By: The Class of 2015
It started for us here. We know it’s a lot to read, that’s why we made a video (read to the end and join the ongoing conversation):
Student A: I don’t like people who don’t respect other’s opinions and make jokes about them. I’m applying this especially to the Joseph Kony ordeal. Okay people, it’s fine to think that Invisible Children may not be doing the most that they could but that doesn’t mean you have to bash on them and discredit them and talk trash and joke about them. Also, if you are going to refute them, at least put up some valid arguments. The only point I have really been hearing is that people say that Invisible Children is spending all of their money on advertisement. Don’t you understand! That is what the whole organization is about! They don’t want to give money to Uganda because their government is still a little corrupt. They even said that their purpose is to advertise! They want to get the US government to take action and to take a little time out of their regular schedule to send some troops over to arrest a man who has abducted children who he has made them into killers and sex slaves. Also, when people say this is their problem and not ours gets me mad. IT IS AN ABOMINATION! These children are human too, and their lives are being taken away. How can you not have the decency to want to save them? That is one of the most basic ideologies of Christianity, to help others in need.
Student B: I totally agree with you that people need to stop making fun of this organization, myself included. They are definitely raising the most awareness for this issue by far. But the co-founder gets detained for “pleasing himself in public” is just awful. That aside, I think the organization does some good to help stop Kony. Although he isn’t a threat in Uganda anymore, he is one in some other countries. I think there are other charities that probably give more money to the cause but Invisible Children raises a ton of awareness for the problem in Africa. But I think there are better ways to donate money to help those children than Invisible Children.
Student C: The man (Jason Russell) may have good intentions at heart, I’m not arguing that, but he uses this dormant warlord as a way to do those things. Look at it this way, would you be more likely to donate money to a cause fighting a warlord with child soldiers, or one that pays for Ugandan people to go to college? And I agree, I personally bash on them quite a bit (mostly because I am jealous of the idea, it was brilliantly marketed) but you must understand that if you truly believe in this organization you need to put up with that. That’s what standing up for a cause is all about. I have as much right to make memes as you do to stand up for the cause.
Student A: Instead of giving your money to them, probably even a better thing you could do would be spread the word about Kony, either way, the end goal will be achieved, to get enough people involved so that we will finally go over and capture this war criminal. Also, just because they use propaganda and heart wrenching doesn’t mean that they are bad or a trying to trick you. I mean the stories of Jesus healing children most definitely moved the Jews and could definitely be considered propaganda. It’s not bad, it’s just the best way for the end goal to be achieved.
Student D: There is a lot that this organization does that they don’t tell us, and there is a lot that they tell us that they do which they don’t (at least not to the extent that we are lead to believe). Most of their profits go to lobbying movements instead of actually aiding the people of Uganda. That’s fine, but maybe they should call themselves a lobbying organization instead of a charity organization. As for the actual cause and message that they are trying to send, of course I agree that what goes on in those areas is completely wrong, and that those children are definitely being taken advantage of, abused, and do, indeed, need help. However, I don’t think Invisible Children really goes about it in the best way.
With all of that being said, I agree that if people don’t like it and don’t want to support it, that is completely fine and their choice. If they want to voice their opinions and/or tell others of what information they have gathered, that is also perfectly acceptable. I don’t think it is acceptable for people to be just all-out bashing and ripping on the organization as a whole, along with the people who happen to choose to support the organization. Honestly, I have heard some terrible things and I have heard some great things, but no matter how much research we do, we will probably never know the full, entire truth, therefore I think the people that use more personal attacks on the organization (such as “Gavin’s dad is such a con-artist. He doesn’t care about those people at all. He just wants money.”) are rather unnecessary and, to be honest, immature. It’s kind of like when people are arguing about something real and important, but someone realizes they are losing and instead resort to trying to insult their opponent and make them feel bad so that they can feel as if they won. Even if the organization isn’t perfect, these children really do need help, and even without supporting IC by buying their products, or sharing the video, or participating in their events, there are other ways to help the children. IC may be the biggest and most well-known organization on this situation, but I am positive that they aren’t the only one. Whether you agree with Invisible Children itself as an actual ‘charity’, the children and their problems are real.
