Thursday, March 8, 2012

To those who would fix the world

I just read these comments on Reddit, forwarded to me by our good friend Atticus:

Have I supported IC with my money and time over several years? Yes.  Do I have an IC inspired tattoo?  Yes.  Is IC the only organization I give to because they have cool videos and I have no heart or brain?  No.

As I read the comments above I wanted to be upset, but I couldn't been.  Maybe it is because I am sleep deprived or maybe I'm just tired of the joke.  People were upset that IC doesn't give all their money to developing Northern Uganda.  I think that simply shows that they, like most everyone else, responds to these sort of things in the usual "fly-by media" way, as old Rush would say.  They see a video, look up their financial stats and criticize them for being selfish.  Is a group that sends people all over the country going to do so without paying for a ton of airline tickets, probably not.  The purpose of Invisible children is not solely to develop Uganda.  The primary purpose of IC is to get Americans interested and involved.  The very fact that people are talking about the new Kony video, on both sides of the isle, is proof that they have been successful.  If they made documentaries that were not hip and cool with sweet music and moving cinematography would our generation watch?  Probably not.  I think that it is interesting that we are a culture that demands to be entertained to pay attention and then criticizes those who understand that fact.  It is very difficult to send a message these days without wrapping it in an artsy-cool veneer.  And like most good veneers, that stuff is expensive.

I am also confused that though I saw a lot of criticism from "the experts" that this not only is a bad way to generate attention for N. Uganda but is not a long term solution to the problem.  Firstly, they did generate a lot of interest in a segment of the population that has a history of not caring meaningful about much of anything.  Would a significant part of the population be talking about the heinous crimes being committed by the LRA if not for IC, I doubt it.  I think it is interesting that the comments were so negative towards IC when they are merely feeding the appetites of the times.  They understand that we are more interested in Snookie and the spoilers on our favorite tv show than on children being abducted and forced to mutilate one another.  They understand that if something doesn't sparkle that the public attention will shift without notice. I think that these commentarians should be more upset at the apathetic decadence of our culture than a group that is attempting to do some good by leveraging said culture.  Secondly, do I agree that US troops helping national soldiers capture Joseph Kony is the cure for the turmoil in central Africa?  No.  I think very few people are as naive as that.  I don't think that IC is trying to say anything of that nature.  They saw something that needed fixed and actually did something about it.  Are a lot of issues in Africa a direct consequence of western imperialism?  Absolutely.  Does that mean we should not help African nations?  I doubt it.  Would the US go to Uganda if there was no oil there?  Hard to say but probably not.  Will Uganda profit from the infrastructure and work provided by oil exploitation?  Yes. I totally agree that it would be so much better for indigenous corporations to extract the oil and give equal shares of the profits to all those living in Uganda.  Maybe the CEO would work for the same wages as the new hires?  Our world is horribly flawed but we can use the tools available to try and not only improve the world but also to try and improve the tools that we attempt to use.  I did not see any offer for a better solution to the issues of Central Africa, which is probably good because if you thought you could spell out the fix for Africa in a post on Reddit you would be wrong.  I guess we could propose that someone cure greed, that would probably do it.

Maybe the cynical voices on the webs are taking the time from their busy, humanitarian lives to post a comment about how IC is doing it wrong.  They probably don't suggest a better solution because they have to get back to working on this better solution.  Maybe.  I would guess that many of them sit around and post on Reddit, and then go back to their decadent lives fueling the very global inequalities they criticize others for trying to fix with their consumerism and decadence.  I could be wrong here.  But I see a lot of people who feel like they can fix the world because of what they read on the Huffington Post but sit at their home, complaining about corporate greed while they ignore the 90% of humanity that is poorer than they are.

I want to address comparing the LRA's attrocities to Guantanamo Bay but it makes my head want to explode.

I have made and will continue to make posts about old motorcycles because I want to empower people to have a problem that they overcome with their own too hands instead of paying someone else to do it.  Motorcycles are an easy way that is within the grasp of many Americans to develop some of the chutzpah that our culture has, for the most part lost.  I believe that that same attitude should be applied to world issues.  If you see something wrong in your community or your world you should get up and do something about it.  If you see evidence that kids are being abused in your community you should not mind your own business, you should do something about it.  If you see that children are being mutilated, forced to commit atrocities, and that girls are being kept as slaves to be continually gang raped by the masses of brain washed killing zombies around them, you should probably do something about it.  At least IC did that.

Oh, and here is IC's explainations of some of the key attacks that the commentarians leveled against them.

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