In around 24 hours a video from the non-profit organisation ‘Invisible Children’ has received over seven million views.
The organisation want Joseph Kony arrested. A man who, with his rebel group, has kidnapped thousands of children; forcing the boys to fight and disfigure people, forcing the girls to be sex slaves and killing anyone who does not comply. He is number one on the International Crime Court’s most wanted list, with a warrant out for his arrest since 2005 following around ten years of these crimes.
The video offers the lovely aim of killing or capturing Joseph Kony and returning the kidnapped children home. As if it is that simple.
Getting to Kony will undoubtedly involve fighting his army, therefore fighting his army of children we wish to save. Invisible Children wants the US military to work with the Ugandan military which also has a record of abuse and misconduct. A lesser of two evils perhaps but still a concern.
And then what? Kony is not a one man organisation with a child army, he is not working alone and capturing Kony will not stop this group.
The fact that so many of my peers and people all around the world felt quite happy to watch this video and then jump on the band wagon with no further knowledge of research was shockingly narrow minded and frankly very embarrassing. Although perhaps not their fault considering a very informative tumblr account was banned by Facebook for the majority of the 24 hours the video has been viral. I still cannot believe that no one thought to ask any questions, and it appears they should have.
Invisible Children’s finances shows that 32% of their budget last year went to direct services, does that mean people’s wages? This seems questionable. Similarly Foreign Affairs magazine has spoken out against the video as manipulating the facts while Charity Navigator has only awarded the organisation two measly stars. There was definitely more research to be done before simply re-posting!