I encourage you to watch Invisible Children’s KONY 2012… but, here’s one tiny caveat. Joseph Kony is not a deranged sociopath who came out of a vacuum and exsanguinated the life-blood of children in Uganda and the Central African Republic simply because he’s incarnate cruelty. Joseph Kony’s impunity was possible because an ecosystem was created which celebrated injustice and inhumanity. He represents the malignant end of a disease that KONY 2012 does not address.
Central Africa is a land filled with diamonds, timber, oil, gold, tantalum, tin, tungsten and other minerals. And the cold reality is that the funds that arm the LRA are not anonymous donors sworn to promote genocide – they’re the consumers of the products that are being ripped out of the ground and have been for years. In compliance with Dodd-Frank Section 1502 – a law that was passed to allow public companies to report and justify the “necessary functionality or production” of the use of “conflict minerals” – companies like Intel report the fact that they are aware that part of their supply chain funds “human rights atrocities.” Now, the reason I’m highlighting Intel is because, while admitting their ‘potential’ role in the conflict metals genocide, they also have been leading industry efforts to deal with this issue.
What’s missing, however, is the recognition that the Joseph Kony phenomenon is not without its patronage. Children are being robbed of their innocence not merely by ruthless warlords. Girls are not being forced into sex-slavery and death because there’s a #1 bad guy indicted by the International Criminal Court in the Hague. Young boys are not killing their parents because there’s a rogue scout troop that took things a bit too far. These crimes are happening because real companies are supporting a supply chain that they, and their investors have allowed to operate in opacity. And remember, the same Congress that authorized military trainers to go to Uganda, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo and wherever Kony may run to hide, is the Congress that passed a law stating that companies can justify their use of resources produced through genocide!
Ten percent of Facebook’s users have watched the Invisible Children video. That’s awesome. But most of them watched that video on an appliance that holds the ghost of a killed family, a raped girl, a childless gun-toting boy, an Asian indentured laborer…, and the list goes on. And until we realize that Kony is just the homicidal end of a road that our consumption has paved, we’ll stop him while hundreds of his inspired spawn operate in anonymity. As long as Section 1502 of Dodd-Frank is the best we can do; as long as we don’t pay attention to the corporate profits and the investment banks who finance the corrupt industries that provide liquidity to warlords; we will continue to inherit a world in which Joseph Kony will continue to rob, abduct, kill, and maim.
On April 20, 2012 – let’s also name the real beneficiaries of the LRA and the chaos they maintain so that corporations and investment banks rob the countries where the LRA operates. Look at your diamond ring, look at your mobile device, look at your 401(k) and realize that the ghosts in the mirror are the Invisible Children – the one’s you still don’t care about. And then, get informed and cut off the money supply so they cannot persist. How about having a day of NO ELECTRONICS PURCHASES? How about having a day where NOBODY GETS ENGAGED WITH A ‘GIRL’S BEST FRIEND’? See, if we really want to make a change, we have to stop merely naming the ‘bad guy’ and start realizing that it is US that made him and WE HAVE TO CHANGE OURSELVES to exterminate his kind in our world.