Facebook and Stop Kony Activists (Week2)

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When I think of activism and social media, the first thing that comes to mind is the 2012 Stop Kony campaign. It was only about a couple months ago that it was all over Facebook.  The photo above is one of the many that flooded Facebook and Twitter a couple months ago.

Joseph Kony was once a Ugandan rebel leader. It is said that he has abducted, abused, and killed many innocent children for over twenty years. The idea of the campaign is to get Kony’s name out there, so that the government feels pressure to arrest him. The campaign is successful in reaching many. No one who had ever heard of Kony before this campaign definitely knows who he is now. For weeks, it seems like no one could talk about anything else. Everywhere I turned I would hear something about Kony. While being highly emotional and allowing people to take easy actions, such as liking and sharing posts, word of the campaign has spread like wildfire.

The video above is one made by an activist group called “Invisible Children.”  This video explains that Joseph Kony has abducted over 30,000 children. He has been abducting them and  forcing them to be soldiers in his “Lords Resistance Army.”  The Kony 2012 campaign utilizes street art and face to face interaction as well as video and social networking sites, According to this video, last fall, President Barack Obama was convinced by “Invisible Children” to send military advisers to Uganda to try and persuade them to arrest Kony.

The photograph above is a poster for an event to rally support for the Stop Kony 2012 campaign.

Backlash came along with the campaign. African activists and scholars believe that this campaign is “a dangerous oversimplification of the real issues.”(Chris O’Brien, Mercury news Columnist). Many have said that a greater presence of U.S. military would be like supporting the current Ugandan government, which has been accused of violating human rights.

It’s hard to really know what the right course of action to take is. If supporting the Kony campaign means supporting an equal evil, then I’m not sure if it is really worth it. I feel like residents of Africa know a little more about what is going on. Kony has been apparently kidnapping these children since 1987. It’s strange that this issue has come up out of the blue. Kony has been hiding out for twenty years now. I trust that activists in Africa have tried to get him to pay for his actions. If they couldn’t do it, then what makes the Stop Kony 2012  campaign think that they will be successful? What if the outcome of his arrest wasn’t a good one? Who knows? Maybe Africa wants to handle this issue on their own terms, without being pressured.In a government there is this delicate balance between issues that should really be taken on and issues that could wait. If the Ugandan government chose to work on this issue, how many other issues would they have to turn their attention away from? There are so many issues in the world that it is hard to be selective. Does one equally major issue really rank over another? It’s something to think about.

 

I used information from these sites in my discussion:

http://www.mercurynews.com/chris-obrien/ci_20132543/obrien-kony-2012-campaigns-tests-impact-online-activism

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kony2012/290080347691929

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6 thoughts on “Facebook and Stop Kony Activists (Week2)

  1. I saw the Stop Kony Campaign on facebook a few months back but being so busy with school and working full time I was never able to understand it fully. Wow I cant believe this person had kidnapped so many children and this was going on so long without anyone in the United States knowing about it. I wonder as well what happend that made awareness of this campaign so sudden in the U.S. And is it Americas place to go in and interfere or should Africa handle the situation on their own terms?

  2. I just wanted to add some thoughts I was having that I forgot to add in my discussion.

    I feel as though Facebook creates this idea of casual activism. I think that some people go and post a status about something like Kony, and think that they are automatically an activist. I believe that some people want to follow the trend. The Kony 2012 campaign got really big, and people had to become a part of it because it was popular. People take the role of activist too lightly, I feel like, I think that more responsibility should come with the title of activist. More responsibility than just a post.

    The idea of Facebook making it easier for people to become activists is a double edged sword. In a way it is good because it gets more people involved, and it spreads the idea more quickly. In a way it’s also bad. People are encouraged to spread the word, but will stop at just that, since anything else will require more effort.

    check out these images:

    http://www.quickmeme.com/meme/36kxf7/

    If people are lead to believe that they can do so much with just one post, then they will think that is good enough and stop at that.

    Another image :

    http://www.google.com/imgres?um=1&hl=en&sa=N&biw=1047&bih=458&authuser=0&tbm=isch&tbnid=NC6LeTcwKwuibM:&imgrefurl=http://www.geekosystem.com/kony-2012-campaign/&docid=be4yX3Bq2Nv2AM&imgurl=http://www.geekosystem.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/kony-meme-3.jpg&w=300&h=300&ei=j3DPT_7aF6X26AHm9-itDA&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=482&vpy=98&dur=1907&hovh=225&hovw=225&tx=132&ty=131&sig=115101174474820005290&page=1&tbnh=122&tbnw=122&start=0&ndsp=12&ved=1t:429,r:9,s:0,i:93

    The photo above makes a great point. Everyone just kind of believed everything they heard instantly about everything having to do with Kony. I’m reluctant to believe the whole story since I really have no idea about it. The Kony 2012 campaign just came up out of the blue, so suddenly and became wildly popular over Facebook. I knew nothing about it and doing the research that I did, I found out that activists in Africa are saying that there is a little more to the issue than the Stop Kony Facebook campaign is suggesting. We know nothing about it. All we know, is what a thirty minute video is telling us to believe. I never got involved with this. I’ve heard that Kony left Uganda, so if he ever was abusing children, he can’t really on the run now can he? I also realized that if I were to make a post on Facebook, that it wouldn’t save any children. When something gets so big so fast, and over Facebook, it leaves me pretty skeptical.You really cant believe everything you hear.

    • Very good post. A few other students have talked about Kony. I was especially drawn to your term “casual activism”. And it is that, something comes to our attention, it grabs us, we respond, get involved, then the next thing comes and we move on. But we do learn about it, and maybe for every 1,000 that move on 1 sticks with the cause and good is done. Interesting.

  3. I don’t want to sound negative because I think the whole Stop Kony 2012 campaign could potentially be helpful BUT I think America has it’s own issues to worry about at the moment. Also, I remember the day the Kony Campaign and the video you posted blew up on the internet and there was even a hashtag trending on Twitter (#Kony2012). I was very confused about this hastag because it made it seem like Kony was a new candidate running for president or something. If someone wasn’t intrigued or didn’t have the time to research it then I personally think that Kony actually got the wrong kind of attention from some people. It was not until you watched the video that you realized Kony was a monster from Uganda.

    • I completely agree with you. Everyone called it Kony 2012. This was almost like putting a positive spin on a guy who is supposedly a child killer, by making him sound like a politician running for a serious position in office. It was such a poor choice to call it that. As you can see in my title, I changed it to the Stop Kony campaign, since that is what they really meant to call it I feel like. A title is supposed to give someone a sense of what something is about, or else it is useless like “Kony 2012.”

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