Stop with Kony

By Justin Colman

A few weeks ago, I was pulling out my hair, nauseated by the trend that was known as “Linsanity.” Jeremy Lin was mentioned on nearly every TV station, not just ESPN. But when Linsanity was dying down, I thought to myself, maybe for once, the madness will stop. Finally, we could move on and be normal.

But then, just a few days ago, I read this: “If you have time, check out this video. Together we can spread the word and stop Kony.”

This wasn’t just one time I read this. I kept getting this message on Facebook and  Twitter and I’m sure that if I used my Google + account, I would have read about it on there, too.

People seem to be affixed to this trend of stopping Joseph Kony, a Ugandan military figure that has been out of the scene for about seven years and want someone to stop him.

The idea Invisible Children has is that if you send this message to enough of your friends on Facebook, Twitter and other social networking websites, people will then form a social network armada that will raise awareness to support arresting a guy they just heard about for the very first time.

And let me just say that Invisible Children has the right idea. What better way to get a man arrested for his crimes against humanity than to spread the message to everyone on your social networking list, but not your local representative? After all, it’s not like the local representatives talk to the appropriate people or anything.

Now I get that everyone wants the world to be free of military dictators, dictators and dictators who call themselves presidents. But I haven’t even begged this question yet: how exactly would we plan to take action?

I’m sure there are a lot of people who believe that the U.S. should go in and stop Kony. After all, it’s been far too long since we have policed another country, looking for one guy. It’s not like we just ended a failed war in Iraq, sent out an aerial strike on Tripoli, or are planning to pull out of Afghanistan.

Wait, I’ve got an idea. How about a massive, collective group of us pack up our bags, dress up in tattered, beat up clothing, purchase a flight to Uganda and take up the streets of Uganda? We can form some kind of movement that expresses how we feel opposed to this military figure, we just heard of, for terrorizing the country.

I’m sure that the Ugandan government, which doesn’t infringe on people’s freedom of speech or anything, would be just as passive as our law enforcement has been in taking action against us. Because I’m sure that they haven’t been trying to capture him or anything.

Speaking of governments taking action against people, whatever happened to that whole “stop al-Assad” movement? You know, the Syrian leader who has sent out his country’s military to slaughter its own people? Ah whatever, I guess that did not really get popular with us because the user-posted videos on YouTube that have shown the Syrian military shooting people, civilians carrying their blood-drenched countrymen or women, and hiding, evading from gunfire, didn’t have a high-quality picture, and didn’t have a guy that sounded hipster enough. Maybe next time those Syrians should spend their thousands of dollars on making a high-budget film.

And let’s talk about these friendly chaps that made this 30-minute video. First off, why is this film in such high quality? Couldn’t they have used the money spent on high-quality picture to support the people struggling in Uganda? Give them an opportunity to lift their lives? Apparently that would make too much sense.

Second, if you are the head of a non-profit group, is an image of the founders of the group holding onto guns and a bazooka and posing with Ugandan soldiers equipped with guns something that you want people to associate you with?

I’m not sure about you, but when I think of a non-profit organization, I definitely imagine seeing the founders posing with guns, the things that certainly did not create this entire mess, and definitely not engaging with the people in need of help, providing them with clothing and food.

Joking aside, I’m sure that no more than three percent of the people that go to Oakland University, as a student, actually knew about Joseph Kony before Invisible Children released their video. I’m sure that what most people thought, initially when they first heard of the name, “Kony,” was not a military figure in Uganda. I’m sure that they were thinking, “oh man, I could sure go for some coneys right now.”

People seem to be quick to jump onto a trend or fad when the message is rapidly spread about through Facebook or Twitter. Maybe a little bit too quick, because they don’t know the entire background of the war Kony has waged against the Ugandan government. But that is not the fault of the people who mindlessly hopped on board this trend. No, what they’re at fault for is something much worse.

This shady PR stunt has shown how quick people are to spread a one-sided message and not take into account the other side of the story, or God forbid, do research on the conflict. A few weeks will go by and this whole fad will dissipate, only for a new fad for people to hop on without researching information. Once that happens, you can be sure to find me nauseated and pulling out my hair, muttering the words “stop this fad, stop this fad, stop this fad.”