Opinion

A better way to cover the night

Caroline Hutchinson
Caroline Hutchinson

IS it just me or does everyone think it's too easy to be a hater?

Tonight the infamous Kony 2012 campaign moves into top gear. Across the globe people are being encouraged to Cover the Night, by sticking up posters and holding parties to raise awareness of the plight of Ugandan child victims of Joseph Kony and his Lord's Resistance Army (LRA).

US charity Invisible Children was thrust into the limelight a couple of months ago when their Kony 2012 video, launching Cover the Night, went viral.

Immediately after the video release, Invisible Children was charged with overplaying the size and influence of the LRA in central Africa. Links between the charity and evangelical Christian groups in the US were exposed and the video was accused of being more of a sales pitch for Invisible Children than a serious analysis of the LRA.

Then Invisible Children's co-founder, Jason Russell was detained by police after being filmed running through the streets of San Diego in his underwear.

Before Russell even had a chance to pull his pants back up, debating Kony 2012 had become a blood sport.

It goes without saying that clicking a 'like' button doesn't make you Aung San Suu Kyi, but it can be a step towards political engagement.

The UN set up the International Criminal Court to give every child basic protection. It's not always successful, but tonight people are being asked to gather in solidarity with that promise.

Kony 2012 raises valid questions about Joseph Kony's LRA and the West's wilful inaction.

While people expressing support for Kony 2012 were quickly dubbed 'slacktivists', I think it's even slacker to spend more time googling what's wrong with Invisible Children than finding constructive solutions to African distress.

For my money, Invisible Children might be a bit cultish and naive, but it has proved its worth by making Kony so well known the world can no longer turn a blind eye to the children of Uganda.

If you don't agree, there are plenty of other organisations to support. My pick is local psychologist Dr Robi Sonderegger.

Since 2006 Dr Robi and his charity, Family Challenge Australia, have counselled more than 20,000 child victims of war in 49 refugee camps across Central Africa.

Dr Robi believes your dollars are better spent with his organisation, promoting trauma rehabilitation and reconciliation.

For more information visit http://www.familychallenge.com.au/the-frontline.php

Topics:  invisible children, kony 2012


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