Ohhh dear. Things have gone a bit tits up for the guys behind Kony 2012, haven’t they? Since the video went viral a month ago today (wow, a whole month – how many people have thought about it since that day?), the team behind Kony have become less and less like the Fellowship setting out to destroy the Ring (a.k.a Kony) and more like those fatally flawed characters we love to hate. Or hate to love, however you may see it.
The campaign seemed to get off to such a rosy start, plaguing social networking sites and media across the world in ways that have not been seen since 2 Girls 1 Cup came out. Like Boromir, the campaign had elements of its character that were undoubtedly questionnable, such as the financial side of Invisible Children, the nature of tackling the problem, the timing of the campaign, and whether they should take the ring for themselves to save Gondor. However much it was possible to criticize the campaign though, like Boromir, Invisible Children had their heart in the right place at the end of the day.
The reasons for Kony’s media hits since then have been sadly less heroic. The next thing we heard about the people behind the epidemic was ten days later, when co-founder Jason Russell did a Gollum. The narrator of the video was taken to a San Diego hospital after he was found semi-naked and screaming at traffic. Overwhelmed by the global attention to his Preciousss, Invisible Children head Ben Keesey stated that “severe emotional toll” had led to an “unfortunate incident”, with local police officers responding to a call to “check the welfare of an individual who was said to be running in the street, interfering with traffic, screaming – one person said that he was naked and masturbating.”, according to San Diego police spokeswoman Andra Brown.
Now, footage has come out revealing Invisible Children’s invisible agenda. Like Saruman sending Wormtongue to warp the mind of King Theoden, aforementioned Jason Russell is heard in an audiotape from a 2005 Christian conference in San Antonio calling his organisation a “Trojan Horse” being sent to introduce his group’s version of Christian fundamentalism to the secular realm (Please don’t be offended if you are Christian and reading this, it was the best LOTR analogy I could think of, there is no way Invisible Children are as bad as Saruman by any stretch of the imagination. Saruman was the baddest penny there ever was. Except Sauron.).
The footage has come out days after Kony 2012 had been found to have extensive ties with fundamentalist organisation The Family (more commonly known as The Fellowship. No, really. I couldn’t make this stuff up!), a religious and political group that do not appear to love their neighbour as thyself.
The Fellowship, based in America, has long been involved in Uganda and have partnered closely with the government, but not necessarily to the country’s good. They helped turn the successful “ABC” HIV/AIDS reduction approach, which had promoted both abstinence, marital fidelity, and condom use, towards an approach that stressed fidelity and abstinence but not condoms. Uganda’s HIV/AIDS rate reduction “miracle” subsequently reversed, so that the country is the only nation in East Africa with a rising HIV rate. The Fellowship is also said to be behind Uganda’s abhorrent ‘Kill the Gays Bill’ , a call for a gross abuse of human rights that has been condemned by religious and political leaders throughout the world.
So, it seems Russell and Keesey and the rest of Invisible Children have gotten lost on their journey to destroy the LRA, and have found themselves with the wrong sort of Fellowship, without a friendly wizard (i.e. Gandalf) to steer them in the right direction. It’s a sorry state of affairs really, but I don’t think that the original, good motives should be lost behind recent revelations, just as Boromir should not be remembered for his attempt to steal the ring from Frodo.