While I have sympathy with the position of Uganda that the narrative arc doesn’t encompass the full story of Uganda or Africa and that problems are oversimplified, I am impatient as well. Kony is real. He is still out there. He is a war criminal wanted by the international community. And if it’s just about white (literally) knights, what about the need for aid for victims of the current drought in Africa?
These arguments smack of the impatience expressed by the elite that the Occupy Movement was disorganized and lacked focus; they, too, missed (or dismissed) the point that many people were motivated to use themselves to express their impatience with a society that they saw as ignoring what they would consider to be the real issues of the day – injustice, pollution and corporate greed.
Stopping Kony is the right thing to do, as Matt Gurney says on Q. Teddy Ruge asks an important question about advocacy in a Web 2.0 world: Are we looking at the people we are purporting to support our partners in this mission or are we looking at them as victims and (my words) the ‘little people’.
The Three Little Pigs advert is a thoughtful example of how modern media typecasts in its commentary. The pigs go from being victims to being perpetrators as everyone tries to figure out the story.
Last week Kim Denstedt posted about Kony2012 as well, and I made this comment:
“Kony2012 is indeed an interesting example of smart mobs and your question of how smart they are is a great one. The ease of affiliating in a Web 2.0 world is tempered by the concomitant ease of researching the validity of claims being made by an organization like Invisible Children. We can go to the organization's website and check out their audited statements. We can go to the International Court's website and read the source material for ourselves and I did both those things.
Add to that the increasingly networked and multicultural nature of our world; for me, the video played out against a backdrop of knowledge about child soldiers who have immigrated to Winnipeg, where my sister got to know them. The world we live in, with its diversity of experiences and ease of access to information, makes us both more skeptical and more readily moved to action and affiliation.”
Using Langman’s analysis, I would say that my meditations on Kony2012 are framed by the four factors provided: the information, my receptiveness, the ability to watch and reflect on the information and links to others with similar views and concerns. Just as importantly, they are informed by my own transliteracy and ability to access the different media – video, Google, print, podcast. Without those skills, I would not be able to manage my access and education on the issue.