I’m amazed by the perfect social media storm created by #KONY2012 designed to spotlight Joseph Kony and the tragedy of child soldiers. I will use 28 screen-captured pix from #KONY2012 that I found illustrative to highlight the documentary’s strength, weakness, and intended / unintended consequences.
It is indisputable that Joseph Kony is now a famous/infamous man known to the world especially the youth that supported #KONY2012. Does it make it easier to capture Kony? Or will this fame actually make Kony harder to be found? I don’t know. Extending a blunt observation made by Malcolm Gladwell in his 2011 speech, even with all the military resources and technologies of the United States, it still took the CIA over 10 years to find Osama bin Laden.
To me, one of the most important achievement of #KONY2012 is to bring the tragic problem of child soldiers up front to people’s and politicians’ minds. At the same time, the oversimplifications also fail in important ways which I will talk about later.
I first learned about child soldiers in 2008 from Romeo Dallaire (his actions saved the lives of ~32,000 people in the 1994 Rwandan Genocide where an estimated 800,000 people were murdered) at Engineers Without Border in Calgary – Are all humans – Humans? Here is a video clip of Dallaire talking about his battle to end child soldiers in Nov 2010.
Note: Dallaire is the founder of the Child Soldiers Initiative, a project aimed at eradicating the use of child soldiers (see the team bios), and author of “They Fight Like Soldiers, They Die Like Children: The Global Quest to Eradicate the Use of Child Soldiers“.
Another clips of talking about Child Soldiers, the special tragedy of girl child soldiers, Responsibility to Protect doctrine.
Watch the insightful and chilling TVO interview “Former child soldier Ishmael Beah recounts his past” [note: Ishmael also has written “A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier“, borrow it and have a read.]
I have serious reservation with Disney-fying or Pixar-fying complex and nuanced real world problems with Read the rest of this entry »