After starting this blog, a few people asked to blog about my opinion of the whole Kony2012 thing. My thoughts are somewhat varied so I will do my best to put them into perspective in a rational and thought provoking way.
First of all, I want to be clear that I don't see the world in black and white, and that my opinion is my opinion and not absolute. The world is a difficult place, and international politics are probably the most difficult of all. But this isn't really about politics. Not really.
It's about humanity.
What is humanity? And more than that, what is human decency? Where does one draw the line between good and bad? Right and wrong? It's not black and white either. Everyone has their own version of right and wrong. Some people think that rape and murder is wrong, and other people commit rape and murder. It's an unfortunate reality of life. But on the whole, there are some things that everyone agrees on.
Most people by and large don't want to be raped or murdered. Most people believe in treating others with respect. And most people understand that children are innocent.
Children should keep their innocence. I don't know that anyone would disagree with that. I also don't think that anyone would disagree that people who steal or destroy that innocence are bad people. At least I would hope that most people would agree with that. From everything that I understand, Joseph Kony is such a person.
Now that doesn't mean that he isn't someone who can do good things. He can build hospitals for sick people and help fight poverty and homelessness. But that doesn't nullify the creation of child soldiers and having them to commit murder. That's a bad thing and despite the backlash that has come from the Stop Kony campaign video, the attention to the issue is a good thing.
Stopping the creation of child soldiers is a good thing. Whether it's people working for Joseph Kony or the Ugandan government.
People often critique the Kony2012 video for suggesting that helping the Ugandan government means supporting the idea of child soldiers. That of course would suggest hypocrisy.
And while on some level it is hypocritical, that doesn't mean that there is no benefit to doing it that way.
The Ugandan government may be terrible, it may be just as bad as Joseph Kony's forces. But if one wipes out the other, that's a good thing. From a simple perspective, it's math. Two minus one is one. The Ugandan government and Joseph Kony, minus Joseph Kony, is one less terrible group in the world. One less terrible person in the world.
Now, there are those that object to the idea of US intervention in foreign affairs, and I do understand that. In many circumstances, I take issue with international intervention, but only in certain circumstances. I have a problem with intervention for the purposes of colonialism, or philosophical or racial differences. Many people claim that recent wars have been for those purposes, but I don't believe that. The reasons may have been misleading or dishonest, but fundamentally they are for good reasons.
Those are the kind of interventions that I am okay with. It appears, at least from everything that I have seen, read or heard about intervening in the case of Joseph Kony, they are doing so for good reasons. Whether or not that is going to have a positive result isn't really the point. Yes, I would like it if this campaign had a positive result, (i.e. the capture and trial of Joseph Kony, or in the more brutal sense, his death) but there are no guarantees in life.
As to the point some people make about the video making money on YouTube, it was also set up on vimeo which does not give money for ad revenue. Any who objects to the idea of Invisible Children making money from YouTube can use the vimeo link. Any that want to support Invisible Children financially can use the YouTube link.
Not to mention, any money that is given to them can go towards supporting the rehabilitation of those children who are already child soldiers.
I have recently heard that the man in charge of creating the video was arrested. I don't really know what the details are, but I think it's important to remember that the cause is bigger than one person and their beliefs.
It has to be about the greater good. The good that comes from one less person in the world who would use children as soldiers. Osama Bin Laden was just one person, and his death didn't stop Al Queda, it didn't stop terrorism, but there's one less person in the world who is organizing terrorist attacks against people. Saddam Hussein's death didn't end the war in Iraq. It didn't stop the people fighting back. But there's one less person in the world who is using chemical and biological weapons against their own people.
Stopping Joseph Kony might not stop people from using child soldiers. It might not stop the Ugandan government from doing terrible things. But there will be one less person in the world who is willing to use children as soldiers.
And that is why I support the Stop Kony movement.