By Ruth Limkin
(This is a follow up post to this morning’s article).
Between Kony 2012, International Women’s Day and the new Ipad, I thought the internet might implode today. Happily it didn’t. I also thought I was possibly about to become ‘writer much hated’ when I posted this morning about Kony 2012. Happily, that doesn’t seem to have happened either (unless you’re just ignoring me now).
I had a lot of questions about Kony 2012, and the absence of answers was a great discomfort.
I care passionately about helping the poor, but I care even more passionately about being wise in the way we help. The bottom line is that no matter how much we care, under-informed action can end up harming the most vulnerable.
Acknowledging that misguided action can harm isn’t negative – it’s one of the most loving and merciful things we can do. Otherwise, you see situations like this which I linked to earlier – where children end up being killed or maimed from explosive devices, because the humanitarian packs distributed by air were the same colour and same size as the bombs that scattered the landscape.
It’s vital that aid and advocacy come from well-researched positions, which partner with local communities wherever possible.
If we’re going to mobilise a global voice, at the very least, let us know that you have more to your strategy than good storytelling.
That’s why I was so pleased to read this response from Invisible Children to the questions they are getting, and most importantly, why I was particularly thrilled to read this research report which they linked to.
On page 12, it reads, “The deployment, and the substantial international press it received, has given a boost of momentum to regional counter-LRA efforts plagued by lack of cooperation and waning commitment from the governments of Uganda, CAR, Congo, and South Sudan. It has also spurred the African Union (AU) and UN to redouble their efforts to address the cross-border threat posed by the LRA.”
That’s good news. Actually, that’s really great news. Regional cooperation is the only thing that will work in the end. Let’s see it continue and Stop Kony.
Let’s also use this moment of awareness to motivate us to do more than just retweet or share something on Facebook. Let’s do more than hang up posters on one night of the year for one (very noble) cause. Let’s use it reorganise our lifestyle to one of wise and caring action. After all, self-centredness or ambivilence will never stop Kony, and it will certainly never change the world.