Chances are, if you’ve logged onto Facebook or Twitter in the past 24 hours, you’ve seen a lot of your friends posting about something called KONY 2012. No, it’s not an upcoming music festival; it is a documentary exposing the grotesque war crimes committed by Joseph Kony, an African warlord. Kony is a Ugandan leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, a guerilla group that has tormented several African nations for the past 20 years. They are responsible for the enslavement of over 60,000 children, often forcing them to fight against their own families/neighbors. It's stomach-churning, awful stuff. The International Criminal Court indicted Kony in 2005 for war crimes, but he has evaded capture since. The intentions of the film are to raise Kony's profile via social media and public awareness for the purpose of bringing him to justice. They suggest you purchase their Action Kit priced at $30 on Amazon. This is where we pump the brakes and ask everyone to think critically for a second before blindly supporting any cause.
Before you donate your entire paycheck to any geopolitical cause, you might want to do some homework. Invisible Children Inc., the non-profit organization, that created Kony 2012 has some questions circulating about its legitimacy. First off, IC admits that only 31% of all donations actually go towards helping others. Where is all the money going? The three leaders of the organization wrote off over $2 million in travel and filmmaking expenses in the last year alone. This makes you wonder whether these three are more interested in saving the Ugandan people, or promoting their own filmmaking careers. Similarly, here's a photo making the rounds of the Invisible Children founders pictured with the Sudan People’s Liberation Army:
For more information on Invisible Children Inc., check out The Daily What's excellent post on the subject. Do a little critical reading here, here, here, and here and make a judgement yourself. UPDATE 2:15 AM Read Invisible Children's response to the concerns here. We hate war and genocide as much as anyone, we're just saying do some research before you blindly start promoting a video on your Facebook and making blind donations without knowing entirely where that money's going to. And you can stop sending us the video now.