I haven’t written anything in a while. According to my WordPress statistics page, it’s been since Wednesday, February 22, where I wrote about the ending of our Mardi Gras season. Earth shattering, no doubt. A co-blogger published a post about writer’s block today. After reading it, I felt the need to write. I too have been experiencing a block, thinking that the things I observe are too mundane or insignificant or too finite of an issue to warrant expansion in the literary scene. Another problem is my lack of passion as of late. I’m not saying that I’m unhappy or in a funk in my personal life. In fact, I’ve got things going on, plans in the works, goals to meet, events to look forward to, I’m giving and receiving unconditional love (ah, happy thought), and am really lovin’ life right now. I’m movin’ and shakin’, people. I feel strongly about things, but it seems I have just lost that motivating passion about things happening outside of my own little world lately. Until today.
After firing up the computer today, I was inundated with Facebook posts and Twitter tweets sharing a video made by a group called Invisible Children calling world attention to an African warlord, Joseph Kony, and the truly heinous crimes he and his Lord’s Resistance Army have inflicted on the innocent people of Uganda and southern Sudan for the past 26 years. The video is a well-made, informative and heart-wrenching account, sadly typical, of Uganda’s victimization by Kony and his army through kidnapping, exploitation of children, rape, and murder. As we all know, this type of horror is not unique to Uganda. The people of Africa have been victims to maniacal dictators and corrupt and duplicitous governments forever. One man with an ignorant and self-serving idea overthrows another whose reign was obtained because of yet another ignorant and self-serving idea, none of which are beneficial (more like detrimental) to the people in whom they claim to serve. We think our government is fucked up. We don’t live in fear of having our sons snatched against their will and turned into stone-cold murderers and our daughters raped and living with the shame, unwanted pregnancies, and HIV/AIDS at the whim of a madman. We have it so good in America. Have you been forced to kill your parents and/or friends with an AK-47? Have you had to watch your child be forcibly taken from your home knowing that you would NEVER see them again and that they might not live to see their next birthday (which might be the tender age of 9)? Have you ever had to watch your 10-year old daughter bear the sickening act of being repeatedly raped by a squad of men who think the only way to cure their AIDS is to have sex with a virgin? Our remotely justifying the lack of assistance to the people of Africa because “we need to fix our own problems here in this country” and that what’s happening in Africa is just a barbaric form of what is happening in our country (the raping of our finances, the murdering of our jobs) compared to what the Africans are actually enduring is like someone making $800,000 a year, with two homes, kids in private schools, and multiple yearly vacations bitching because they’ve had to CUT BACK on dining out, groceries, and that they now cannot afford their dream of a larger apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan [gasp]. It’s a slap in the face. I agree that something needs to be done about the genocide going on throughout Africa as strongly as Invisible Children, Save the Children, Aid for Africa, Oprah Winfrey, and Angelina Jolie, and I applaud their efforts and admire their passion. However …
What Invisible Children does not fully explain in their emotional video is the fact that the present government of Uganda is in power because it employed the same atrocities of war (using children as soldiers) as Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army. Another important fact not brought out in the video is that Uganda’s present government outlaws homosexuality. When the anti-homosexuality bill was first introduced, its stated function was to protect the Ugandan children from Western homosexuals who may lure them into having sex for money. How does a government say that they want to “protect” their children from homosexuality when they rose to power on the backs of those same children they kidnapped and raped themselves? The punishment for this “crime” was death. At present, I believe they are haggling over death vs. life imprisonment to get the bill passed. What Invisible Children has done is ally themselves with the same sort of people they are accusing of murder and rape and asking be brought to justice.
I admire the effort and the effective message of Invisible Children. But Joseph Kony is just the face that Invisible Children puts on all of the heinous crimes of the Ugandan government and the factions like the Lord’s Resistance Army. They’re highlighting one horrible facet of the diamond, not showing you the other flawed facets that make the entire diamond worthless.
I, like everyone else upon viewing the video, cried, wanted to “share” on Facebook and “RT” on Twitter, and immediately wanted to go to their website, make my donation, get my supporter’s box, figure out where we would put our “Koney 2012” sign in our little yard, and imagined wearing the little bracelet, satisfying myself that I had done my part and feeling more worldly connected through compassion. But before my emotional side would let me just dive in, my logical side spoke up and reminded emotional-me to not blindly believe everything on the internet but to do some research before getting behind and championing a seemingly worthy cause. The result of this was what I have written about above.
I don’t think their cause is unworthy of some support now, and I applaud them for bringing it into our Starbucks and iPad world, but I do have a hard time lending financial support, using my voice (and written words), and wrapping my heart around a cause that is not showing you the full picture.
These are my feelings on this. I respect that yours may be totally different. Make your donation if your heart speaks to you. By all means. My heart says no. Not because I do not believe in their cause, but because a cause for justice must be one in which you obtain justice for all.