Posted by: beckydale | April 12, 2012

Panels and Priorities

These are my personal observations surrounding Kony 2012. I do not try to conceal the fact that I am a part of the Kony 2012 campaign and certainly support it. I do stress that my opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Resolve, Invisible Children, or my colleagues. 

*****

Admittedly, for someone as non-confrontational and debate-resistant as I, I do love a good panel. I love the open forum provided by panels; the chance to interact with publicly acclaimed “experts” in their field of knowledge and experience; the lively discussion between panelists and laypeople like myself taking up space in the audience. Panels can provide a healthy opportunity for constructive dialogue and the occasional position determinant. I appreciate them for the sheer novelty of having so many great minds collected in a single venue to trade thoughts and ideas and research.

Yesterday, my colleague sat on what was termed, but was clearly not intended to be (at least in the eyes of several of the panelists themselves), just such a panel. I would like now to discuss 3 things regarding this campaign – Kony 2012. Each of the following links will lead to a separate blog post for the sake of keeping the information organized and from getting overwhelming. Finally, due to the intense personal nature of the third point, I am temporarily keeping that private until I can devise a way of framing certain parts of my story. I appreciate your understanding in the meantime.

I: The Audacity of the Conversation

  • The viral video has launched a welcome amount of attention and even more welcome opportunity for dialogue about an issue that has long been suffocated by media and popular insistance upon focusing on no less worthy causes and topics as oil, a moral dilemma regarding Iraq, a Royal Wedding, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the  terror of the Rwandan genocide, and other such heralded events throughout the print and digital news. Yet even with this great opportunity I am baffled by the response I have experienced – on Facebook, on the news, and even among such esteemed colleagues as those who spoke yesterday on the panel to discuss “Kony 2012” at large.

II: Invisible Children in Context

  • The oversimplification presented in the video has led to an unnecessary and regrettable oversimplification of Invisible Children (and the campaign itself). Just as a panelist emphasized yesterday that we cannot discuss anything without the proper context, and we cannot compare cross-medium/cross-border/cross-conflict, etc. I would like to formally express that perhaps some context should be dedicated to the organization including its founding, the lessons its staff has learned over the years, and the realities that I experienced while working within those office walls.

III: The Evolution of the Activist

  • Lastly, the critical attacks have abandoned the central message of the video and have entered the realm of personal, exacerbating the generational gap that we experience. So as someone who has felt intentionally criticized over the past month for my youth, my inability to relate to the events in central Africa, and the white guilt/white savior complex I supposedly exude, I would like to share, for the first time in any public setting, my story in its entirety. This is why I am involved – from the moment I first learned about the conflict to the present-day, leaving nothing for want of detail except in the few select cases where it would be truly detrimental to include such things.
*****
These are my personal observations surrounding Kony 2012. I do not try to conceal the fact that I am a part of the Kony 2012 campaign and certainly support it. I do stress that my opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Resolve, Invisible Children, or my colleagues. 
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