The Reality Behind #StopKony Campaign by Invisible Children Org.?

7 Mar

I saw this video yesterday evening after a friend posted this on her Facebook timeline, and after watching it I was moved and joined on local effort that were already underway to  organize and do something on April 20 as the video proposed.

If you were up last night, you probably noticed that the video went viral on the internet, the Stop Kony website even crashed because of all the visitors.

This video was greatly done and very emotional/touching which has made it as viral as it is. Everyone shares the same desire for justice and a more better world.  

The following is a post on reddit, which I found while doing some more research on this #stopkony campaign.
(Redit post text is posted below)
It was a bit discouraging, although if you read the comments on the thread some other redditors make some valid arguments about the individuals hard work for eight year to bring light upon the situation in Uganda, which does deserve merit. They did get the Obama administration to do something as minimal as it was.
If this charity, Invisible Children, is not the effective, you could look for another one that is more effective in its work in Uganda/Africa, a redditer suggested AmnestyInternational (http://www.amnestyusa.org/) which is a great organization
I have even read articles online  that suggest that Kony could be very old  has been captured, or is even dead; this requires some more research. I encourage you to search more information on the internet. (I have provided some links to articles at the end of this post)
Something which is great about this video is that it has motivated a lot of people from across the world (the internet) to unite and come together regardless of political philosophy etc… that certainly deserves praise and merit. This at least gives hope to those of us who participate in advocacy and sometimes feel that people don’t care about what happens in the world, people still do and that is great. I have seen online people want to help and organize, who have never been politically involved, this could help raise the awareness and sensitivity of people on global issues. 
My suggestion do some research and do what you thinks is best. I don’t  think this video/organization is bad or evil, don’t get me wrong, the guys probably had good intentions as do everyone who is supporting the campaign now, but we should all do more investigating and come to our conclusion of how we want to proceed. (Again I posted some very good news articles and a letter form Ugandan official to President Obama below)
If he is not our target, I think people could still use the momentum provided by this viral video to advocate for Africa (i.e. the dying children Somalia and other regions) and/or advocate for peace, not war. 
———-

Update: 3/7/2012 8pm Central Time.

Invisible Children responds to criticism about ‘Stop Kony’ campaign

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/blogpost/post/invisible-childrens-stop-kony-campaign/2012/03/07/gIQA7B31wR_blog.html?wprss=blogpost

“Be the change you want to see in the world.”

 Mahatma Gandhi
———-
Facebook Reactions:
at least it is waking younger people up as to believing in a cause some of them may end up being proactive adults – Renee H.
Below I have posted some comments that have caught my attention:
“it’s likely propaganda, however i don’t think its baseless, but probably irrelevant since Kony was beat down and made insignificant before invisible children even entered the scene. the group is ranked very low, as charities go, for not being independently audited, and not having a board, as non profits are required to have. it’s fishy. but the problem with Kony is not made up.” -George D.
Another comment I liked posted on facebook
“Ismael, you posted a great video(referring to Kony 2012 video) and aside from all that has been commented here in this forum, it is of our individual and collective responsibility to do everything we can to protect children and ensure they have access to the most valuable resources to a successful future.” -Sandy L.
Yea agreed, seeing something good happen because of what people have done would be a good thing, and it would show people the power that free speech and the internet can have 🙂 (-Andrew-)

You Can Make A Difference

———-

Below is the reddit post

This is what sort of sparked it all which is not good. The video itself is a good piece of emotional porn but that’s about it. It’s honestly NOT worth the 30 minutes when you find out somethings about the organization that is doing this [Invisible Children].

First of all, the guy who made that film get’s paid $90,000 a year. That’s for him and his family. This does not include him paying costs for film equipment, video editting software, nor does it cover travel or accomodations whilst in anywhere else. Those are all covered under the ludicrous budgets that the Invisible Children organization actually deal with. Let’s go to that now. Here are some expenses from CharityNavigator.

Compensation of Leaders | % of Compensation relative to amount of money made by IC | Title

  • $88,241 | 0.99% | Ben Keesey – CEO
  • $89,669 | 1.00% | Jason Russell – Co-Founder/Filmmaker
  • $84,377 | 0.94% | Laren Poole – Co-Founder/Filmmaker

Revenue

  • Total Contributions: $10,334,060
  • Program Service Revenue: $3,423,351
  • Total Primary Revenue: $13,757,411
  • Other Revenue $7,769
  • TOTAL REVENUE: $13,765,180

Expenses

  • Program Expenses: $7,163,384
  • Administrative Expenses: $1,444,570
  • Fundraising Expenses: $286,678
  • TOTAL FUNCTIONAL EXPENSES: $8,894,632

Payments to Affiliates $0 Excess (Or deficit) for the year: $4,870,548

Net Assets $6,584,811

As if that isn’t bad enough, they’ve refused to Co-operate with the Better Business Bureau, Their transparancy rating is fairly low on Charity Navigator, and allegations of fraud.

