When will promoting peace instead of fighting war become the cool thing to do?
Tonight is “the night” for Invisible Children’s awareness campaign for Kony 2012 and I wonder how many people will be following suit? The video is a phenomenal example of viral marketing (88 million plus views on youtube.com as of today); it is admirable that the actions of Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army are now exposed and have touched such a huge audience. I’m thrilled to no longer be ignorant of this brutal reality that has affected so many people.
However, I know we need to go about it another way.
When I saw the video in its first week of release, I was bothered with the focus of the campaign and the false portrayal of Ugandans needing Americans to come save them (Can I get Ron Paul to chime in here? This is a sad theme throughout American history and to this day in our international relations). I went so far as to test reactions by wearing a Che’ Guevara sweater from the 1950’s or 60’s. How do people relate to a cool looking image of a rebel’s face? Well, many people won’t take the time to research history if they don’t already know it and if someone were willing to tell them something, why would they not trust the source? Guevara’s outlook at the time of the Cuban Revolution could easily be regarded as honorable in comparison to the collaborations between the United States and Batista. But, look at the deprivation of the Cuban people today that resulted from Guevara and Castro’s revolution. All of the energy in our history of war is directed towards the leaders of the crimes.
Can we please focus on helping the children and victims?
Can we direct our energy towards promoting peace instead of “hunting” and “fighting war?” How long have we been in the War on Terrorism?
As Mother Teresa said, “invite me to a peace rally not an anti-war rally.”
If we promote Kony, then we promote social conditions in Africa that actually prevent the progress we seek.
If we promote helping the people that need to be saved and healed from the psychological damage these wars inflict, then that is what our energy fuels. I’m not talking about promoting images of pain and suffering; although that is what sells and motivates people and why this video is such a success. I’m talking about visualizing the victims returning home, being welcomed and understood, and seeing them through to a healthy transition into a respectful and joyful life. It is the way we should think. The power of thought and visualization ring so true in conflicts such as this. What do you think would be the outcome if everyone put as much thought into this way of thinking instead of plastering an image of a haunting face to bring awareness to a man that doesn’t deserve fame?
I heard two interviews with Ugandan’s featured on NPR’s Here & Now that connect us to their perspective, instead of relying on the skewed campaign of Invisible Children:
Here & Now: March 19th A Ugandan Weighs In On Kony 2012 Popularity
Here & Now: April 19th Former Kony Child Soldier Tells Her Story:
Grace Akallo, a survivor of the LRA, explained to NPR’s Robin Young:
“I want Joseph Kony to be captured, I want him to disappear, but at the same time, if all the resources are directed towards him, then what about the people who suffered under him — what kind of justice are they getting?” she said. “Even if we capture Kony today… is that the end of everything? After tomorrow, what is the next step?”
She is speaking directly to my heart.
Let’s redirect our focus.
Lift people up instead of this monotonous cycle of war against evil. If it weren’t for the world’s governments and religious sectors, I would wonder why this has this not been learned, but that is a book in itself. The lesson is that the line of enemies doesn’t get shorter as the bad guys are captured.
Promote peace if that is what you want.
XO, The Heart Department
Listening to: Rafter ~ Paper