Archive for UNICEF

The Bandwagon & Activism | Kony 2012

Posted in Discussion Question, Miscellaneous, News, Videos, Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 13, 2012 by chencenter

Generally, it is hard to get under my skin.  And everyone is entitled to their own opinions – but here lately the Kony 2012 campaign has “come under fire” from allegations of financial misappropriations to being a pawn in as someone (on our Facebook) commented, “Yet another of Obama’s wars.”

If you happened to read our last article urging you to watch the short film- I hope you did.  If you didn’t, it’s your prerogative.

However, recent internet postings and discussions lead me to write this last piece on Kony 2012.

Einstein said:

“Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former”
Sure– if you or anyone blindly leaps into something without reading or trying to understand their motivation or objectives for doing so, you might not be the wisest person.  However, this is not what the Invisible Children organization wants you to do.  They want you to understand.  It may not be obvious to many, but there are several charities that have fought for human rights in Africa (long before Kony’s Youtube Video): UNICEF, Child Soldiers International, and the International Rescue Committee to name a few.
What I’m Recognizing
Many of the people out there (surprisingly, several people that I highly respect) are either turning a blind eye, stamping a label of conspiracy on the project and/or trying to downgrade everyone’s energy for this project.  Everyone wants to be recognized for something.  Everyone wants their voice heard.  Most want to be recognized for doing something good.  I believe that if we look at this “social media movement” we see a great deal more: sympathy, empathy, love, charity, giving and sharing.  These may be “hippie” qualities, but are the most respectable qualities that exist.  The fact of the matter is that people who would not have helped, those that would never have known or never have participated, are participating because there IS “mass appeal” – which is NOT necessarily a “wrong” thing to follow! 
An Example
Let’s say you have a son.  Maybe for years you’ve loved and played the game of football.  You may want your son to experience the kind of passion and excitement that you know the game holds.  So you sit with him in front of the television and you teach him the rules and maybe he gets excited to go outdoors and play – but maybe he doesn’t.  Now maybe, just maybe, you place him on a team (with his friends and fellow classmates) and allow him to get swept up in the sport through camaraderie, team play, and good ol’ fashion fun? For many people, like myself, this was how I came to enjoy team sports – by doing, not by observing and waiting till it was my turn.
You see… to many, sports are fun.  But most like to share their experience.
The Kony 2012 campaign is giving everyone the experience of “playing for a team.”  Not that you couldn’t play for another team, but this might be the team that their friends play for.  And that’s not a bad thing, is it? 
Phoebe & Joey
Another friend of mine that I respect suggested that those of us that support this charity are doing so to make them “look good.”  But this just reminds me of the episode on the t.v. show Friends where Joey tells Phoebe that, “There is no such thing as a selfless good deed.”  I suspect Joey (not the brightest bulb in the lot) is right – because when you do something, anything really… you ultimately do it because it makes you feel good about yourself.  Let’s face it though – we are all selfish creatures… a certain level of selfishness is born into us, tying directly into our mechanism for survival on this Planet!  But let’s not automatically confuse sharing and being a “team player” with being out solely for gold stars and lollipops.
America, The Land of Incredible Wealth (& Greed)
Speaking as an American, I can say that I am extremely lucky to have the freedom, level of comfort and standard of living that I have.  Many people don’t.  Many people don’t even have running water.  We all know this and go about our daily business.  And even though we had Hollywood’s push towards activism in films like Blood Diamond and Hotel Rwanda- people cannot and will not get behind a film the same way that people will rally around a cause… rally around a (team) cause.  We, this capitalist and materialistic society – full to the brim with iPhones and iPads and innumerable, less-useful things, can spare money.  As poor as we think we are, we can always spare something.  This is just one man’s opinion.  Something to think about. 
“If you want a love message to be heard, it has to be sent out.  To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it.”
                                                                                            -Mother Teresa
We’d love to hear your thoughts. 
Feel free to comment in the box below.
*Invisible Children recently [3/12/2012] posted a video whereby CEO Ben Keesey response to many of the comments and questions that they’ve received.  It’s worth a watch, especially if you are still “On the fence.” 
Invisible Children’s Response to the Backlash
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