Mike Cline suggests: Do your own facts’ finding on Kony 2012

As a teacher, at an international school, Mike Cline advises American teenagers that Kony 2012 campaign targets primarily to do their own homework before they commit themselves. I reproduce here the comment he wrote after reading Kony 2012: again looking down on Africa to occupy and exploit it I posted on this blog a few days ago.

I’m glad I came across your blog. Even though there are some points on here I can’t agree with, I like your blog and will certainly become a frequent reader. From the first time I saw the KONY 2012 campaign, I’ve felt really conflicted. I teach high school geography at an international school and work really hard to get my students to not just have knowledge of the world but actually care about it and work to make it better. After seeing the video myself, my students asked me if I had seen it, what the background was and what I thought about them participating. I want my students to research, analyze and evaluate things like this on their own, but I felt immediately compelled to give them some basic background on the history and politics behind this, so they’d understand, that it’s not that simple. I have pushed them to investigate this further and make a sound judgment based on facts from various sources, not just an impassioned, emotional video from YouTube.

These guys at Invisible Children have certainly simplified things and are really just targeting an American audience to support what many Americans see as the best way to be a global citizen, through the long arm of American justice. As an American, of the same age and similar background as these guys, whether I agree with them or not, I see where they are coming from. What they do and say comes across to most non-Americans (and many Americans) at best as uninformed, misguided and naïve and at worst as ignorant, dangerous and bigoted. However, they are directing this at an American audience that is for the most part so oblivious to the world that they don’t even know where Uganda is until they Google it or read about a celebrity visiting there. Can they actually expect the average American to get the complexities of the effects of colonialism when they don’t even know the Rwandan Civil War ever happened or that South Sudan is the newest country in the world? They have to use simple Hollywood storytelling, with an evil bad guy and over-simplified back-story, to reach their audience. Until the knowledge and experience of the audience change, how else can people like Invisible Children spread their message?

Even with all of their faults, these guys seem to be trying to do good. They don’t seem to be the neo-colonial bigoted type and likely are making less profit, money or publicity-wise, than other similar charities/NGOs. Instead of totally destroying the good they could do and wasting the focused attention from their audience, isn’t this an opportunity to bring attention to these issues and make more people knowledgeable and concerned about the situation in that part of the world? They deserve criticism, but their simple introduction to these issues could bring positive attention, I hope.

Please share/tweet this message to as many Western young people as possible that Kony 2012 campaign targets. This will help counterbalance the false image of Africa that the youtube phenomenum has so far caused.

Link: http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/ban-of-invisible-children-to-operate-in-africa.html

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