Anyone who has a Facebook account will doubtless have noticed the flutter of a call to activism to stop and bring to justice a man named Joseph Kony, a leader of the Ugandan Lord’s Resistance Army, a call propagated via a moving 30-minute video. Kony is accused of rape, murder, and all other manner of atrocities, thus making him a prime candidate for being ousted and called to justice.
I have absolutely no issue with people being active, locally or internationally. My problem with this situation is (among other things to follow) this: Invisible Children, the organization responsible for the video, has had its legitimacy challenged, questioning where (and how much) the money goes.
Also, the legitimacy of the campaign in general can be questioned. This aired on NPR on March 8, 2012, fact checking and discussing the video. It brought up very good points about Kony not being in Uganda anymore, how do we choose which causes to support and how do we gain momentum for them, etc. Before going crazy about a Facebook viral video, read/listen to this. At least consider what is said.
And now, my biggest issue. Again, I want to clarify that international activism is not bad. I applaud it wholeheartedly. What disturbs me, however, is that so many people on Facebook who are inviting me to join, paying $30 for a kit, etc. have never lifted a finger to act locally. To my way of thinking, buying into a cause you can’t be 100% sure about BEFORE you do anything to serve your local area is like a parent buying all the food for another family while letting his own children starve. It is backwards.
Coming from the local perspective of Utah, there is so much to do! Our wild lands are CONSTANTLY under attack by private developers (or friends of private developers, i.e. governmental heads), oil companies, nuclear waste companies, and many other places/companies. In recent months Occupy Salt Lake City was under full swing. I don’t know anyone who went down to see what it was all about, even just to seek answers. People did nothing. University tuition rates are on the rise year after year. Do we do anything to hold onto the dream of public education? No. Instead, we pay $30 to a risky overseas cause that has far-reaching political significance that we as foreigners to that part of the world cannot begin to understand.
That is my beef. We are an apathetic generation so to a degree it is nice to see unification over some cause. I simply feel it is incredibly irresponsible to ignore home in favor of something we cannot see or fully understand. I love the bumper sticker, “Think globally, act locally.” It really says it all. You simply cannot change the world by ignoring the home front. Ignoring home seems a recipe for collapse.