Who remembers ‘Paint The Night?’ Remember that magical night two months ago when everyone took to the streets in the name of justice to spread that bastard Kony’s face all over the nation and hold him accountable; that night when social media became a force for world good rather than just the acceptable face of stalking. Remember it? Anyone? No? Of Course not, it never happened.
Why not? Possibly it was poor choice of date; people tend to have slightly more nefarious and woozy priorities on 4/20. Maybe it came too late after the videos unveiling to capitalise on the momentum. Much more likely though, it was the counter campaign. The pictures of The Invisible Children founders holding automatic weapons, the support for military intervention, the endless reposts of Grant Oysten’s nonsensically named ‘Visible Children’ and of course director Jason Russell’s one man naked fun run through San Diego didn’t help.
But none of these things had anything to do with the legion of unthinkable acts Kony committed, and this was what sparked the initial outrage and compassion for the cause, not the Invisible Children’s suggested solution, or the fact that the director hadn’t as of yet furiously masturbated at passing traffic. And it’s a crying shame that just because the organisation was discredited people no longer sought to help repair the wreckage that Kony’s ilk had wrecked across Uganda. If we can forget the fact that Roman Polanski sodomised a teenage girl long enough to enjoy Chinatown why can’t we disassociate Invisible Children from the near 600 children (according to a UN report released earlier this month) Kony kidnapped? And who isn’t a little bit suspicious that the jury only acquitted Michael Jackson because Thriller isa massive tune.
Grant Oyston’s response We Got Trouble, in which he articulately tore the organisation to shreds, was undoubtedly a huge cause in the subsequent lack of interest with Kony. I lost count of the amount of times I saw this article posted on Facebook, nearly as much as the original video; usually with an accompanying status along the lines of ‘FOR ALL YOU NIAVE, MINDLESS DRONES WHO BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU SEE!’ Although I’m sure most of us read ‘I’M A CONDESENDING, FAUX INTELLECTUAL, ARSEHOLE!’ I’m ashamed to retell my friend’s hilarious comment of ‘if you ask me they’re (Invisible Children) worse than Kony.’ It was the internet equivalent of group of kids quietly playing in the corner of the playground only for the bigger boys with broken voices and armpit hair to twat a football into their faces.
Please don’t get me wrong, I hated the Kony campaign. The priority seemed to be to show how wonderful Jason Russell behind camera rather than change the world. It narcissistically trivialised what is perhaps the single worst case of wide spread child abuse in the world into an aesthetically pleasing 30 minute featurette. To top that off I genuinely can’t think of a worse solution to than outside military intervention. But I hadn’t heard of Kony beforehand. A lot of people hadn’t, and despite Invisible Children’s supposedly dubious motivations they did raise awareness. Unfortunately the internet’s hipsters were too preoccupied with the worlds’ largest bonfire pissing party to read the rest of Grant Oyster’s articles pledging for people to help Ugandan condition through other, legitimate NGOs. The Invisible Children were nonchalantly filed away under yesterday’s news and Kony’s victims were tucked away from our sight and sensibilities with them.
Perhaps this is the core problem with issues raised on the internet, they merely get lost amid the tidal wave of online information. The average internet user may be moved to stop Kony in the morning, have a good ol’ hearty guffaw at lolcats in the afternoonthen forget about them both as they grunt one out to Kim Kardashian lying face down and becoming a star.
I’m certainly not saying that the Kony Campaign didn’t annoy me, it got on my tits. And I certainly didn’t appreciate the umpteenth person telling me about this amazing video Africa really needed me to see, but this naivety only ever came from an intolerance of cruelty and a compassion for mankind world-wide. There open hearts were certainly more welcome than the spite and bile of the backlash that succeeded and eventually devoured them and my annoyance with ‘Team Kony’ was soon replaced with rage at all of those who were so eager to be in the fashionable minority that they didn’t give a second thought to any of the girls forced into sexual slavery, or the young boys forced to drink ‘magic potion’ and take up arms. The dissenting voices bawled that the rate of kidnapping had declined to near zero in recent years but do we not have the right to be apoplectic with rage and driven to some altruism even if only one child is raped or murdered?
Three months on from the start of the campaign the children have been forgotten and KONY 2012 can be declared officially dead. Perhaps even more unbelievable than the venom of the backlash is how even those who fervently initially supported the campaign have forsaken it. We’d better hope that the next appeal to our compassion is based upon a fully topical outrage, presented by a squeaky clean organisation or we’re well on the way to becoming a generation of unsympathetic, emotionally retarded auto bots who can’t convey any emotional feeling outside of 140 characters or without hash-tags. #Justsaying