Sunday, 18 March 2012

Operation Kony 2012.

This is not going to be just another post supporting Kony 2012... Because I don't support them. I do agree that what Joseph Kony is doing is beyond barbaric. It thoroughly saddens me and it is horrible to think that this sort of thing, unfortunately so repetitive of horrors of society gone by, still occurs so frequently in today's society. But I thoroughly and whole-heartedly do not, and will not, support Kony 2012. A blog entitled VisibleChildren, not to be confused with the Invisible Children group, succinctly concludes why this is: 

"I do not doubt for a second that those involved in KONY twenty-twelve have great intentions, nor do I doubt for a second that Joseph Kony is a very evil man. But despite this, I’m strongly opposed to the KONY twenty-twelve campaign. KONY twenty-twelve is the product of a group called Invisible Children, a controversial activist group and not-for-profit. They’ve released eleven films, most with an accompanying bracelet colour (KONY twenty-twelve is fittingly red), all of which focus on Joseph Kony. When we buy merch from them, when we link to their video, when we put up posters linking to their website, we support the organization. I don’t think that’s a good thing, and I’m not alone. 

Invisible Children has been condemned time and time again. As a registered not-for-profit, its finances are public. Last year, the organization spent eight million, six hundred and seventy six thousand, six hundred and fourteen dollars. Only thirty-two percent went to direct services (page six), with much of the rest going to staff salaries, travel and transport, and film production. This is far from ideal for an issue which arguably needs action and aid, not awareness, and Charity Navigator rates their accountability two out of eight stars because they lack an external audit committee. But it goes way deeper than that.

The group is in favour of direct military intervention, and their money supports the Ugandan government’s army and various other military forces. Here’s a photo of the founders of Invisible Children posing with weapons and personnel of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army. Both the Ugandan army and Sudan People’s Liberation Army are riddled with accusations of rape and looting, but Invisible Children defends them, arguing that the Ugandan army is “better equipped than that of any of the other affected countries”, although Kony is no longer active in Uganda and hasn’t been since two thousand and six by their own admission. These books each refer to the rape and sexual assault that are perennial issues with the UPDF, the military group Invisible Children is defending."

I only wish people weren't so quick to jump onto bandwagons before thoroughly researching what they're paying into. In order to stop child abuse and rape, you're directly trying to fund an organisation (the Ugandan army) with a prolific history of rape and crimes against society. Only 32% of all the money raised actually goes anywhere near the cause you donated to. 

"According to Jason Russell’s appearance on the Today show several days ago, over five-hundred thousand action kits have been ordered at thirty dollars a piece, meaning this campaign has brought in a minimum of fifteen million dollars in revenue this week." 

While I think highlighting the disgusting actions of a tyrant are, of course, important, I do not think donating to Kony 2012 is the right way to go about it.

For more information as to why I do not support this campaign, please read the VisibleChildren blog.
Please note, I have had to handwrite the numbers as they all corrupt when in number format. Please read all little sixes as fs too. I have no idea why they won't just appear as I have written them.

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