Joseph Kony 2012: It's fine to 'Stop Kony' and the LRA. But Learn to Respect Africans.
It is a powerful example of how social media, art and activism can merge to mobilize privileged people into action and how open-minded Americans want a safer, fairer, and more prosperous world.
I appreciate their role. They are reaching a core constituency -- many of whom have never thought about these issues before -- and getting them to care about Africa. But caring is no longer enough.
Of course Joseph Kony should be captured. But this approach is flawed. The video shows only a Western audience, without any reference to African partners or leaders. They are disempowering and undermining the role of Africans. They failed to recognize the role of individuals like Betty Bigombe, a long-time Ugandan activist, or seek partnerships with African organizations for the launch, such as Ushahidi or Africans Act for Africa.
Invisible Children and other Africa-focused advocacy organizations should deliver more sophisticated, nuanced, and respectful narratives that recognize capturing Kony is a collective responsibility and that Africans must play the primary role in bringing peace to the region.
Calling for the use of the latest technology, tools, and organizing tactics to attract millions of people who have never heard of Kony before (as they say, 99 percent of the world) into action is exciting. But for Africa’s sake, it is no longer enough.