A look on Invisible Children.
The title, I admit, sounds weird. Especially out of context.
However, it’s probably something many of you are familiar with. For those of you who don’t know:
Two days ago, March 5th 2012, a certain video went viral on Facebook (and, I’m sure, other websites that I don’t pay attention to). This video is know as KONY 2012 and was made by a humanitarian group called Invisible Children. They created it in order to generate awareness on a 26-year-old conflict in Uganda that has spread to other parts of Africa and gain support to stop it.
You can find their 30-minute documentary/video here:
I’m not here to tell you to go out there and openly participate in their cause.
I won’t even tell you to watch the video.
It is just 30 minutes long, but to some of you it could be a whole 30 minutes. We all have a different senses of time and daily schedules, so watch this at your own leisure or discretion. Either way, I’m not here to enforce any viewpoints or movements on others.
Instead, I’d like to take a step back from all of this and look at the situation from as objective of a perspective as possible.
Let’s take a minute to see what they’ve accomplished. In the matter of a day or two, they got their message out quickly and efficiently to so many people. They, in turn, spread it to their friends and the connections just keep going. Their cause is now all over one of the most popular social networking sites as well as other websites due to their success.
This is, of course, all due to the aid of technology.
As we all know, we’re now able to “flatten” the world through these instantaneous connections on the world wide web.
It’s truly remarkable what can be done.
Yet at the same time, it makes me sadly aware of how ignorant we are despite this flattening of the world.
I am disappointed to say that I did not know of these events happening in Uganda prior to watching this video. I will offer no excuses other than my blatant ignorance of this part of the world (and to be honest, other parts as well). I can’t believe that such a thing has been going on for 26-years so out of U.S. public notice. I’m not the most updated news-follower ever, but there’s no way I would miss something like this in the media. It’d be big and it’d be everywhere, as it is becoming now.
But aside from my general ignorance, think about it: so many of us (I assume from the reactions of my friends and others) had no idea this was occurring.
Despite instantaneous connections
Despite the widespread information network
Despite easy accessibility to media and other sources
Despite all of these advanced resources.
When we see how technology can push something like this viral in a matter of hours, we feel like technology and communication have improved in leaps in bounds. Yet, when we see the fact that this somehow went under our noses for 26 years, it feels — at least to me — like we’ve been sitting in place. As if having such ease and accessibility has given us the illusion of knowledge to the point where we can be confidently ignorant about such events happening as we speak.
Some may argue that this was in a different continent, and one that contains developing nations no less. How can be expect to know everything?
Well, then what about all the other events that we find out about? The conflicts in Syria, the protestors in Libya, and economic issues in Europe: those all take place on different continents. Yes we have a closer relationship with Europe. Yes, we keep a close eye on Libya and Syria, but that all started from something: you don’t just watch and watch until something happens. Something happens which causes you to watch.
The same goes for incident. It’s impossible that no one knew about this — after all, how did the ones starting this movement find out? The local and government officials aren’t stupid or blind.
The problem is it was somehow kept under wraps for such a long time. The word never got spread out. Maybe those who did hear of it thought it wasn’t the biggest problem the U.S. needed to face. Maybe we’ve all been too occupied with everything else. Maybe people didn’t think much of it. After all, on a general basis, we know much less about Africa and African culture than that of places like Europe.
But whatever the reason, it didn’t remain hidden for 1 or 3 years: it was hidden for 26 years.
To me, that’s unimaginable.
It should be impossible.
Yet it wasn’t.
What do we take from this?
Well, for me, we are sometimes too confident in the beautiful technology that we have developed. Yes, we’ve accomplished so much, but it’s no reason to become confident.
Just because we’ve flattened the world, doesn’t mean it’s an open book.
It may just be even more important to understand the world now that we think it’s so “flat.”
If anything, it might be even more difficult to pick facts from fiction and important from meaningless. Such is the complicated world we both live in and fabricate…