By Manisha Chachra:
Not much down our memory lane, Kony 2012 became a sensation. A 30 minute documentary that was able to accumulate, quoting in Facebook language “innumerable likes, shares, tweets and status”. The feeling of ‘we want justice’ rocked in everyone’s minds and a universal connection was established across the world for which we owe a lot to our dear social networking sites. Sooner the movie created an ample amount of commotion in Uganda with most of the people asserting that the situation portrayed in the documentary was a situation that used to exist a good few years back.
I would like to highlight how this movie played with the minds of its audience spread across the world. The notion of making and creating a difference by using the character of Joseph Kony, as someone who is brutal, boorish and cruel was very much compatible with the market mechanism. The director of Kony 2012 used history very well to fulfill the agenda of consumerism by juxtaposing the personality of Kony with that of Adolf Hitler. Being an ardent political science student, I cannot agree with this because the ideology of Hitler, that is Nazism, was poles apart to the ideology of Kony, whose personality is just a hyperbole.
Another factor which is quite common to human beings is the ability to reason out things and think rationally but at the same time we have been blessed with irrational emotions which sometimes flow randomly. A good precedent of that can be this documentary. Random flow of emotions is visible in the uncountable likes, shares of the documentary. Moreover, our reactions while watching the movie must have been ‘such a bad person this Kony is’ and then the rise of revolutionary emotions to support the movement. However, one gets completely disheartened when they delve deeper into the facts and try to move beyond their little knowledge arena. This is how misinformation and exaggeration leads to misinterpretation of facts.
The movie used the idea of internalization or indoctrination in a proficient manner. Let’s take the example of a few lines the documentary itself- ‘we are one world’ ‘nothing is better than an idea’, ‘change for change’. Furthermore, utilization of clippings that again leads to unsystematic surge of sentiments.
We are living in a facebook and twitter world, where one tweet is enough to carry the baggage of change. Nonetheless, even the social networking sites aren’t born perfect. Many a times we accept things at their face value rather than exploring about it. This is another anomaly of mass media which can make us think anything it likes by introducing manipulative elements into it and attracting more and more consumers. Like Kony, labeled as uncivilized individual, is no more there in Uganda and the persona that is being featured is contrary to the real one.
Next I would like the readers to ponder on some technical components of the documentary. Here I would like you to stimulate your grey cells on the role of the United States of America being projected as the savior of the world. This is the same savior whose stand in the international court of justice is oscillating like a pendulum. The initiation of Gulf War is a case where one gets confused about the position of USA —for democracy or against it. Again being student International relations, I am absolutely convinced that the role of USA in resolving the issue of so called dangerous Kony is nothing but a part and parcel of its foreign policy-AFRICOM. The very strategy is imperative in maintaining the Balance of Power and in upholding its clout over the world. Digging deeper, one can easily make out that motives of USA especially when concerned with the Middle Eastern regions are ambiguous. Whether the demand for oil or the suspicion about weapons of mass destruction, USA has been playing very well. This brings me to the idea of ‘who gets the supremacy’ in which the competition is the key rule to maintain the balance of authority.
In other words, we need to interrogate that are the actions of USA always in the favor of humanity? In a nutshell I want to say that we need to look things with a broader perspective and not to be lead by the flock of sheep. The most divergent ones are the most creative ones because they have the courage to charter a unique way rather than blindly accepting the ways of the world.