement and the intentions of The Invisible Children, and it’s only natural to be not be certain of what to believe, because in the end, it’s just a bunch of people’s words against those of others. And while some people have a legitimate cause stating that blindly following a movement will spread more harm and that Invisible Children isn’t acting on ground level as it should, maybe we need to focus on a fact that is being quoted a lot. Kony is no longer operating in Uganda for the past five years, they say. Invisible Children states that Kony changed his tactics after realising that he’s being targeted and people are becoming aware of his atrocities. Can it be safe to say then, that he’s on the run? That somewhere, he felt the pressure of an opposing movement? But, is that enough?
The power of the internet cannot be doubted, social media marketing with Facebook and Twitter cannot be ignored. But is it sufficient, especially when the gravity of the cause in question isn’t just to “create awareness” but to see that humanity is restored? The ‘Like’ is a way of showing support, done in half knowledge or not. It’s a way of showing ‘my vote goes here’ but in times like these, when we are exposed to everyone, only knowing half a story can be dangerous as it propagates that half story and down the road, winds up more people into buying it. Â Is that ‘like’ or ‘share’ adequate? Do you care that much to be bothered to know the real story, which goes beyond just 30 minutes of an initial video, to find out the facts of a topic and conclude to a possible solution for this problem? If yes, then congratulations, you have formed an opinion that you should be proud to stick with. If not, then don’t jump on board the latest ‘Trending Topic’ because these things are bigger than just the figures of likes, shares and notifications that please you albeit secretly. What you’re promoting could be a matter of peace and life or aggression and death in a region far away from your home, where the consequences are often forgotten and clouded by the next viral of a current social movement.