Social networking, bandwagons, fads and child soldiers

I have little doubt that you, reading this, are aware of a man called Joseph Kony.  If you in fact aren’t, perhaps you don’t use Facebook, or any other such social media?

Let me explain:  Joseph Kony is the now notorious leader of the Ugandan ‘Lord’s Resistance Army’ or ‘LRA’ who, it has come to light, is responsible for the slaughter and brutalisation of hundreds of thousands of villagers, the razing of their homes and livelihoods, and the kidnapping of children throughout Uganda and Sudan, as well as the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo) and the Central African Republic, or CAR.

Famously (or should i say, ‘now famously‘) the children who the LRA kidnaps are mostly mobilised as child soldiers in his LRA’s brutal regime, which is based on extremist Christian values.   Right now, across all social media platforms, videos, spoofs, rants and raves against this ‘war criminal’ are being touted by every man, woman and child with a Facebook or twitter account, temporarily taking precedent over pouting self-portraits, bitching about the weather, sharing of paltry, poppy music, boasting about holidays, new haircuts and ab muscles, or sharing of some other vacuous and inconsequential thoughts.

All in all, its amusing, to say the least.  And a perfect example of just how much social media actually dictates our lives.

While there is no denying the horror of the LRA’s actions (along with our inherent need for a scapegoat for all our problems) and the positivity of this ‘issue’ being ‘brought to light’, social media is making it all too easy for people to jump on a bandwagon, and high-five everyone else aboard, as we all ride off into the sunset of self-righteousness and up to our places in heaven and karmic surplus.

Sure, there is something to be gained by raising awareness, but how many ‘Kony-hater’s will really give a second thought for child soldiers when all this hyperbole dies down?  (And i doubt unfortunately, that that will even take a very long time – there are some good films out this week, and probably some great footy matches on, and stylish new shoes to uncover).

Standing up for your beliefs involves far more than reposting some regurgitated material, that someone with an agenda has fashioned to make himself famous.  – Confused?

Being famous (or notorious or well-known) is after all, the greatest desire of the vast majority of humans, and social media serves this shallow purpose to no end.

There is little doubt that we all want to be seen and heard, whatever it takes.  – What better way to expose and promote yourself (and your son) then by making a video about an extremely controversial figure, exploiting a topic that has been ignored by us all for over a decade?  “Im sick of talking about how cute my dog is in my status updates, it really just isn’t working.  I wonder what will really capture people’s attention?” ..

Fact is, child soldiers have been used in armies in developing countries all over the world for decades, and their numbers rank astonishingly, in the millions (thats right: millions).  Perhaps most widespread in Africa, there are also massive numbers (tens, to hundreds of thousands) serving in brutal armies and regimes in Bangladesh, Cambodia and Pakistan, to name just a few particular standouts (yes, there are more) practicing this disgusting means of war.

And not only are they trained, taught or forced to kill – often at very close quarters, using particularly brutal means (point-blank shootings or a severing of the jugular anyone?) – many of them are forced into sex-slavery and prostitution, or simply trafficked and sold.  Again, this – and worse – has been happening all over Africa, Asia and the subcontinent for over a decade.

So whats the point of this rant?  –  The point is:  if you believe in something, if you truly want to make a difference, you must be militant about what you believe;  you must promote awareness all the time: talk about it with your friends, your family, your colleagues, peers and associates; talk about it with random strangers you meet, and stay informed;  keep it high on your list of priorities and interests all the time and not just when the bandwagon passes by.

I dare you:  Pull your head out of your own ass.  Pull your head out of your friend’s asses.  Stop watching Jersey Shore and ‘MKR’ – stop fucking talking about it!  Stop reading ‘Grazia’ and using ‘Who Weekly’ as your sources of news.  Stop getting life advice from Guy Sebastian lyrics. Stop watching Dr Phil and Jerry Springer and Ellen (“oh but she really tackles some important social issues” – FUCK OFF!) – and all the rest.  Wake up and take a look at the world around you.  The real fucking world.  An informed  look…

looks like these guys could use a large dose of American Idol and some Xanax

There is great power in the collective consciousness, though this power is far greater, far more binding and far more real when its not just some passing fad, and actually a genuine compassion to care. Wake up and smell the roses.

We may be talking about Kony now, we may be thinking about our fellow man, but who will really be surprised when we all start tweeting and posting about the latest in reality tv?  Its time to wake up.  For real.

… and here is a friend of mine posting her concise sentiments on this matter: Does anyone else find it disturbing that only since a youth popular media outlet has posted about the LRA that people are up in arms? I am glad it has “come to light” but honestly you all need to read/watch more world news.

Amen.

after the time of writing this article, some significant information about the organisation ‘Invisible Children’ (mostly responsible for the hyperbole in spreading this anti-Kony message via their polished video) is filtering to the surface.  some of the most damming evidence against Invisible Children’s intentions and actions can be read here.  – Such information really does beg the question of the safety of such bandwagons in general – are they really roadworthy? …

in other developments, classic apathy, laziness and general lack of will to care are being perfectly displayed in some of the comment threads following this piece linked to above.  “Actually can’t be bothered” a classic portrayal of your average person’s desire to truly inform themselves.  Congratulations on your impartiality.

4 thoughts on “Social networking, bandwagons, fads and child soldiers

  1. Congrats! I enjoyed reading this post which rightly points out our “laziness” in getting in touch with what is going on in the real world. somewhere you wrote that Joseph Kony is the leader of the “soudanese LRA”. It is rather the Ugandan LRA. Joseph Kony is from Uganda and his military movement aims at overthrowing Museveni, the current president of Uganda.

  2. this guys been around for years people need to hop off the bandwagon there is more important issues at hand SMH….

  3. Brilliant writing. Will, ironically, be sharing this via FB even if it does make me a hypocrite. It articulates my thoughts wonderfully.

  4. You should do a comparison on how many people are still talking about this in a week… simply to prove your point.

    Nice work

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