I just watched this video and then I vacuumed the house. Then I sat down on my bed to write something about it, but instead I spent 15 minuted reblogging things we’ve all already seen on tumblr. Truth is, I just don’t know what to say, but I know I need to say something.
I have always known that Kony has existed, I just never knew his name was Kony. I also know that Kony is one of hundreds if not thousands who are running rampant in that fucked up continent. There is also an asshole named Robert Mugabe…heard of him? You should have as he is already famous, you buy his Nestle products daily. I fear to write this post without coming off as ignorant or bitter but when organisations start asking for cash and handing out fancy wrist bands, the cynical part of my brain begins to pulsate. I come from Africa, I know where ‘aid’ goes. But what if this is legit? Is doing nothing better?
The entire video is moving…of course it fucking is, how could you not be moved? But the part that got to me was at the beginning when his son is born and he says, ‘he didn’t choose where or when he was born. But because he is here, he matters’ – that is the line that made me want to write this post. See I have always taken being a South African quite seriously. I grew up in pre apartheid and came of age during the downfall. Although we were not separated from the rest of the world by distance like the Australians, we were separated because we were the kids at school and that nobody wanted to play with. We all know how intuitive children can be, so even as an 11 year old child I knew that there was a bigger world with more opportunity outside of the working class ‘whites only’ suburb I grew up in and I wanted to be apart of it. I wanted to get away. Alas my parents are European, so as soon as I turned 18 I bought a one way ticket to London and with my British passport in hand, I boarded a South African Airways plane and I have not lived there since. Well not physically anyway. I am a privileged South African because I had an education. I am even more privileged because I had the means to leave and live amongst the first world. But to turn my back from the rock from which I was hewn is irresponsible and ignorant. Thankfully I am only the former.
You know, I was only 5 minutes into this vid and I knew that thousands of jokes and comments and FB updates would be happening against it, I even thought of some. Sure it seems a little flashy, and these days whenever an American is involved we get our backs up. But what riles us even more is when they DON’T get involved. But here’s the thing, the most that many of us can do IS only to like a page, re tweet a tweet or reblog a post on tumblr. What the fuck are we going to do? Type ‘Kony’ into search on Google maps in our iPhone and catch a plane to Uganda? We know about it now and the devil has a name…so now what? What does the average internet punter do? Sure, this might be a hoax (I doubt it) and no doubt the Invisible Children inc headquarters will be Apple product errrthang and flashy as fuck, but so what? We just carry on buying ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians’ box sets and ‘liking’ Beyonce on facebook? Yes because our money is of much more use there. Buying magazines with Rihanna on the cover because she is engaged to the man that once gave her a back hand is much more of an investment and worthy of our time.
So I address you the cynics, the internet trawlers, the people with a larger vocabulary and intellect than me, what would you like the average Joe to do if just talking about it on his mini platform that comes in the form of his “i’ something or other is not enough? They don’t have the world stage, they don’t have signing power to take these rebels out and they definitely don’t have all the facts BUT they know about it and they want to do something but they feel helpless. Being concious of what is happening should be encouraged and not fucking patronised. You people with your own little facebook fan pages, just ‘liking’ your non earth moving website is not going to make you an internet sensation. But then you don’t expect it to, do you? No. You need the ‘likes’ to get your message across and to sell whatever it is you’re selling.
Me writing this is not going to bring Kony to his knees, it does not make me a better South African or human being but it does make me feel like I am in touch with what’s going on in the world in which I had no choice of entering. Are we to just accept that we are powerless against evil and just go out for poached eggs and soy lattes then return home and tune in to South Park and brush it off as not our problem? Do I just carry on writing about blow jobs and lipstick and dickheads who fucked me over?
Jason Russell might be fighting a losing battle and there may be flaws in his bid to take down one of middle Africa’s tyrants but at least he is doing SOMETHING even if that something is just making us concious and aware. The fence is such a comfortable seat regarding issues like these. If we give money, we feel anxious that we are being taken for fools. If we do nothing, then we feel guilty. So we turn our heads and close the youtube window and go boil some pasta and indulge in the ‘out of sight out of mind’ stance on things.
The campaign might be fruitless. It might be a scam. Jason Russell might be cleverly using his son to fatten his wallet. But what if he’s not? What is he’s not.