Helping and Hurting and Going Viral.

I should probably leave this alone, but every time that Kony 2012 video gets posted somewhere all these words rush into my head and maybe if I write them down they’ll get out and leave room for words like my shopping list or my nephew’s birthday. I should say right here that I distrust Jason Russell, who made the video in question, and that has shaped my view of his work. One small reason for this is his statement to the NY Times that the Academy is considering his You Tube video for an Academy Award, when it isn’t eligible. It may seem like a small point, but it indicates a willingness to shape the truth, and in a “documentarian” that is very dangerous.

That being said, it isn’t my concern with the spread of this film.

We have to remember two things when dealing with Africa:

  1. African politics is never clear cut, never one sided and always dates back far further than our collective memories choose to dredge.
  2. There are very few examples in which “raising Western awareness” of a specific situation in Africa hasn’t served to make said situation far worse.

Way back in the sixteen and seventeen hundreds, Europeans would make alliances with African chieftains. The chieftains would go to war against their enemies, take prisoners and sell those prisoners to their European allies. Said prisoners ended up in the slave markets across Europe and the Americas. It was so common that in 1700, Samuel Sewall cited it in his famous abolitionist leaflet.

While I am in no way implying that Invisible Children is involved in the slave trade, in singling Joseph Kony out as the only bad guy in the region, they are making alliances with a lot of other really bad guys who also use child soldiers. (Here’s another link on that) Raising the awareness of one man in a continent being torn apart by dozens of men like him, does not, in fact, raise awareness; instead it creates tunnel vision, which is a dangerous form of blindness.

Finally, as Christians we shouldn’t be band wagon hoppers. The Lord calls us to love the Universal visible Church and if we can help other believers in need, we should do that all the time, not just because someone makes a really good video that tugs at our heart strings. We should always be in the business of supporting the work of local church organizations, like Watoto, or denominational organizations. When someone raises our awareness of a single situation somewhere, we should say with confidence, “I am so glad to know that the church is at work in that location, preaching the gospel into that situation.”

It is my sincerest hope that this post does not offend, but if it does, PLEASE email me and I will be happy to discuss this further and make corrections if they are needed.

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About Coralie

After 11 years of infertility, I am now a mother to three, a wife of a Presbyterian (ARP) preacher and a struggling homemaker. Welcome to my little corner of the net. Kick off your shoes, put your feet up and join the conversation. View all posts by Coralie

4 responses to “Helping and Hurting and Going Viral.

  • suzanne

    LIKE.* A Lot.

    *I’d “like” it but then I’d have to create a WordPress account that might 30 seconds of my valuable time. 🙂

  • Sharon

    yeah, i’m going to have disagree coralie. obviously, i like IC and what they do and so i am going to disagree. so a couple things, “preaching the gospel” in this situation isnt the WORD, its the DEED. the deed being, stop the LRA.
    also, we dont know for sure if the quote that made you dislike russell is taken out of context or not, happens all the time in news stories. but also, his entire credibility shouldnt be hinged on that statement, you know.
    and finally, the band wagon thing was a bit much, just because you reshare a video doesnt mean you are all of the sudden getting into something you saw that day. i am sure many people that are forwarding that video have supported IC financially for years and/or, in our case, have been praying and hoping that Kony is brought to justice.

  • Sharon

    just re read my comment and i think it was a little harsh! it was not intended to be that way! sorry if it came across like that. glad you have an opinion either way-awareness is awareness! love ya!

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