I may have TOTALLY missed the boat on the whole #Kony2012/Jason Russell arrest, but I can’t shake it at all.
I have been a critic AND supporter of Invisible Children since 2009 (leading up to their ‘The Rescue’ campaign). I have to write this as both personalities are crucial to my view of I.C.
On one hand, the three co-founders of Invisible Children are brave, bold, and let’s be honest… pretty hip. For better or worse they have brought an oddly quiet injustice to the absolute forefront of Western society (aka social media).
To all the haters, Invisible Children is not a scam. Their finances match their mission statement. They make movies, they run an organization, and they help people on the ground; but mostly, they make movies. There is nothing hidden about that, and their willingness to share those financial statements shows that they are not ashamed of it. Educating the uninformed is an important part of charity work. THAT is what Invisible Children’s main focus seems to be.
On the other hand, I am a little put off by the same things that some Africans have criticized about the organization; the over-simplification of the situation, the “savior complex” of the white man, and overall (as Kagumire says) HOW they have told the story of Africans.
They are deep issues that cannot be fully examined in a blog post; and I am not about to tell older, wiser people how to run their very successful charity. So I will close with this…
I questioned and criticized Invisible Children’s whining and temper tantrum-like end to ‘The Rescue;’ and immediately after I recorded and watched their performance on Oprah I signed up to be a monthly donor for their TRI campaign and was a part of it for a year and a half before my debit card expired. I still receive email and letter updates; Invisible Children intrigues me. It is influential and not entirely bad; then again I think it could be a lot better.
So if you believe in their mission statement, to educate and to activate through the use of social media, be my guest. I won’t stop you. But if you want the nitty-gritty, the down low, the true story on a catastrophic war, then you need to involve yourself deeply. Scour the internet for interviews, articles, and stories of people who LIVE that life, not people who visited, walked, talked, and flew back to their families, beds, and plush American lives. Read books. Visit yourself. Heck, consider MOVING there… permanently! Don’t just throw a couple bucks at the first person to tell you about the problem.