Student E: Okay, first off, you said that Invisible Children’s main goal is to raise awareness. Well they did an excellent job at that and we sent military advisors. What more do they want? Second, I want you to read comments about this by a man named Oola. He is a Ugandan lawyer whose village was attacked. However, he claims that what is needed is an agreement between the government and LRA. Also, he says that people on the ground in Uganda don’t even want much of the help that IC is trying to gain support for. This is evident in a recent showing of Kony 2012 in Northern Uganda. The organization that played it were going to show it all around the country, but decided not to because ‘they didn’t want to cause the victims more pain and promote violence.’ The people you claim to be helping HATE Kony 2012.
The bishops in the region are also criticizing IC because IC is negating any progress they made towards peace talks. Let me remind you why the LRA began: government corruption. In 2005, both the LRA and Ugandan National Army were being investigated, and the Human Rights Watch group that investigated suggested national prosecutions take place against army officials (particularly the 11th battalion). They killed kidnapped, raped, and terrorized the people of Uganda as well, so what if needed is reform. Stopping Kony isn’t going to solve the problem. As Oola says says it is bigger than one man. Kill Kony someone will replace him. Instead you must kill the idea. What Central Africa needs is reform, not military advisors.
Also, did you really compare Jesus to propaganda? Jesus didn’t fabricate anything. IC leaves too many questions such as: Do the people of Uganda even want our help? Is stopping Kony going to stop the problem? To me spending so much money on awareness is fine, but what more do they want us to do? We sent military advisors what’s next full scale war? Or is this ‘awareness program’ just a way of trying to raise more money? I don’t know but neither do you. So please tell us, how will making Kony a household name help? What’s the next step? Oola says peace talks and reforms are the only way. Limiting this to Kony is not the answer. It is a social fault brought on by a weak economy and poor leadership. Stopping Kony shouldn’t be the goal, social reform should. IC has been criticized from all angles; from Americans and from Ugandans. It needs to plug up the wholes. The video trying to explain finances was weak and broad at best. And the collapse of its leadership isn’t a good sign. To me IC attracts too much criticism and causes too many questions to be deemed legitimate.
Student F: America can’t afford to be drawn in to every and all conflicts around the world. Countries hate us. We’re looked at terribly. If we send soldiers and weapons down to Africa, what would we be seen as? This mentality that we think we’re doing good and helping people… it has led to problems in our countries history.
Student E: I don’t have the numbers on me, but anyone who is interested if you look in the American Pageant textbook you will see that over the last 50 years, and especially in the last 10, our approval rating from foreign countries has gone down an unacceptable amount. America can no longer be the police force of the world. An Invisible Children Supporter told me today that even though we sent military advisors they still weren’t taking any action (you can correct that if it’s wrong). However, if you’re still trying to raise awareness for more U.S action, forget about it cause it ain’t happening. I guess you could make the claim that we should at least send weapons, but the U.S has been very cautious about doing so after Afghanistan, and I can’t see us supplying corrupt and ruthless governments such as Northern Uganda. As for any ground troops….well I’m not even going to dignify that with answer. It’s totally out of the question. So please anyone else who has the answer or wants to contribute, what is IC still spreading awareness about. What’s the goal”They want to get the US government to take action and to take a little time out of their regular schedule to send some troops over to arrest a man.”Are you serious? What do you think the president just sits in the oval office and say let’s say what shall we do today? I have a speech at 2 and a presidential dinner at 6 but I guess at 4 I can make time in the American governments schedule to catch a war criminal? It doesn’t work like that. Now obvious everyone wants to help those kids….but I’m not, and I’m willing to bet the American public, is not ready to lose American lives over this. We can’t solve every issue. Two thousand other children die by disease everyday in Africa. Do you know how many kids suffer malnutrition in North Korea? 5,000 people have died in Syria because of the uprising, and thousands more will if it continues. Should we send troops there too? After all as Christians we are meant to stop violence right?
Teacher: Mrs. Parker: As you know (I hope), I am a huge fan of respectful, open-ended debate. I think it is how smart people develop real solutions and achievable goals and I’m so pleased with all of you for engaging with this real world issue. Thanks in particular the student, who opened the debate. I hope you are okay with the process. Serious students, like most of you, need to have no fear. Questions often evolve answers and that’s how we all learn.
