So this past week, I was one who was caught up in the viral nature of the documentary video of Invisible Children (IC) titled KONY 2012. If you haven’t seen it, I suggest you take a peek. The film is very inspirational and effective as is show by the many critiques, rejoinders, conversations, and arguments that are flying out there in the media and social media. There are many critiques and rebuttals and I do not want to get bogged down in the slew of information flying out there, so you can decide for yourself. Here are some places you can go: Justice in Conflict blog, Foreign Policy blog, Time Global Spin blog, Invisible Children’s response.
Some of the critique seems valid: that the video is overly emotional without providing enough information, some say the video implies a very “white man is the savior” complex, others say that the methodology that IC is undertaking is entirely flawed, that Kony actually isn’t the worst embodiment of evil and that there are more pressing things to turn our attention and resources to, like the ‘nodding disease‘. I believe all these critiques have merit to an extent, and I have come to agree for the most part that that IC’s efforts could be maybe use better elsewhere (for one, bringing Kim Jong Un, since his dad already died, to justice, I think bring down the leader of North Korea would have more far reaching effects than hunting a criminal who’s a fugitive in the forests). But I do think that the video and especially what the video has created, that is the plethora of conversations, is of some value.
It has value because of what justice is. I don’t mean philosophically, but to the average individual. To the average person who checks Facebook 50 times a day, justice is nothing but an emotional high. I would even say that to all of us who are blogging, writing, responding on the internet in what we think is a constructive or intelligent manner, justice is again merely a thought that gives us good feelings. That’s why the video works so well. It moves people initially. Because justice is always sweet when you bandwagon, and most people do not realize that the rest of the ride is very rarely sweet, that it is hard and sometimes even painful, because most of us jump off that wagon before it starts to hit the rocky road. Then we go back to our computer screens, checking Facebook for the next emotional high that pops up in our news feed. This is why those of us who are not doing any alternate acts of justice cannot be fully critical (of course we can point out errors) against those people who are acting and spending their time and energy, even if it may seem wrongly directed. Because on the individual journey of justice they are ahead of us. They are our teachers.
So I do not think I will be donating to the Kony 2012 Campaign, but I will not be against their campaign. For the average individual, IC is a small part of a life long education process, one nudge, but maybe an important one for that indifferent person to be moved to fight injustice, to actually learn the difficult life of Justice, and not merely feel or rage about it. As Bruce Waltke teaches us the true meaning of justice, “The wise and righteous are those willing to disadvantage themselves in order to advantage others.”