Besides, they make a fairly large point about sending money to the Ugandan Military. This is a big no no for a couple of reasons. First of all, Kony isn’t even in Uganda. Funding a military that has no real authority over another country to LOOK in other countries, is a moronic idea to begin with. Secondly, the Ugandan military is already using this as an excuse to enter other countries and exploit resources from surrouding areas. The Government of Uganda is full of criminals that are worse than Kony himself. Not to mention the bloody PRESIDENT of Uganda is responsible for millions of deaths. Then you’ve got allegations coming out that Kony is already dead. The LRA (Konys ragtag bunch of assholes) isn’t that large, or all that active.

The worst thing about Invisible Children (In my opinion) is that they lobbies for DIRECT MILITARY INTERVENTION IN AFRICA. After all of the terrorist hunts in the Middle East, and having troops stuck in Afghanistan and Iraq, don’t you think that the people would have learned by now that having troops in another country to hunt one asshole isn’t exactly the best idea? Especially when some of the Republicans believe that invading Iran is a fairly good idea at the moment. There are SERIOUS issues with this group, issues that people are overlooking. I will admit that at first I was already on Twitter and ready to bitch at people about the injustice that’s being served in other countries and then I decided to look into the organization. The information is there, and willing, but people are fearful to even look. Fearful, lazy, or just swept up by the movement. Injustice exists in the world. It is damn stupid, and it sucks ass, but that’s the nature of this planet at the moment. Humanity, since rising from the primordial ooze, has killed people over far less than anything you could imagine. Then there’s the fact that if Kony is alive, and the ICC, or International Criminals Court, manages to put him on trial, what’s it going to achieve? Numerous war criminals have stood trial before the ICC. This isn’t a game of chess. You don’t topple a pawn and move on. The pawns replicate. It’s like fighting a hydra. If you slice off one head, more are going to pop up in it’s place. You remove one player, and 10 others will appear. Hell, there’s a case to be made that awareness driven ngos perpetuate the current state of afafairs and are an intergral part of the current system of global unfairness. They offer placebos for guilty consciences and as such, they don’t change anything. If you think of large entites such as Global Corporations, conglomorates and powerful nation states that capitalize on injustice, corruption and disorganization and exploit the poor for their resources and manpower, the best thing that could happen to them are programs such as this. There’s a lot of reasons why Invisible Children has a good idea of what they’re doing, but FAR too much on the opposite sides of the scales to tip myself (and no doubt others) into not bothering with this group and it’s practices.

Information retrieved by use of google, and a variety of different comments spread across Kony2012 post comment fields.

EDIT: A couple of things to note

1) The majority of this post is my beliefs and some facts. I made an opinion and people are saying things, and giving me ‘praise’ (Can’t think of another word) for something that I posted to shut some people up as well as state my opinion.

2) I’m not saying do nothing, which is what half of the people who commented to this post seem to believe. I’m saying that there are many ways you can help the world be a better place rather than subscribing to an organization which seems a bit shady at best. Amnesty International is one, as well as Doctors Without Borders.

3) For the love of God, read the entire thing before you comment. I had my message box flooded with posts saying “You’re getting mad over them paying themselves a perfectly normal, reasonable amount of money?” That is NOT THE ENTIRE PURPOSE OF THIS COMMENT. While I do not agree with getting paid $90k, which is twice the average income per year in America, that’s not what I’m getting at. What I’m getting at is that Invisible Children is an organization that you should think twice about before having any dealings with. If you want to, then that is entirely up to you. I’m just trying to put some facts out there as well as stating my opinion that I am well within my rights to do so. Now. I’m going to bed. It’s 4:30 in the morning and I’ve spent the better part of the past hour and a half going through comments to this comment and trying to explain myself and I’m exhausted. Good night and do whatever you believe is right.

———-

Related Articles:

Kony 2012: The Invisible Children Advocacy Campaign to Catch Kony

http://justiceinconflict.org/2012/03/07/kony-2012-the-invisible-children-advocacy-campaign-to-catch-kony/

the visible problem with invisible children

http://ilto.wordpress.com/2006/11/02/the-visible-problem-with-invisible-children/

39

Letter to President Barack Obama From Civil Society Representatives in LRA-affected areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic and South Sudan

http://www.hrw.org/en/node/102932

Obama Takes on the LRA

Stop Kony, yes. But don’t stop asking questions

http://blogs.independent.co.uk/2012/03/07/stop-kony-yes-but-dont-stop-asking-questions/

Joseph Kony and the ‘Visible Children’

http://www.truthdig.com/avbooth/item/its_time_to_catch_joseph_kony_20120307/

On Kony 2012

http://thedailywh.at/2012/03/07/on-kony-2012-2/

 

Kony 2012: Viral video for the misinformed?

http://rt.com/news/koni-viral-video-campaign-133/

4 Responses to “The Reality Behind #StopKony Campaign by Invisible Children Org.?”

  1. smiley March 8, 2012 at 3:50 PM #

    Thank you for the comment, extremely appreciated for feedback:) Happy reading.

  2. Anonymous March 8, 2012 at 12:12 PM #

    Thanks for doing research. I was gonna check the charity site before giving, so thanks again. Yes it is a problem but are there more worthy organizations? Yes a good film to bring notice to crimes. That is the great contribution IC had done.

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