On kony 2012

I wrote a big response in a fecbbook thread about kony 2012, and thought i would repost it here., so this is a bit out of context. If your not sure what kony 2012 is here is the video:

what i wrote:

There is a lot to this…its sort of hard to sort out for me. I think the first thing i have to do is to take this 30 minute video for what it is. A promotional piece that is trying to compel people to a specific action. In the end its an advertisement. Now, dont get all up in arms about that, i have made my fair share of advertisements… advertisements for things that I think are good and really important (New LIfe Ranch of course being a prime example). And so, every thing that i think is good about IC and that I worry about IC applies in very real ways to me.

So, here is where i start being uncertain. If you watch the video then at the end you could not be blamed if you thought this:

Kony did bad things and Uganda is a bad place to live. The people in Uganda seem unable to take care of themselves, but if Kony was gone everything would be ok. We can send our military to get rid of Kony and everything will be ok. Bono can do this for us.

Now, Its an advertisement remember? The job of the video is to make the complex simple and call you to action. But, in this case i wish IC would have delved into the complexities a little more (at the very least on their website and facebook). IC says they understand this complexity (see #6 in the Drew’s link above). And i trust they do. So, i wish that they had used this opportunity to introduce people to the complexity. To challenge people to think about Uganda and the rest of the African continent in new ways, so really start thinking about how to truly help and serve people. To give Ugandans a chance to speak. IC is in a unique place to do that. They are great story tellers, have huge reach, and they run real programs in uganda which (should) give them insight into the underlying problems and solution in Uganda…into the complexity.

Ok, i have personally decided to do two things in response to this. First, every now and then i watch a specific TED video to remind myself of a fundamental truth about story telling. Kony 2012 reminded me to watch it again. You should to (really, if you dont do anything else because of this tiny little facebook tread except watch and understand this video you will have learned something really important) :



Second, im going to give some time to trying to understand more about kony and the LRA. Im going to start here (pdf):

A few more links:

IC responds to some of the criticism here.

and i think this is worth reading.

In the end, i hope people think deeply about the issues in this world. In Africa or Asia or Tulsa. I hope people will acknowledge the complexity, and to find new ways to think about problems and solutions. kony clearly needs to be captured and stopped. I just hope that we (me, you, and IC) put that into context and realize that there is lots of other work to do around the world and in our own homes (and hearts), so i hope we use knoy 2012 to deepen our understanding of a few of these issues just a little bit.

also, i would like to hear Bobby Garner, Candice Bush Garner, Roy Mwesigwa, Clint Davis, and Greg R. Taylor ‘s thoughts. They are people who have thought much more about this kind of thing then i have.

2 Replies to “On kony 2012”

  1. I like this, it’s not too crazy either way, well thought out. I agree we should respond by changing the way we look at the world


    1. Thanks Quinn. There are certainly some extreme views on this out there. I guess I think those debates are worth trying to understand if you are really interested in development, poverty, story telling, missions, etc, so I hope people go out and engage in those if they want to. But, in the end I mostly just hope that people will think about and engage in the world around them.


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