Kony 2012 – What have we learned

I am saddened that the Kony2012 movement appears to have lost its momentum.

There is a big part of me that wonders if there was not some external effort somewhere deliberately put in motion to discredit the Invisible Children movement and create the furor that arose after the launch of their first video in early March with the deliberate intent of attempting to grind the movement and the conversation to a halt. Let us open our eyes for a moment and look beyond the attacks on the movement as to why Invisible Children and Kony2012 could not be permitted to be successful. Let us get past the crass and blatant distractions thrown up about this movement and ask why. Yes, let us not engage the attacks but let us ask why the attacks. Is it possible that these attacks were nothing more than a great big planeload of chaff that sadly put grit in the wheels of the bus? My sadness is amplified when I revisit the video and see the potential for a vibrant and rich movement using universally accessible social networking media to spark a larger global undertaking and place an enormous element of influence in the hands of the people. Yes, “the people”: the you and me and the many invisible, compliant caring citizens down the street who wake up every day and go to work and pay their taxes and care mostly about their families and kids. These are the same folks who are tech savvy, guerrilla marketing savvy, understand social networking, and who just might take an extra moment in the morning to begin to ask questions and begin to see what Dorothy was distracted from seeing. Yes you all know the line, “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain”. Maybe Invisible Children was just getting too close to the curtain.

I know that there is an element of naivety in my words, after all I still believe that my generation really tried to make a difference and believe that somehow we positively influenced the course of history and, for awhile, worked together for a common good. We changed much and we influenced aspects of our world that we believed needed changing but money and families and careers and wars and Madison Avenue all seemed to get in the way and for too many years we have allowed ourselves to be lobotomized with the taste of the good life. I am less optimistic about my Gen X children and their peers but maybe the cynic gene had begun to set in by the time they arrived and maybe they saw our disillusionment and our surrender to the matrix.

Invisible Children, with all of its blindness and simplistic gullibility offered something fresh, something exciting and something that just might allow us to redraw the map of social engagement and global responsibility. They offered us a chance to reach out to a world that we pretend to care about and to finally do something real and meaningful. Just maybe they were asking us to pull the curtain aside and begin to collectively accept some responsibility for the global mess we support every day. Joseph Kony is a symptom of a larger global problem and if we could only begin to address the symptoms (get rid of the distractions, Kony and all) then maybe we might begin to see their root cause and in time see the strings and maybe even the string pullers.

However did the Invisible Children movement possibly push us beyond the limits of our imagination or a world view such that few really could get their heads around the possibilities of where this movement was taking us or did Invisible Children really get it right and maybe its potential success really poked the tiger in the eye and it was an idea that could not be allowed to succeed.

I like my Starbucks and my timeshare in the sun just as much as the next consumer but I am not too naive as to disbelieve that powerful forces control and shape our lives in ways we cannot imagine. However if the hydra can learn and react, as it seems to have done quite quickly against the efforts of Invisible Children so too can Invisible Children learn and morph.

Please reach out and find new ways to keep this social experiment alive. Turn the noise off for a moment or two, look at your roots, trust the force that guided your hand in the first place and then hear the words in your March 6 video again and again and again. This is real and although the rock is not going anywhere let’s find a way around it. The lid is off and we are listening and although our posters and signs are few and far between they are out there. We are still talking and we believe that our continued presence can help to keep the conversation alive.

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