My two cents on the Kony Issue

First it made you feel good.

Then it went viral. (57,733,541 views at this exact moment of writing).

Then came the expected criticism. And the jokes. Jokes. Jokes.

Then you had an inner struggle, torn between guilt for having been “duped” for liking the video and anger at Invisible Children’s “mistruths.”

Now my two cents.

Yes, it was over-indulgent. Yes, it was slightly cheesy.

But feeling compassion for something, should never be considered “jumping on the bandwagon.” Nobody is claiming to know the in’s and out’s of Uganda and it’s army, by feeling compassion or reposting the video.

Cynics claim to “think twice before donating to Kony 2012.” I certainly don’t claim to know all the answers, however, criticism and not donating are also not contributing to the resolve.

On the matter of donating, yes, I do believe one should first research what their money is going towards, for any charity. When I watched this video, I heard them say I could donate. I heard them say I could buy bracelets and posters, etc. But what I heard louder than that was, be informed, spread the word.

I don’t see the problem with their desire to want everyone to know who Joseph Kony is. This is a group of people following their convictions and trying to do something good for humanity; trying to help other people. Why must that always be met by such harsh criticism.

The organization, Invisible Children, has been criticized for their finances, critics stating “Only 32% went to direct services, with much of the rest going to staff salaries, travel and transport, and film production.” (check link above for citation)

Invisible Children responds.

Perhaps 32% is a bit low, however an organization on that level, can’t run for free. People must be paid for their time. Travel and transport is necessary when traveling between continents. And then there’s film production. If anyone knows anything about film, is that it’s not cheap. Creating films, like the one you saw, takes money. If that short film hadn’t been made, the world would continue on, most people unaware of the issue. Spending the money directly to the cause, or using some finances to increase awareness for the cause. A catch 22 perhaps, but necessary to get the word out in my opinion.

What it comes down to, is why must we all find fault in others for trying to do good? I may not know everything there is to know about Invisible Children and its founders, I may not know everything about Uganda and the LRA. But I do know that the video made an impact in many people’s hearts and there is no reason for such criticism towards compassion.



3 thoughts on “My two cents on the Kony Issue

  1. Very well put.

    People who criticized the ‘Hollywood’ style of the film are detracting from the point. I liken it to nudity used by PETA to raise awareness of the fur industry. The purpose is to inform the public. As long as the method is not dishonest I don’t see the problem.

    I understood that to be a registered charity at least 80% of donations needed to go towards active campaigns. I am not familiar with Invisible Children’s accounts but I suspect that making educational resources (the film) would fall under the campaign category.
    I think that the credibility of the organization will be tested over the next few weeks, and I am optimistic.

    Spreading the stories of the poor and abused is not easy and I think they’ve done well.

  2. I totally agree. The CEO actually clarifies saying 37% goes directly to the children ( . Which is actually pretty high considering the cost of money that it takes to mobilize the public, make films like you said Nick and not to mention travel costs, employee costs, etc. Of course it doesn’t run for free and especially an organization as big as this one. Shaming people for donating or warning against it is very foolish.