Sunday, March 11, 2012

Self serving comments about other self serving people

I tend to dislike awareness campaigns, the "I wear a bracelet because I know and I care" type stuff. It seems fairly self important and meaningless. What kind of idiot would I be if I walked around San Diego with a homelessness awareness bracelet and went to college groups talking about the issue rather than doing something practical for the people on the street. I found out today a friend of mine, one I lost track of years ago, finally died. I don't know if he died on the street, but I know he spent a lot of the last ten years there. A lot of us tried to help him over the years, but it seems his demons stayed with him longer than some of us who loved him yet couldn't figure out what to do. I was always sad I didn't know how to help him - sorry M.

I think Kony 2012 is different. Invisible Children isn't a perfect organization, but I have a hard time criticizing them when they do stuff no one else does. Are they potentially self important white guys who are trying to save Africa? Maybe, but that doesn't mean they are like all the others who have tried. I'd much rather have their track record than the UN's, that 1 Million T-Shirts guy, or a whole host of others who've had the good sense to stay out of the spotlight. In reality, there isn't that much you or me can do to stop Kony, and yes he should be stopped, regardless of where he's now operating or how much he's scaled back his actions. Almost the only thing we can do is get vocal, tell others, and make a noise our politicians can't ignore. Though there are no guarantees, the U.S. staying involved in the hunt for Kony is more likely to be productive than if we walk away, something we've done a lot of in the past. It might all turn out horribly, but it's not like the LRA isn't abducting, killing, raping, and destroying lives right now, so yeah, doing something might be better than doing nothing... at least for those yet to be abused and destroyed.

This chick has made a popular argument against what I just said, but she doesn't fairly represent the movie, IC, or the reality on the ground. LRA is a northern Ugandan issue, he never touched the south, and most all of his impact was in the Acholi tribe. So yeah, he isn't that big of a deal right now for a lot of people in Uganda, then again, there were a lot of people in Uganda that never cared too much about him or what he was doing.

The only real issue I have with Kony 2012 is that it might create the impression stopping Kony will fix everything, it wont. He's just one of many wicked little men doing everything he can to destroy lives and torment good people in East Africa, and for that matter around the world. Regardless of what happens to him, there are a lot of people who can use your prayers and actions, some of them probably won't be helped, but some of them will - I've seen them, walked with them, talked and cried with them, and shared their food. The "white man" can't save Africa, but brothers and sisters can help brothers and sisters regardless their history or the color of their skin.

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