You have probably seen this video already but we wanted to post it here to show our support. In the past few hours, there has been a lot of criticism towards the video and the organization that made it, Invisible Children. Here are some of the most common critiques along with why we believe they are unfounded:
–The video won’t accomplish anything- This is where we disagree the most. Considering the fact that it’s been watched over 30 million times in the past 48 hours, it has already accomplished a lot. Raising awareness and making people care about something that doesn’t affect them directly is huge. Too often have human rights abuses gone unchallenged because people didn’t know about them or didn’t care enough to do something. People have an incredible amount of power when they unite for a cause, and it’s about time we did. Saying “It won’t make a difference” is just taking the easy way out.
– The US shouldn’t go into another war – We agree. However that is not what the video is advocating. Invisible Children believes in a peaceful resolution of this conflict. The KONY 2012 campaign is calling for the deployment of U.S. advisors and the provision of intelligence that can help bring Kony to justice. It also calls for increased diplomacy to hold regional governments accountable to their basic responsibilities to protect civilians from this kind of brutal violence. Here is the letter they sent to President Obama after releasing the video.
– Killing Kony will not make a difference – Who said anything about killing him? The ultimate goal is to capture him and have him tried by the International Criminal Court for human rights abuses. And yes, a new warlord might take his spot once he is gone, but is that reason enough to justify doing nothing? Of course not.
– Kony isn’t even in Uganda anymore and the LRA hasn’t operated there for years – The video clearly states that Kony has left the country. However the LRA is still active in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, and South Sudan. Invisible’s Children’s mission is to stop the LRA, no matter where they are.
–Invisible Children has shady financials and spends too much on video making and travel – The organization is independently audited every year. Their 2/4 star rating on Charity Navigator is only due to the fact that they do not currently have 5 board members, they have 4. All their financials are disclosed on their website. The fact that they are a media-based organization should not be held against them. After all, this video is the reason why this conversation is even happening. Their methods are clearly working. It is true that out of every dollar donated, 80 cents goes to their African programs and that for some other organizations this number is higher. However, those 20 cents are used to make videos like this one that make the number of donations skyrocket, which ultimately means more funds for the charity initiatives. We think that is money well-spent.
You should also check out the organization’s “critiques” page where they respond to these and other questions in a clear, reasonable way.
Anyway, the video and the solutions it proposes are definitely not perfect, but we believe that they are a giant step in the right direction and we applaud Invisible Children for their hard work and dedication.