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“Kony 2012”: A Noble Cause or a Scam?

It is no secret that many claims on the internet are extremely disingenuous.  This posting regards the (apparently) fraudulent campaign known as “Kony 2012”—a bizarrely titled ANTI-Kony crusade.

The cause is being promoted via a Youtube video—which has been viewed by about 60 million people.  But what is it really?  It’s a fundamentalist Christian evangelism project operating under the pretenses of stopping a venal cult leader in central Africa (a notorious madman named Joseph Kony, who is presently operating his “Lord’s Resistance Army” in northern DRC and southern CAR).  The disingenuous promotional video makes the audience think that the cause is strictly secular—and dedicated explicitly to capturing Kony IN UGANDA.

What isn’t mentioned is that it is NOT secular, and that Kony is NOT in Uganda.  Moreover, if the “Kony 2012” cause really cared about the things it claimed to care about (egregious injustices and on-going crimes against humanity), it would be concentrating on Palestinian rights—which the U.S. CAN directly do something about (since the U.S. government actively supports the humanitarian atrocities systematically perpetrated in Palestine).

Alas, due to the nature of Youtube and social networking in general, NONE of this is revealed to the viewers.  The format of Web 2.0 isn’t conducive to genuine edification nor to meticulous critical analysis (i.e. things that would be an integral part of ANY noble cause).  Nobody seems to know much about Jason Russell, the fanatical Christian narrator of the glitzy video.  He is passed off as just a regular guy who is promoting a noble (secular) cause.

Of course, ALL the reasons Jason gives for promoting his cause would apply EVEN MORE to fighting for Palestinian rights.  Unsurprisingly, this crucial point isn’t mentioned.  And here’s the really creepy part: the money people are duped into giving goes to an organization called TRI.  But exactly what “TRI” might be is never specified—in the video OR even on the “Kony2012” website!  (It doesn’t even exist on Wikipedia…nor does it come up on a Google search.)  Bizarrely, the symbol of TRI is an up-side down peace sign.  It’s all very weird.

If Jason really meant what he says (about all humans mattering, regardless of ethnicity), he’d certainly be focusing on Palestine.  (Jason calls his movement “Invisible Children”.  Well, Jason, what about the invisible children in the poor neighborhoods here in the United States?  Or in Palestine?  Any plans to do anything about THOSE people?)

This is the kind of thing that happens with the new social media technology.  There is neither social responsibility nor intellectual stimulation involved with the use of social networks.  There is just spur-of-the-moment, knee-jerk reaction—encouraging everyone to be chronically, pathologically mercurial.

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