TZM Response To ‘Kony 2012’ Campaign

Recently, a viral phenomenon flared up as a result of a video campaign entitled ‘Kony 2012’, which encourages the viewer to become passionate about chasing down a man named Joseph Kony, who is apparently involved in gang warfare, rape, severe child abuse, slavery, murder and the like in Uganda and it’s neighbouring countries. This is obviously extremely inhumane and abhorrent behaviour to say the least.

The methods in which the film presents the problem are very emotive, and judging by the public response, appears very effective on pulling on the viewer’s heartstrings. The suggested method of then bringing KONY to “justice” is a mass publicity campaign and hence political pressure plus funding to the affiliated organisations, via military intervention. So essentially the solution is to catch the “Bad Guy” and therefore this behaviour we want to see eradicated will no longer exist.  If you TRULY want to see the end of this behaviour then you must ask yourself what the reasons are for the behaviour existing in the first place.

Was Joseph Kony born a rapist, serial killer and child slave trader? Of course not. He would have had no idea of such concepts, not to mention culture or language itself as a child. These understandings and hence behaviours were learned from the environment. If he had grown up in your place, in your house, with your friends, went to your school and lived your life, he would certainly behave completely differently and far less abhorrently. It is clear that the life experiences he has had have shaped him as a human being. The behaviour is a result of environmental influence, in the sense of physical, cultural, religious, economic, political and anything and everything within the environment that would lead to this behaviour in a person.

So based upon this simple empirical understanding, it is self evident that any effort to resolve such inhumanity must be focused on removing the environmental reinforcement for this behaviour. Just catching the “Bad Guy” will solve very little in the long run. If the incentive to continue still remains, then the behaviour will very likely continue in others.

Standards of living in East Africa are poor to say the least. Existing in the system we do requires people to do what they can to get by, and our standards of living are defined by purchasing power, and hence people are constantly encouraged to do what is necessary to increase that purchasing power. The resulting behaviour GLOBALLY can be summarised as “The pursuit of profit regardless of social or environmental cost”.

This can be seen in countless cases in which profit has come before the well being of living things, just to name a recent few:

  • The Shell Oil Spill in the gulf of Mexico
  • Severe Austerity Measures in Greece
  • The 2008 housing bubble collapse (as a result of greedy financial market manipulation)
  • The hydraulic fracturing (Fracking) plantations in North East USA

As well as ongoing examples:

  • Our continued dependency on damaging fossil fuels despite constantly suppressed alternatives
  • Wars for the above resources – As well as the resulting construction contracts
  • The death of 30,000 children every single day despite poverty being technically erasable

Kony is also apparently religiously motivated, another understanding which is learned from the environment, and one that is very difficult to overcome within a system that divides and separates people inherently. Until we exist within a system that no longer incentivises such inhumane behaviour as the one we live in today does, we will never see the end of this behaviour. For long term change to occur, it is our understanding that an entirely different approach to society has to be taken, and this is not one that views the world through the lense of profitability or religion. Unfortunately this conflicts with a lot of people’s identities, and takes more time to understand than the concept of “Catch the Bad Guy”.

We need a new system, that allows for and encourages empathy, sharing, collaboration, creativity, abundance, efficiency and most importantly, sustainability.

If you took the time to watch the KONY 2012 video, and you have taken the time to read this, then please give this video of a slightly shorter length a bit of time as well, as I understand it, the effect of enough people coming to appreciate the information and values presented in this video will have a far more resounding, positive and long term effect:

In the unlikely event you have not seen the video campaign, but would like to, please see the bottom of this article where the original is included.

In Conclusion, this article is not really about discerning the facts and figures surrounding Kony and his affiliates activity, but more toward our current methods of problem solving when we perceive that problems arise to us. It’s great that social injustice is pissing people off and I hope that everyone who has been affected by this film will continue to maintain an interest in problems further from the front door step. Whether the KONY 2012 film is presenting information objectively or not, our approach must go deeper if we want to see long term resolution.

If you have anything to add then please do comment below.

Peace, Love and Sustainability,

Bruce Galliver

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