Kony 2012 creates emotional responses but not real change

Sarah Fulton, managing editor

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“Slactivism” is the term that the media recently invented to explain aid campaigns like Kony 2012. Instead of initiating real change, the slactivists are content to buy a few bracelets, post a Facebook status and forward a link to the video. I am all for thinking you can change the world, but Kony is not bringing real change. The large amount of social media associated with the video has lead to a bandwagon effect that will not last for two main reasons.

The first is that the video pulls at heart strings, creating an emotional response, but that’s where it stops. It makes people emotional enough to post a Facebook status, but not to do anything bigger. It lacks the crucial information that would provide for real change or information on how people should help. The video fails to give an accurate description of what life in Uganda is really like and fails to give a history of the years of violence that have occurred there.

The bandwagoners do not know that the money sent is going to fund the Ugandan Military, but reports say that Kony has not been in Uganda for years. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni is painted as one of the good guys by the video, but according to CBS New’s World Watch Museveni is one of the world’s “enduring dictators.” According to World Watch a case has been brought against Museveni in the International Criminal Court that seeks to have him charged with crimes against humanity. That is the same crime, in the same court, that Kony has been charged with.

The second reason is that Kony 2012 has become a consumer cause. To support Invisible Children, people buy bracelets and posters. In part, they are supporting Kony so they can get something new that they can look at and feel good about themselves. Capturing Kony is a complex operation that takes knowledge, education and planning. Thousands of kids buying something is not going to move world leaders. It takes true activism that cannot be supported by purchasing a $30 action kit or watching a video. To create real change, do something, do not just buy something write a letter or start a club.

It is great that teens are stepping up and trying to create change. It is wonderful that they are using social media to get the word out. However, if they want real change, they need to realize that research and dedication is required.

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