Saturday, 21 April 2012

"Donate a few dollars and get the action kit for free"

Prompted by Teju Cole's impressive article on what he has called "The White Saviour Industrial Complex", (click on the title to read it - it is excellent), I watched he video he referred to, "Kony 2012" by the "Invisible Children" campaign.
For something that has gone "viral", the movie is quite long - half an hour! The campaigner's commitment and endurance are impressive and moving, so I am a bit sorry to say I really don't like their movie. I disapprove of the shmaltz, the sentimentality it oozes, with its smoochy music when Luis Moreno Ocampo from the International Criminal Court speaks - the violins say, "he'll fix it". So much that is said in the movie is so simplistic - and at the same time, so confusing. For example, it suggests that dispatching the US army is a good way to end civil wars in faraway countries - I am not sure there is much historical evidence for that.
What I find really difficult to accept is that the author uses his own little son (I didn't get the age - I'd say about 4 years) to promote the Kony2012 campaign. Granted, this is a much milder form of instrumentalising children than forcing them to join the Lord Resistance Army. And maybe the little lad has been really keen and happy to tell the world they must support his dad's campaign to catch that Ugandan killer who forces children to kill their parents. But I can't help feeling very, very uncomfortable about grown-ups using children for politics. On top of everything that Teju Cole has pointed out in his comments.
Read Teju Cole's article. I think it contains more valuable advice for people who want to change the world than the Kony2012 movie.