pacman inkee

this is quite disorganized

i don't have time to write a real post because i am already 2 days behind this week and it's only wed. also i already used my spare time to rant on the internet. so i am just going to repost this comment i dropped in another community. the question was would you support your child supporting KONY 2012. the question also specified that the org is a non-profit so that's why i ranted about NPOs at the end.

no because untrained, naive, well-off white kids running off to save (read: exploit) africa is p. much everything that has been wrong with this world for centuries.

my children have been raised to understand that, while awareness of what is going on in the rest of the world is good, if people truly want to effect social change there are problems right in their own communities, where they ARE experts, where they DO understand all the myriad forces at play in the situation, that they can take on and challenge themselves with and cause real positive change in the world. there are homeless families here on the streets of america. there are women and children being forced into sexual and other slavery right here in the us every day in suburban communities in every city. there are children being recruited as members in armies right here on our own streets, who also have their parents gunned down to perpetuate the war of attrition on these communities. they don't need to go running off halfway around the world, with no training to actually HELP the situation, just to make already over-strapped communities expend resources to support these kids (language translation, help with procedures and bureaucracy, sometimes actual physical or medical help when kids end up injured, in danger, etc to name just a few) that are better spent elsewhere. and like, even if you DO decide to do that, try researching the situation a little more? kony has been out of uganda for years now. he is down to only a couple hundred guys and running around the DRC. Ugandan army and US Sp.Forces guys are already on the ground there trying to corner him. there has been a joint operation going on there for years. it's a pretty big jungle tho, and he has lots of hostages, so it's not like we can just drop a couple bombs and call it a day. this stuff has to be done with actual leg work, was re: it's a jungle. what exactly are we going to send over there to assist with that? a bunch of kids to run around the jungle they know nothing about, so they can get malaria, and need to be helicoptered out?

i am always wary of a movement that provides little more than a couple of iconic bracelets, slickly designed t-shirts, and well produced documentaries short on real details of what exactly the goals AND details are of exactly how they are planning to "change" the situation. where is this money going? what exactly are their plans to hunt down kony? "give us money! put this shirt on and pretend you helped change something! pay no attention while nothing actually changes because we have no idea wtf we are doing!" raising awareness: good idea. giving money haplessly, or otherwise supporting an organization with nebulous methods for spending that money: probably not a good idea. however i would be more than happy if they called obama and told him that they supported him sending another contingent of troops there a few years ago, and if he wants to deploy more troops to the joint operation headed by the ugandan army, that they would also support that. and then call their representatives and reiterate that.

also not for profit doesn't mean someone is not making a profit. the filmmaker appears to be earning a fairly comfy salary from the NPO he runs if his living quarters are anything to go by. NPO just means that the company itself does not turn a profit, and that it is not publicly tradable. in return for this they get certain tax statuses that exempt them from certain kinds of tax withholdings on donations, etc (ie, they get special permissions to make more money). as a member of the san francisco bay area, which is ground zero for most NPOS per capita, i am well aware that NPO exec org has no problem giving themselves 6 figure salaries while actually processing through 3% of donations to the cause in need.

obviously i have a lot of feelings about this.


i have a lot more things to say about this. about how NPOs run by naive americans with messiah complexes often think they are VITAL to the process of change when really they end up adding another layer of bureaucracy and obfuscation to the causes they are trying to help. about how uncomfortable it is to watch that video for me, a bunch of muddling kids running around a terrible situation they are obviously clueless about, playing atrocity voyeur while actual aid workers from the community repeatedly ask them to turn off their cameras and leave because they are hurting the process of helping people. about how dangerous unchecked foreign aid can be for a region, how well-meaning but bumbling npos can cause wide swaths of devastation in the areas they are trying to help, and how many of the people of uganda have called out for a movement to head towards ENDING reliance on foreign aid instead of asking for more. about how if people were ranting about this npo back in 2006 why it's been over a decade and they are still employing, literally, the same tactics towards no change personally effected by them. but anyway i don't have time. so: awareness is good. kony is DEFINITELY bad. but i think calling your reps to say send more troops would help a ton more than giving these guys money so the filmmaker can indulge his savior of the world megalomania complex.

