Joseph Kony and the White Man’s Burden
A few weeks ago, the non-profit Invisible Children posted “012” on youtube and vimeo. Slickly produced and superficially moving, the video purports to raise awareness about the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) leader Joseph Kony, and kicks off a campaign to #stopkony. Asking people to donate and buy advocacy kits that will “make Kony famous” by plastering signs and stickers publicly, they tell their (young, mostly white) audience that “[p]eople will think you’re an advocate of awesome.” Thanks to a tsunami of tweets from celebs and those of us regular people alike (#stopkony and #stopkony2012 are trending), the kits are now sold out.
The Stop Kony campaign and Invisible Children have subsequently come under fire and have become the focus of pointed, and sometimes angry, criticism for their simplified and outdated take on the conflict – as well as their colonialist approach to “solving” it. Below find links to some of the best critical articles we’ve seen (which also contain links to other great articles). And above, Ugandan journalist Rosebell Kagumire, weighs in. We’ll let her tell her own story. And, to be fair, here is the official response from Invisible Children, which ends with this quote from the “poet” Ke$ha: “we are who we are.”