A few days ago I put up a blog post titled ‘Kony 2012′. If you haven’t read it then I’ll summarise what I wrote. In the post, I was pointing out the selflessness that would motivate one human being, Jason Russell, to not only care but to go out of his way to make a difference to the lives of innocent children in Uganda that were being kidnapped and forced to join rebel leader, Joseph Kony‘s Lord’s Resistance Army. Kony 2012 is Invisible Children‘s strategy for putting a stop to Joseph Kony in Uganda. The aim is to expose Joseph Kony’s activities to the world and to sensitise enough people to put pressure on those that can actually take notice and make a difference.
I must admit that I put up that post without doing enough background research on Invisible Children, the charity organisation behind this movement. I apologise to everyone for that. The first red flag that came up for me was the fact that the Ugandan people who were supposed to be the beneficiaries of this documentary were the very same people condemning it the most! My suspicions were finally confirmed when someone who comments on this blog from time to time was kind and bold enough to draw my attention to some of the questionable practices of Invisible Children.
That exchange led me to do some further research on the creator of the documentary and the charity organisation itself. There was a sad video making the headlines over the past week or so showing Jason Russell in an undignified state of mind. There are all sorts of rumours circulating the web with regards to what may have led to his public meltdown. I don’t want to be drawn on all the controversy.
Rather, what I want to focus on in this post are some pointers we can take from this mess. Whichever way one chooses to look at it, it is clear that Kony 2012 has certainly grabbed the attention of the world. With over 83 million views on YouTube in less than a month, this video has certainly had some sort of impact. What is now in question are the motives behind it all and that is such a sad way to end what should be a powerful message of the compelling love of Christ that exists between fellow human beings.
Faith leaders in the war-torn country have mixed feelings about the video. Whilst some are glad that the world has been awakened to some of the atrocities committed in their nation, others are saddened by the fact that those who are still grieving have been rudely drawn right back into the very tragic events they are desperately trying to put behind them. Others are saying that the video is ill-timed as Joseph Kony is now an old story in the country and the impact of the documentary will be coming a little too late. One of the main reasons why faith leaders in the country are very unhappy about the video is that it does not promote a peaceful resolution to the Joseph Kony problem if indeed it still exists. Rather, the documentary is supporting a military solution which the people of the country are tired of.
There are also accusations of sensationalism, misrepresentation of the facts and oversimplified justifications but that has not stopped celebrities like Oprah Winfrey from putting their weight behind this movement.
One of the things that still strikes me about this story is the fact that people still care. Don’t get me wrong, it is imperative that our motives are in line with God’s will and His Word otherwise things can go pear-shaped. However, the amount of attention that this video has generated in its short lifespan is testament to the fact that despite the selfishness that has pervaded our generation and come to characterise the times we live in, the greatest force in the universe is still love. Not just any love but that which comes from a recognition of God’s love for us and then overflows out of our hearts to touch the lives of others around us.
I don’t know what kind of love motivated Jason Russell and his charity to do what they did. Was it the God kind of love or a love for self? You and I may never know that. The main thing is that the world now knows how much children have suffered in the hands of ungodly men in Uganda. It calls for our prayers and our giving. The focus is on the wrong thing. We must always look for the Christ in every situation. We should also pray for Jason Russell who is in a strange state of mind as the reports suggest at the moment. His family must be facing tremendous pressures through this ordeal. His motives may be questionable but God can redeem every situation.