20 3 / 2012
Make Kony famous? No thanks, says Uganda.
“The film’s overall messages were very upsetting to many audience members.
“In particular, viewers were outraged by the KONY 2012 campaign’s strategy to make Kony famous and their marketing of items with his image. One victim was applauded upon saying, ‘If you care for us the victims, you will respect our feelings and acknowledge how hurting it is for us to see you mobilizing the world to make Kony famous, the guy who is the world most wanted criminal.’ It was very hurtful for victims and their families to see posters, bracelets and t-shirts, all looking like a slick marketing campaign, promoting the person most responsible for their shattered lives. One young man who lost four brothers and one of his arms said afterwards: ‘How can anybody expect a person to wear a T-shirt with Kony’s name on it?’ Many people were asking: ‘Why give such criminals celebrity status? Why not make the plight of the victims and the war-ravaged communities, people whose sufferings are real and visible, the focus of a campaign to help?’
“There was a strong sense from the audience that the video was insensitive to African and Ugandan audiences, and that it did not accurately portray the conflict or the victims.”
For those of you currently sporting Joseph Kony bracelets and t-shirts, perhaps this is a good time to consider the message you’re communicating, and how that message is perceived by those whom it is intended to be aiding.
EDIT: For those who aren’t “getting it”, try this fun experiment: make a bracelet that says “HITLER” on it and see how long it takes until someone punches you.
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