I walk into a room and hear people talking about the new Invisible Children (IC) film, “Kony 2012“.
Is the IC mission that far off base? Are we dangerously close to the racist position of playing imperialistic “saviors”? What are better solutions for peace in Uganda? What about the rest of Africa? If IC dollars contribute to the Ugandan government’s army, what’s that money really funding? You think our tax dollars support a more just military? If Kony gets captured, what about other potential evil leaders in the LRA? Who will stop all the other murderous armies? Who will stop malaria? Who will stop AIDS?
The very discussion gives me hope. It’s important: viewing imagery that inspires us to want to get involved. It’s important: debating how we can effectively help. It’s important: acting on our impulses to show compassion.
I walk into another room and hear that Jessica Sanchez (whoever she is) dared to sing “I Will Always Love You” the other night on American Idol.
She didn’t! She did! She’s so bold. And pretty!
I leave. Isn’t it great that we get to choose which conversations we’ll participate in?
I’ve written about Invisible Children before. I love their work. I love their energy. I love the catharsis I feel when I watch their videos.
Sure, they’re propagandists. Their mission is far from perfect. But I don’t think they’re in it to get rich. And as for the people scoffing over their travel budget — hello, that’s how human beings make connections: by going places and spending time with each other.
Far more intriguing to me than the financial data are the flaws in the logic of Kony 2012. Make a man famous in order to pressure the government to capture him, and that solves everything? A lot has been written about this by people far better educated than I. Google it, you’ll see.
Even as I read the articles — and more appear each time I update my web browser — I maintain that I love hearing people having this discussion. IC is making a valuable contribution in our culture, particularly where young people are concerned. When compared to the plethora of stimulation available, the films of Invisible Children are a gift.
What would I rather have sold to my video game addicted nephew: doritos and shiny cars or pathos and a desire to help people? I’ll be thrilled if my niece suddenly starts quoting Nicholas Kristof along with lines from Grey’s Anatomy. Thank you, Invisible Children for elevating the conversation.