Where are the “Invisible Children” now? (Part II)

The following is a continuation of what Riho wrote for her last assignment in my Composition I class.  She worked very hard to find the right information.  I was very proud of her because she is from Japan and the only one on our campus, she is outnumbered by the large group of Koreans and Chinese.  Yes, she is Asian but she is invisible in her nationality amongst them. I’m not sure why she gravitated to this topic about “Invisible Children” but maybe she could relate in a small way to not being recognized as the lone Japanese girl on our campus.

 “A new video which was created by Invisible Children came out on March 5th in 2012. The film is called Kony 2012 and explains about Kony’s and LRA’s crimes toward children in conflicts by Jason Russell and calls for saving the children in conflicts. The film made a huge impact to the society. In the video, Jason tells his young son who Kony is by using simple words. Even though his story is not complicated and easy as much as a five year old boy can understand, it tells us the atrocity of child soldiers in 30 minutes. I could feel Jason’s seriousness of this issue by seeing Jason telling his child the reality. Jason’s major purpose for the video was to make many people recognize Kony’s face, and now many people who watched Kony 2012 can recognize his face and know the bad things he is doing. The video was seen by many people immediately after it was launched. “By the end of the first week, more than 112 million people had seen Kony 2012-about the same number who watch the Super Bowl every year” (Suddath, 2012). Many people who felt sad and sorry for the children, started a movement against LRA, and gave donations to Invisible Children in order to help the kids. Many celebrities also shared the facts by using the social network service to get the public’s attentions toward the poor kids. Invisible Children states Kony was the number nine most searched person on Google in 2012. Thus, the video moved the viewers.

However, the stories which are explained in Kony 2012 are lacking in creditability. “The video is charged with making mistakes and oversimplifying a complicated issue” (Hughes, 2012). In the video Jason explains Kony is in Uganda and has more than 30,000 child soldiers who were abducted. However, Kony has not been seen for more than six years, so no one knows if he is still in Uganda. In addition, the number of children Joseph showed is exaggerated. That is because 30,000 is the number estimated for the total of killed children because of the conflicts lasted over 20 years in the country. It cannot be the truth that LRA are having the number of children. Thus, some of the information is old, not true, or exaggerated, but they told us as if these are true and really happening. Then, a lot of people trusted the stories without any doubt. According to Alex Miller, Invisible Children got more than 10 million dollars of contributions by the video. Pickett (2012) explained that even though “Invisible Children” took near 14 million dollars in 2011, only 3.3 million dollars actually went to programs in Central Africa. They used the rest of the money for marketing, management, expenses, and products. Therefore, most of the money people donated to help after watching Kony 2012 might not be used for the children but for the organization. They took a lot of money from people who were trying to help children in conflicts by showing the video of children suffering. The act must not be forgiven.  In addition, 10 days after the video was released, Jason was reported with his strange behavior. He ran out naked into the street and screamed. He changed to a crazy person from the leader of saving child soldiers, so now it is difficult to trust him and the organization led by him. Thus, people should not have trusted them easily until they got enough information and creditability to decide to help the group.

On the other hand, “Invisible Children” still call for the support and donation even after these facts came up. The purposes for their activities are still to help children who are involved in conflicts in Africa, to end the actions of LRA, and to arrest Joseph Kony. They say they will not stop the movement until they move Joseph Kony out of the way. According to “Invisible Children” website, Congress passed a bill with 45 million dollars to help arrest Kony. Obama signed the budget legislation to support efforts to locate and arrest top LRA leaders. LRA killings had decreased 67 percent in the last year, and two of five top LRA commanders are off the battle fields because of their activities. By showing these facts they are trying to prove Invisible Children is motivated to make a peaceful world, and their campaign actually moved the President of the United States. In addition, even though the amount is smaller than we expect, some of the donations are actually used to help the African children. The organization Invisible Children are trying to justify their actions for child soldiers even though their creditability is suspected because of the earlier lies they made. Thus, they are suspected of manipulating the power of media and still getting support from some gullible people.

We get a lot of information from the media every day from TV, newspapers, Internet, and magazines. Even our friends and families tell us a lot of information which they get from the media. Therefore, it is almost impossible not to get information from the media. According to my survey, 66.7 percent of people admitted that they have experienced being fooled by the media, but still 41.7 percent of people sometimes and 33.3 percent of people almost always believe the information which is told by the media. The data shows media has a big influence. In conclusion, even though Invisible Children succeeded to move a lot of sympathetic people and the President of this country, the fact that they fooled the receivers of their information cannot be changed. They defrauded sympathetic people of donations for their benefit and lost their trust. The inappropriate action should not be acclaimed even though it made a huge progress for helping child soldiers. People who use media can get not only a lot of money but also a lot of people’s sympathy even by telling untruth. The media could be very useful to share the true story, to tell information to many people, and to call for activities, but the media could be very dangerous because it spreads anything to the whole world quickly. We could make huge changes to the society by our movement, so we should have responsibility to check the facts. In order to avoid letting this bias happen again, the media should build accountability for their information, and receivers should pay more attention to the creditability of the information which they are told.

References

Cadwalladr, C. (2013, March) Jason Russell: Kony2012 and the fight for truth. Retrieved from the Guardian website: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/mar/03/jason-russell-kony-2012-interview

Hughes, L. (2012). Invisible Children and the Hypocrisy of the Media. Canadian Dimension, 46(3), 56. Retrieved from EBSCO

Invisible Children. (n.d.). Programs. Retrieved April 17, 2013 from: http://invisiblechildren.com/program/defection-fliers/

Pickett, I. (2012, March 9). Is Invisible Children And Kony 2012 Using Children To Rip You Off?. Retrieved from CBS website: http://tampa.cbslocal.com/2012/03/09/is-invisible-children-and-kony-2012-using-children-to-rip-you-off/

Russell, J. (2012, March 5). Kony 2012 [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4MnpzG5Sqc

Russell, J. , Bailey, Bobby & Poole, Laren (August 26, 2006). Invisible Children: Rough Cut [Video firm]. Retrieved from http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/invisible-children/

Suddath, C. (2012). Guerrilla Marketing. Bloomberg Businessweek, (4294), 68-72. Retrieved from EBSCO

Swartz, L. (2012). Invisible Children: Transmedia, Storytelling, Mobilization. Working Paper, March 11. Retrieved from Google Scholar

UNICEF. (n.d.). The facts. Retrieved from Factsheet: Child Soldiers website: http://www.unicef.org/emerg/files/childsoldiers.pdf

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