The “Kony 2012” documentary, created by Invisible Children earlier in March, has received worldwide attention, but not all of the attention has been positive. The biggest controversy has been that Invisible Children does not have the financial integrity one would expect.
The Telegraph reported Thursday that a screening of the documentary in Northern Uganda was halted midway through due to angry viewers.
In the United States, the documentary has clearly stirred up many mixed emotions, even at North Atlanta.
“I think it’s a great thing that they are doing,” Junior Melissa Moyer told us. “I just hope that the money being donated goes to the right causes.”
Junior Zenzele Ubaka-Coulter said that she believes that something should have been done earlier. She comments, “I think that its good that it is being brought to light, but something should have been done earlier to enlighten people about the issues in Uganda.”
“The situation is a travesty. Joseph Kony has to be stopped,” Global Broadcasting & Journalism instructor Mr. Regan explained. “The question for me is why did it take this documentary to bring to light something that has been occurring for years. It’s almost like the ‘white man’s burden’ as William Golding presented it Lord of the Flies. Kony has been around for years, and people have been talking about him, but it took one organizations’ documentary to turn it into a worldwide issue.”
John Riley, editor-in-chief of the Northerner also chimed in on the issue. “I think it’s certainly a serious issue, but the bigger issue to me is the lack of thorough knowledge in our culture. People rarely go deeper than a segment of nightly news or skimming a headline to learn about issues that adversely affect citizens of our world. As an American, we have tremendous opportunities to be catalysts for change, and yet most of us don’t take that responsibility seriously.”
In a discussion about the subject with Mrs. Brazil, GBJ Academy Leader, and a few students, the issue of the movement being a “status thing” came up.
“If someone posts a status about Kony, he or she comes off as informed and international,” Mrs. Brazil remarked. “But on the other hand, is it a bad thing that is a status marker?” a student responded.
Mrs. Brazil continued by explaining that the campaign has turned in to more than just an attempt to inform the world of Joseph Kony.
“What I think is interesting about it is it’s not just an issue of publicizing atrocities,” explained Brazil. “It’s not just an issue about justice; it has also gotten a lot of attention about how ethically the organization operates, because now people are questioning the percentage of donations that are actually going to help people. They’re questioning the motivation of the people behind it and I think those are questions that we need to be asking all non-profits.”
Many have also said that the documentary is nothing but propaganda, claiming that it is designed to spike the amount of donations that Invisible Children receives.
“I feel like they are using modern propaganda and advertisement techniques to appeal to Americans and to get us to donate,” GBJ student Sarah Evans concluded. “So instead of advertising a pair of shoes, they’re advertising a cause and they’re trying to get people to support the cause. They are using celebrity endorsements like crazy with about 20 people that they are targeting, and that’s what kind of makes it the “fad” that we talked about earlier.”
“Kony 2012” has caused many people to begin to think more deeply about things, which is beneficial to our society. Despite this, the discussions are long from over. The only thing to do is to wait and see if this type of effort works, and how people will react to the outcome.