this entry is now public.
it's ridiculous i never noticed this in OK (prob because no one there had any money to go faff off and do this), but since i've come to england, i'm amazed at the overwhelming amount of self-righteous rich white kids who like to brag about how they're "volunteering/saving the world" by going to africa and.. i dunon fucking around and petting tigers.. and they get like, corporate sponsorship and people to pay for this shit, just so they can go play in the jungle or whatever. that is NOT volunteering, that is a free vacation, and then they come back and feel superior about it. hi, that is not hte purpose of developing nations. but anyway, that's a sidenote to the rest of what you're saying, but yeah :I
i so feel you on this. it's hugely prevalent in sf too, rich kids going to south america to hang out with parrots and get wild stories about eating alligator while doing one tiny thing to "help" someone there, all the while blowing through 10grand. then they come back to their cushy dot com jobs, feeling all high and mighty for having saved the world (re: built 1 habitat for humanity house) and feel like that's it, they built a house in guatemala once so they never have to think about social issues again, and all these poor people here? well those kids think that impoverished people here are just lazy fucks who don't need a fkn handout they need to learn to GET A JOB! or LEAVE THE COUNTRY! and just. ugh. there aren't enough words in the english language for me to rant about the rage i feel about this.
Joseph Kony needs to be apprehended, but I don't think that IC, the people behind this KONY2012 enterprise, are going about it in a way that is consistent with their purported mission. The fact that they are working with military regimes that are no better than Kony's practices, and the state of their finances, leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Good assessment here. I've been sending that link to anyone who exhorts me to sit through that half-hour youtube vanity project.
Oh, pity the poor white film major's burden, that he must traipse into the ickypoo brown lands of darkest Africa in order to find some new level of suffering that will get people talking and praising him, all in the guise of social awareness!
Just posted that link on the Facebook page of an NZ current affairs show that's going to be doing a story on it shortly. With any luck, it may even got on-air exposure. Thank you!
I have a lot of feelings on the subject too, and most of them mirror yours exactly. I am wary of a lot of church-run mission trips for these reasons, though I have gone on only one myself (well, to a city in the u.s.) as an adult to assist with hurricane cleanup. In that case, though, it wasn't us running around trying to get someone out of power, but really just being the hands to pull rotting carpeting out of someone's home, or clean up crap in their yards. I could justify it, and I would do it over again, but there are so many other mission trips that I can't get behind, and so many NPOs doing the things you talk about that just make things worse, and it's mind-blowing and very sad to watch :(
In a way, it's just slacktivism. I saw the Kony thing popping up yesterday, and the usual suspects on my friends list (the people who do all the breast cancer bra color shit) jumped right on the bandwagon.

I don't know enough about the situation, but from the vague reading I've done Invisible Children are very shady, and I am very wary of supporting them.
After the Haitian earthquake I listened to a lot of NPR stories that dealt with this exact sort of thing.

People around the world need help.
What we do to help often does not actually even help. We take jobs away from local people, we strap local resources, etc. We "help" to feel better about ourselves.
So then, what is the best way to actually help?

You bring up so many good points.
That's one thing I like about New Zealand's former prime minister, Helen Clark. She's currently head of the UNDP: the UN Development Programme, which concentrates on helping developing countries to develop the way they want to, rather than in a way that the West says is best (and often only is for the West). Sure, she's a white woman from a relatively well-off country, but she's properly informed and passionately engaged in the work for the right reasons.

That's the kind of thing I'd like to see more of: informed people who are willing to work hard in order to help people help themselves. That requires humility, and an ability to listen and learn rather than just tell others what you think is best for them.
I was wondering about all that crap flooding my FB feed today, and I couldnt put my finger on why it bothered me so much until now. Thanks, I'm definitely sharing this info.
I thought that video was such a piece of shit...I mean, how many minutes in the beginning were devoted to absolutely nothing of any relevance? It took way too long to get to the child soldiers.

Also, squicked out by the fact that googling brings up "invisible children scam" and their website seems to fall apart. It's fucking heartbreaking what is happening to those poor children and their families but I love your parenting & the message - there are people suffering in your backyard!

And OMG the nonprofit waste. I've worked for some really, really honorable, well-intended ones and even they get caught up in bureaucracy & mismanagement. Like for-profit companies, some are just inherently wasteful. I find it really helpful to review the 990s and see exactly how much the ED is making...

Interestingly a kid I went to middle school with is one of the founders behind the Ubuntu Education Fund but from what I've seen there are local people driving the change & major shareholders & the other founder are part of the South African community. I'm also pretty sure he lives there most of the year (when he's not raising money elsewhere). I think it is possible to do good work around the world but you really, really need to respect the culture & community you are attempting to help & have a serious committment to shutting the fuck up and listening. Also it helps that they are doing ACTUAL WORK and not just raising "awareness" funds which, what the fuck.
this kony topic has blown up my flist w/ 3 posts in a row. i'm kind of confused as to why. i am surprised by 11 million views in 2 days. did the world just discover this? We've all got KONY FEVER?

Edited at 2012-03-08 02:33 am (UTC)
thanks. one of my frenz posted this link

https://www.facebook.com/ginghamproject

it's for a nonprofit helping kids provide school uniforms for impoverished 3rd world children. it linked me to this and while the term "poverty porn" sounds too lascivious, it's true.

aaaaaand of course I forgot the title of that book I read about "fixing" Africa and how everyone should just give up cus really, nobody gets it. It's too frickin ALIEN for first world countries to even understand. it's fucking Bono all over again, raising awareness about hunger. Yes, people are hungry, and you're selling me a red toaster why? Will people be fed? Probably not but awareness is half the battle and Bono gets to strut around like a pompous ass and writeoff hundreds of dollars in taxes.

or idk. just conflicted.
yes, yes, yes!
You said somethings I was talking to someone last night and a bunch of things that I wish I had said.
well said. mind if I quote/link this on FB?
feel free, but there are extensive, better sourced, and better credentialed posts about this now. the internet has done the due diligence for me and not only rounded up posts with links, but also better places to donate money if someone wants to help. find one of those because they did a WAY better job than my 10min rant hehe
yeah, I was going to post this article by Charlie Beckett as well but most of the people who were linking that Kony video on my FB were < 18 and I think your comment would probably be more accessible/useful to them than a dry analysis of facts.