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Stop Ignorance

09 Mar

If you belong to any social media site then more than likely you have been flooded with images like this for the past few days:

This movement is sponsored by Invisible Children, a non-profit organization that fights to end the conflict in Uganda. In Uganda they are fighting against the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The LRA is lead by Joseph Kony; there is no real purpose of the LRA besides ensuring that Kony has power. Kony’s soldiers are not men from another country or religion, but children that Kony has abducted from all over Uganda (and now other parts of Africa) that are forced to kill. Over the past few days the level of awareness about the Uganda conflict has gone through the roof. People from all over the world are joining the fight against Kony because of this video:video (if you haven’t already seen it, you should watch it). This video also showcases/utilizes the power that American citizens have been granted excellently (freedom of speech, the right to hold a peaceful protest and so on).

The video basically gives you the background of the war in Uganda and other parts of Africa and how Kony needs to be famous to be brought to justice. It is interesting and a bit disheartening that in the first stages of Invisible Children government officials did not support the cause because it was not popular enough. But now that hundreds of people have joined the cause, politicians have deemed it worth their attention. There is just something about that wrong to me.

Of course I cannot put complete blame on the politicians, part of the blame- in fact, most of it is the people of the United States fault. Why did we not make this an issue earlier? If this conflict has been going on so long how come it is just now making major news? Did I miss something? Was this more widely publicized when I was a kid? Yes, Invisible Children is a great cause and people should get involved. But why has it taken so long for an issue as big as children being abducted and forced to murder other people to receive any sort of acknowledgement from the people in the United States. It just frustrates me a little that people, especially people my age, are (for the most part) just hearing about this issue. What is wrong with us? In a world as global as ours is we cannot afford to be ignorant of issues (like Uganda and more recently Syria) going on around the world. Why can we not afford it? Because not only does it inadvertently affect us, but also if we do ignore these issues we could end up with another Holocaust on our hands.

I am suggesting that people of all ages put more effort into seeing what is going on in the world around them. If you are in a classroom setting make it so students have to talk about a current issue once a week, or (teachers or students) just bring up a random issue in class. If you are in the world outside the classroom then make an effort to check a (global) news website such as CNN or BBC once a day. As I said we cannot afford for things to go by unnoticed. If you are like me you do not want future generations looking back at ours and saying “How did they not know what was happening?”

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11 Comments

Posted by on March 9, 2012 in Learning, Media

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

11 responses to “Stop Ignorance

  1. Alex F.

    March 14, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    Thanks for writing about this topic. I have read some of the reports regarding the controversy around the Kony2012 campaign, and I find it fascinating that so many young people got involved. However, the media has been reporting on the LRA and Joseph Kony for many years now, so I wonder what do you think is different this time? What is it about this video that got so many young people interested? Why do you think nobody paid attention to the many earlier reports, but everyone is moved by the video? How would you explain it?

    A simple google search provides plenty articles on the LRA and Kony dating even back to 2003:
    2010 – http://atwar.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/12/31/an-insiders-portrait-of-joseph-kony/
    2009 – http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/07/world/africa/07congo.html?pagewanted=all
    2008 – http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7340009.stm
    2007 – http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2007/10/kony_report.html
    2006 – http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/09/AR2006050901907.html
    2003 – http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1525463

    Thanks again for posting!

     
  2. Danny Kahn

    March 15, 2012 at 5:23 am

    This is a very hot and interesting topic to be writing about right now. I would agree with you that it is quite sad that many people have not been aware and have known about this issue for a long time. However, there have been many rumors going out about the truth about this organization and other rumors about Joseph Kony. For example, I have heard, but I cannot verify, that only about a third of the money raised for the organization goes towards the invisible children in Uganda and the other two-thirds of the money raised is taken by the organization. I have also watched videos on youtube of people who say that Koney may not even be alive anymore and this problem there is not very noticible even when visiting Uganda.
    ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DO73Ese25Y ). Even with this information, I am still unsure of what is actually true or not. I think more research needs to be done about this topic and worldwide issue to verify that what we have perceived from this video is actually the truth. Thanks.

     
    • Jennifer

      March 17, 2012 at 4:25 pm

      I completely agree that people should do more research before they donate to a cause. In fact people should just do more research period, so that it does not take a video years after the issue began to inform them of the tragedies going on in the world around us. Thank you for reading!

      Sincerely,
      Jennifer

       
  3. Mackenzie

    March 15, 2012 at 5:29 am

    I think this was a very good topic to write about, because like you said it has caused quite a lot of commotion over the last few weeks. I hadn’t thought about it turning into another Holocaust until you mentioned that, I think that’s a very interesting point, and I agree that people should start taking action to stop the LRA. I know that what Kony is doing is horrible, but if the information you got was from the Invisible Children’s video, than some of this information is exaggerated. Kony does abduct children from their homes, and force them into the child armies to kill. However, when the creators of invisible Children created this documentary they were doing it to spread the story and raise awareness. They were very successful doing this, but much of it is over exaggerated, and they tended to stretch the truth. This video is very emotional, and by showing the depressing and scary lives of the children in Africa; people in America feel more compelled to support the Invisible Children’s group. The creators of IC are ultimately guilt-tripping us Americans into donating money to their cause.
    While I want to make a difference and want to stop Kony, I feel as though I still don’t know the real story about what is happening in Africa and I don’t know what really would make a difference. Would just donating some money really change things, or is there a way to really take action?