To add to the debate and your pool of information, I offer the following:
Go here, to see how peer understands the problem http://therebelreport.org/?p=4974
Go here http://visiblechildren.tumblr.com/post/18890947431/we-got-trouble ;to see IC’s original internet detractor
And go here http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2012/03/09/kony-2012-a-view-from-northern-uganda/ ;to see what Anywar Ricky Richard, a former child soldier of the Lord’s Resistance Army, and director of the northern Ugandan organization Friends of Orphans, thinks.
Student G: I must point out that Student A had some valid points. He/She is correct about the children needing more aid and support. He/She is also correct in saying that people have kind of been jumping the gun on hating on IC. If you don’t agree with them, that’s fine. I, myself, don’t particularly agree with them. Like he said though, if you are going to hate on them, please at least be able to defend your opinion and back it up with facts. Criticizing something because everyone else is can be just as bad as supporting something just because everyone else is. It seems like many people here have done their research, but please do remember that if you know about one thing, that does not mean you know about everything.
I also agree with Student A in his/her main statement. What is really being said, even bigger than the message about IC, is the message about respect. Just because you don’t like what someone is doing or don’t agree with how they go about it doesn’t give you the right to completely strip them of all dignity and insult them on every degree of everything they do. In the end, the people who try to do that are the people that really look even worse than their enemies.
Furthermore, I think sending military aid to Uganda would be the wrong way to go about this. The problem is something that many people, for whatever reason, seem rather unable to grasp. However, as Mrs. Parker even told us, Africa is a 3rd world continent, and they do have many 3rd world civilizations. There are literally still people living in tribes out there, and the truth of the matter is that they are uncivilized (judging by the standards of what is commonly considered civilized) and that we do not understand their culture. Year after year after year, people have done so many things to try to aid African children, but year after year after year we still have to do it because it doesn’t work.
A little proof of this is the ‘Blackhawk Down’ incident. I’m sure that many of you know of this or have heard of it, but for the sake of keeping things clear I will give a brief summary: a US helicopter was shot down in Somalia during the Battle of Mogadishu, which by itself is, well, not such a terrible thing to happen in times of war. The part that made it so terrible was the aftermath; troops who survived from the crash were left to battle, many wounded or at least shaken, with the enemies they encountered there, many of which were indeed just young boys around our age. Bodies were mutilated, dragged through the streets, returned with missing limbs or no head. To these people, deaths of our troops were nothing but jokes. (The personal part for me is this: most of those men were Army Rangers from 3rd Ranger Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, B Company. My father was an Army Ranger in 3rd Ranger Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, C Company. My dad knew every single one of those men, and was almost one of them.) This tragedy should say something: the people of Africa are just living in such a corrupted world that our military help – even if they wanted it, which they have shown that they don’t – would not really do much more than bringing America into another war that we have no place in. It happened in Vietnam, it happened in Iraq, and it shouldn’t happen again.
(from the blog) TEACHER: Mrs. Parker: We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. ~ Romans 12:6-8
We, right now, knowing what we know, can be the catalyst for the change we wish to see in the world. We are young and the possibilities are really endless. Let us work together to motivate the compassionate hearts and thoughtful minds of your peers, to move in what we decide is the RIGHT direction.
As a group, I would like you, the Honors Class of 2015, to ultimately create video that is trendy, useful, informative, and above all emotional enough to motivate your peers to redirect their energies to the charitable cause that we endorse. We will marshal our considerable intellectual resources and produce our own emotional propaganda (with some logic thrown in) to motivate real change for the world and leave the Johnny-come-lately criticism to others.
The blog for this week was a two-week project. Students were asked to choose the charity they thought the Seton – La Salle community should support and tell us why thier choice is the best. They could write a summary statement (include links), provide us with a prezi, create a video – whatever would be motivational and, at the same time showcases their skills.
“In my imagination, once we’ve selected and vetted a worthy cause we’ll figure out how to move your whole school to action. I’m thinking video. Turns out kids don’t like to read long things :}”