Joseph Kony (UPDATED)
Prior to this morning, I’ve never even heard of this name or the story behind it.
That gradually changed as the tweets started coming @ me. “Jin, check out this video. It’ll blow your mind. #stopkony”
Being that I am a curious individual by nature, it didn’t take more than three tweets for me to click on the link and watch the video. What video? If you haven’t seen it yet, it can be viewed here.
Little did I know, watching this video would set off a flood of thoughts that I have never explored. It also made me challenge myself to do some serious self evaluation.
Let me start off by saying this. I am by no means an activist by any definition. Do I care about where our society is heading and the well being of my fellow man? Absolutely. I may not be on the front lines fighting for certain universal rights and pouring my blood, sweat and tears into serving the less privileged, but I know in my heart when I feel something is right or wrong.
With that said, I was heartbroken watching the Kony video. I’m sure many of you who have seen it share the same sentiments. Then towards the end, I was inspired. Uplifted. It left me with hope. The notion that an idea can change the world. People are mobilizing. Now is the time. “Order your kit!” “Join our army!”
I was revved up, ready to sign the pledge and do my part to make sure justice was served.
We need to make sure everyone knows about Joseph Kony and what’s going on. Apparently, the issue raised about there not being enough awareness was not only accurate but the plan to change this was effective too.. Myself being a perfect case study. Kony has been committing all these atrocities and I did not even know of the existence of this individual. Until today.
Then almost like a confirmation, as I was brainstorming the idea of putting together an Invisible Children track, the tweets started coming @ me again. “Jin, you need to do a song for the Invisible Children! #stopkony”
If this was to be done, I had to make sure I knew as much as I could about what I was supporting so I started looking up as much info as I could online regarding the Invisible Children organization. That’s when things started to get complicated and I had to really assess what it was I was about to do…
Aside from the history of how the organization came to be, I did come across a few pieces that questioned the agenda of not only Invisible Children but organizations of such in general. In the various blogs and articles, the one common point that struck a cord with me was, “Have you ever even been to Uganda? Do you know from a firsthand perspective exactly what’s happening out there? Do you know precisely where and how much of your donations are going to those in need of assistance?”
In the midst of my eagerness to contribute to the cause, these very practical and real questions did slip my mind.
There was one article that said, “Look deeper.. don’t be fooled by sensational editing.” That definitely made me check myself, cause I know as I was watching the video, I was thinking, “This film is amazing.”
For the record, I am not saying that Invisible Children are what these writers are accusing them to be. In fact, I hope in writing about this personal experience of mine, it creates even more awareness for their movement and what they do.
I only hope to challenge myself and those of you out there who may be in the same boat as me to make sure our decisions and thoughts are consciously our own. You know that old saying our parents use to use when we were kids? “Well, if everyone else jumped off a bridge..” It still applies.
The other thing that’s been on my mind is, yes it’s great to be concerned with what’s going on in the world but to make sure we realize that this is not only happening in one part of the world. What Invisible Children aims to do for the suffering in Uganda is truly inspiring.. but what about the Invisible Children of China who get kidnapped everyday and limbs amputated to become street beggars.. or the young boys and girls in the Phillipines who are constantly forced into the sex labor trade. That’s just to name a few..
Aside from that, I also have to be honest with myself in regards to my lack of knowledge regarding foreign policy and how the gov’t plays a role in the grand scheme of things.
With all this reflection and contemplation, it forced me to take a step back and reconsider my initial idea to write/record an Invisible Children inspired song.
The last thing I wanted to come across as was an opportunist.
Then I thought to myself, if I let my fear of how I could potentially be viewed hinder my decision to take action, what does that ultimately say about my own character? How strong do I hold to my personal beliefs?
I’m praying about it. Seeking peace. I ask that you all keep me in your prayers as well.
Then again, if it’s in God’s will it’s already done. It’s just a matter of how it unfolds.
For what it’s worth, the track that I’m planning on using has been on loop the whole time I’ve been writing this blog.
A friend on twitter sent me this official response from IC. Glad to have some light shed on things.