Oh, Africa. What to do, what to do?
If you haven’t seen the video about catching Kony and saving the world from the root of all evil, then you’re living under a rock.
On the moon.
There’s a video circulating about this terrible man named Joseph Kony, who kidnaps African children in the night and forces them to kill their parents and join his army…or something to that effect. It happens. It really happens. And it’s horrible.
It’s a touching video, honestly. I’m not posting it because my computer is slow and I’m ridiculously impatient, but here’s the synopsis: Privileged American white guy travels to Africa in his youth, catches a glimpse of the unfairness this world has to offer, makes a movie, raises money. People pay the slightest bit of attention–they post on facebook. Boom! Problem solved.
Uganda and the surrounding countries are far from being peaceful places. We can throw money at an organization, we can offer the support of our military to help fight one bad guy, and we can plaster our cities with “Catch Kony” posters for the next 10 years, but Africa’s problems are not going to end with the purchase of any “kit” and a call to an unconcerned congressman.
Kony’s a bad guy, to be sure; but Africa has many, many enemies. Poverty. Famine. Disease. People there are truly living day-to-day–that’s a foreign concept most of the Americans will just never, ever understand. Do we honestly think that one of those poor children on the run sleeps better at night knowing a few people across the ocean are wearing bracelets? What happens when Kony is caught? Those children will not die a violent death by his hands, but they will still live in fear. And hunger.
I don’t know about you, but if I had lived the majority of my life scared and starving, I might just willingly join a rebel group if it meant the promise of protection and regular meals.
Could our country help the people of their country? Yes. Catching this guy Kony will bring a small amount of justice–but more than that, they need food. They need water. They need education. They need hope.
Videos like Catch Kony help spread awareness. And that’s never a bad thing. But what will we do with that awareness? How will Africa really be helped? Does it really stop at $3 a month? How much of that actually reaches the “invisible children”? Will we remember them only when we see our credit card statements?
My opinion is this: here we live in a virtual Utopia, fat and happy and cocky, with our heads so far up our asses that we can’t hear the rest of the world screaming bloody murder. We are blissfully unaware–or purposefully naive. Occasionally we’ll swoop in to correct a perceived injustice. “Let’s teach them that violence is bad. Let’s teach them that raping is bad. Let’s tell them how they should be doing things, and then let’s step back and watch them become just like us.”
Are we helping?
“Now this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, plenty of food, and comfortable security, but didn’t support the poor and needy.” Ezekiel 16:49