     
    • Jennifer

      March 17, 2012 at 4:22 pm

      Mackenzie, you raise excellent points. Yes parts of the video are probably exaggerated, but I don’t think the creators’ of this video ultimate purpose was to guilt trip others but to promote the issue.
      Before you commit any money to the program (or any program) I would suggest research! I have heard conflicting rumors about Invisible Children and what they do with their funds (some say they donate all their funds, others say only 30%). If you want to make a difference (for any cause) you do not have to donate money. You can promote awareness by telling friends or calling a government official or by writing about it on the internet. To really take action (short of taking up arms against Kony) in this case would be to make sure that people don’t forget and let this fade into the background. Thank you so much for reading my post and I wish you the best!
      Sincerely,
      Jennifer

       
  4. Heather Nadolny (@hnadolny)

    March 15, 2012 at 10:10 am

    Jennifer,

    You’ve formed an excellent, direct argument in this post. Unfortunately, there are those who choose not to learn more about happenings outside of the country, or those who know about them, and look the other way. I’ll admit I knew nothing about this before it went viral, and it’s a truly devastating situation. You’re right- more people should take the time to learn about the world, rather than what gets reported on certain magazine covers.

    Job well done!

     
    • Jennifer

      March 17, 2012 at 4:10 pm

      Thank you for reading my post Ms. Nadolny! I will also confess I did not know too much about Kony and the war in Uganda before the video either (I had heard things about the war, but not the extent of it).
      Thanks again!
      Jennifer

       
  5. Ms. Tatiana

    March 15, 2012 at 11:55 pm

    Jennifer,
    I have been visiting this blog since it started and have been very impressed with the content and quality of writing. Your post is no exception! You lay out the issue very well and then ask the questions that are slapping all of us in the face. While I don’t fully agree with your conclusion that the majority of fault rests on U.S. citizens, I wholeheartedly support your call for people to educate themselves in matters that matter.
    What keeps people ignorant? A dumbed-down mass-media culture combined with apathy. And why are people apathetic? That concerns me more.
    I find it ironic that the same social media which gives us useless updates on everything can also trigger such a wave of worldwide caring. Times are changing, as fast as a wifi signal, and I hope our national ignorance will change, too. Finding this blog with the writing of intelligent young students has given me hope that this might be possible. Thank you!

    Ms. Tatiana
    http://www.worldstaracademy.com

     
    • Jennifer

      March 17, 2012 at 4:06 pm

      Ms. Tatiana thank you so much for reading my post and thank you for the compliment. You are right, it is ironic that something that usually sends out mindless information can also create a passionate desire to help others and promote awareness. It is also a little sad that people don’t take more advantage of the power the media has for a good cause. I hope you continue to enjoy my classmates’ and mine posts on this blog.
      Sincerely,
      Jennifer

       
  6. Larson M.

    April 16, 2012 at 9:06 am

    I really enjoyed reading your post about the Invisible Children and Kony. Why has it taken so long for not just people our age to hear about this but also parents, adults, and politicians who have suddenly taken an interest to the situation. This goes to show how social media dominates the lives of Americans. A video hits Facebook and next thing you know kids are coming together in schools to run around town putting up posters and protest against Kony. But the source is questionable. Is they situation dramatized or is it all factual? Is the Invisible Children organization a legitimate cause? And yes the media has brought Kony to the spotlight but from the ‘make Kony famous’ tweets and the posters that just say his name, those who aren’t aware of the situation might think of him as a celebrity or somebody famous that everyone likes. The whole situation to me will die out within a month when teenagers lose interest and politicians do nothing about it.

     
  7. madison.v13

    April 23, 2012 at 7:03 am

    This is an awesome post, especially because of the relevance in today’s world. It is amazing how fast this video went viral and made people educated on the events happening in Africa. While I agree that this issue is important and something needs to be done, I’m not convinced that the U.S. should be the country to intervene. This may sound ignorant and a bit passive but this is an issue that is well beyond our help. The last thing our country needs right now is to be militantly involved in yet another country. Not to mention we are battling a huge debt that is nearly insurmountable and by pouring our funds into causes that could take years to fight, we aren’t exactly getting on track to head towards positive figures. This is a great cause with the best intentions, but I believe it should remain as more of a charity than a political issue in our country. People of the United States should be able to donate money to help the African troops, but our government should not get involved in something that is not directly threatening our country. I agree that people need to become more aware of the things happening in the world around them and this video is a great way to help people better understand what is happening, but people also need to understand the long term effects of getting involved. There is a difference between socially fighting something and literally fighting and right now I believe it is in our country’s best interest to abstain from voluntary war.

     

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