So unless you have been living on Mars for the past week (or have a life offline) you will have come across the ‘Kony 2012’ frenzy that has invaded the digital world. If like me your reaction has been an almost jaw breaking yawn, casual shrug of the shoulders and whatever then you have found a friend.
Despite the outrage blanketing social media sites I am quiet sure Joseph Kony is not losing one minute’s sleep over the video or the public’s reaction to it. For over twenty years Kony and his gang of LRA thugs have been wandering between Northern Uganda, DR Congo, Central African Republic and Sudan raping, pillaging and murdering at will – and ‘Kony 2012’ is not going to make a shit of difference to that and nor should it, as I will explain further down.
For the most part the Ugandan Army has been the strongest military opposition to the LRA, their last big operation, 2008’s Lightning Thunder was a disaster, riddled with poor planning, intelligence leaks and criticisms of being too Kony focused, however despite this and other criticisms of abuses of power they may be the best hope to defeat the LRA. Part of the reason the LRA have lasted so long is because the area the operate in is far from capital cities and Kampala, Kinshasa, Khartoum and Bangui lack the political will and need to send troops there. Secondly there is a lack of cooperation between the bordering nations – DR Congo are still pissed at Uganda for invading and stealing their natural resources in the late ‘90’s so will not let them in again and CAR have told them (Ugandan Army) to leave because they want the donor money that is channelled to the LRA’s opponents. Finally, Omar Bashir, who like Kony is wanted by the ICC, has harboured the LRA at various stages and will not let the Ugandan Army into Sudan.
So, why will and why should the video do nothing to change the situation? Firstly, it will not change the situation because of the modern day attention span. I guarantee people will forget about this only a few weeks after Kony Day on April 20. In the meantime there will be a mass of donations to Invisible Children (who will be the real winners), an almost physical embodiment of goodwill and like every other ‘fad cause’ ‘Kony 2012’ will fade out and by April 2013, hell probably October 2012, everyone will have forgotten who Joseph Kony is and they can go back to real issues like whoever Yumi Stynes / Kyle Sandilands / Simon Cowell has insulted or who said what on Masterchef. Secondly this video should not change anything, apart from a few public minds. Kony and the LRA have been operating for a long time and if it took a video like ‘Kony 2012’ to get national and international leaders, governments and organisations moving on the issue then what bloody use are they? The reality is the LRA have been under attack for years, however for all the reasons (and more) mentioned above, they have survived. So, while the video may be aiming to raise awareness, the reality is, the people who should be aware are aware and are actually involved in trying to get rid of Kony and the LRA.
If you were not aware of Kony and LRA before the video then take this as an opportunity to get aware and find out about other issues going in the world too – like Assad’s year long murder of civilians in Syria – where is the social media outrage against that, oh yeah, no one has made a snazzy video, so we don’t really know / care about that.
In saying all this I hope I am wrong. I hope the video does make a difference at a higher level. I hope it does play a part in ending the LRA. I hope it does give people a kick up the arse and spur them to some sort of action. I wish I could bottle all the goodwill created by ‘Kony 2012’, send it to Mephesto in South Park so he could make a five arsed rocket to take out Kony and his cronies, but I cannot.
The best that I can see coming out of ‘Kony 2012’ is that people actually get involved in learning more about the world and their own surrounds and will act without having to be prompted by a post on their Facebook wall.