It’s been really hard to be online and not hear some sort of opinion about Invisible Children over the past few days. If you haven’t seen the Kony 2012 video, you can watch it here. If you have been following IC (see what I did there?) for any amount of time, you will know that the great production quality and the call for awareness is normal for them. They use social media well to get word out for their million-man, multi-city movements, including “Displace Me” and the upcoming “Cover The Night.” They were founded to raise awareness for Central Africans being kidnapped, murdered, and displaced by Joseph Kony.
I heard about IC in 2004 through a friend. I saw their first documentary, aptly named Invisible Children, and was shocked. I couldn’t believe that these atrocities had been going on for over 30 years and very few people outside of Africa knew about it. I did my research, even talking to Jason Russell and Bobby Bailey when I got to college in 2005, on one of their promotional tours. Since that time, there have been many non-government organizations started to find children, return them to their families, rehabilitate them, and put pressure on governments around the world to work together for the good of Africa.
I think Americans are jaded at this point. We have just spent trillions of dollars over a decade destroying other countries under the guise of “freeing people.” I, personally, don’t feel like that was the heart behind the war, but that is for another post entirely. I understand when we hear about another dictator/evil person and don’t want anything to do with it. As an American, I think a lot of the focus needs to be on the homefront.
But, as a Christian, I can’t help but be heartbroken for these children. I can’t help but hear Christ’s call to help. Africa has been ignored for so long by the West, infiltrating and setting up capitalism (after kidnapping millions) and then leaving once we learned they had nothing to help us (read:oil). It’s hard to draw a line between wanting the US to get involved, and ridding the US of it’s desire to be the White Knight, running to the rescue of the world at every whim. I believe that should be the call of Christians, not governments. I will maybe someday write a political post about my opinion that if Christians did a better job of living out our call, in a thousand different situations, the government wouldn’t have to get involved. This is one example.
Now, I don’t want anybody to hear that I want people to blindly support IC, or any other organization or product. Research must be done, and if IC is not something that you feel your money can be spent wisely on, then don’t donate. But, this research must be done with an open mind. You shouldn’t believe everything you read online. You should go to the source, which is why I love that IC has met allegations head on. Just like you shouldn’t donate money to an organization without researching, you shouldn’t post warnings about an organization after only reading one side of the story. Don’t be this guy.
In the spirit of being honest with ourselves, I will provide a list of resources, some that have been pulled from other sources (including Rachel Held Evan’s blog) but all of which I have read myself and believe to be credible sources:
The New York Times– “Lord’s Resistance Army”
The Washington Post– “A Primer”
Foreign Policy– “Joseph Kony is not in Uganda…”
David Sangokoya– “Selling Old Newspapers Shouldn’t be Profitable”
Foreign Affairs– “Obama takes on the LRA”
Invisible Children– “Critiques”
The Guardian U.K.– “Kony 2012: What’s the real story?”
Matthew Paul Turner– “About Kony 2012” (He writes better than me)
Rachel Held Evans– “Some Resources on the Invisible Children Controversy” (Not only does she write better than me, also, but she has a lot more resources for you to check out.)
Matt Chander– “Stop Kony” (A Dallas pastor that I greatly respect)
Do you have any other fair, educated resources to share?
I posted articles for and against Invisible Children, as well as those giving them the benefit of the doubt. I support and trust IC, and think they are doing a great job of getting the word out about this problem (they had 21 million views on YouTube alone on the first day). If you don’t, that’s fine. I trust that those of us that are well informed adults can make a decision as to whether or not to support this cause. If you find that you are not vibing with this particular organization, that’s fine, no hard feelings. But, please, find a cause that you can believe in and get behind it. Just throw money at it, promote it with all your heart. Because these things are not our own.
If you don’t support Invisible Children, what are some causes that you believe in that we can all get behind?