I have read several blogs posting criticisms of Invisible Children and their current campaign to raise awareness about Joseph Kony and the children being forced to fight his war. Joseph Kony is from Uganda and has abducted nearly 70,000 children and forced them to kill. This week Invisible Children launched a campaign which has gone viral. The whole thing centers around a 27 minute documentary which encourages folks to make Kony famous. The idea being, if you know who Joseph Kony is then you cannot ignore him. This campaign has taken some criticism today and I felt the need to respond.
So, I did what I never do...I commented on someone’s FB post. Here is what I said,
"It is interesting to me how quick we are to find fault with an innovative idea focused on a grave injustice. There is no single bullet to end these global tragedies; instead of being quick to push back we should celebrate the courage it takes to step out, to try. These are massive problems; they require lots of innovation and creativity to solve them. No one idea is going to bring an end to global poverty or the water crisis or children being used as soldiers. We solve these issues by coming together and celebrating a diverse group of ideas. The truth is, if it wasn’t for IC and their innovative idea we wouldn't be talking about Joseph Kony or the African children held in his grip."
Now for the rest of my thoughts on the subject:
I don’t know why we tend to accept the push back and its message over the innovative, potentially controversial idea. Do we know any more about these authors than we do about IC? Why should we believe the things they write over the things written by IC? In my humble opinion this is not helpful and frankly it makes us (Christians) appear to a watchful world as..well..un-Christian.
Here are some things all the push back authors agree on:
1. Non of them have a solution to this problem.
2. Most of them have articulated that they would rather do nothing than do the wrong thing.
3. All of them agree Joseph Kony is a really bad guy.
4. All of them agree children are being abducted and forced to kill
5. Non of them deny IC has saved kids lives.
I am not saying IC is perfect. I have no direct knowledge of their business practices, but I do believe they are trying to make a difference.
The bottom line for me is this, if you don’t like what IC is doing then don’t support them, but don’t tear them down. If Invisible Children is successful at saving even one child from being forced to kill then they have earned a seat at the table, a voice in the conversation my admiration.
Consider watching the video and making your own decision.