How’s everyone’s weekend going so far? I am enjoying the luxuries of home once again, since most people on my floor headed home for the weekend! I will fill you guys in on all the little things I love about being home on the weekends tomorrow….
But for now I just have a few random things I want to chat with you all about! Not really any flow or connection between the points but two things I’ve been wanting to discuss!
The Invisible Children Seminar
As I mentioned in my last post, on Thursday I had the opportunity to attend a presentation on campus put on by the activist group Invisible Children. Even if you don’t think you’ve heard of them, you probably have. Remember KONY 2012? The campaign that went viral through a 30 minute video about Joseph Kony and his army of child soldiers in Central Africa? Well, Invisible Children is the group behind that whole movement and the continuing attempts to bring a 26 year long war in Africa to an end.
The presentation was really informative and I learned a lot of background context on the conflict going on in Africa that I hadn’t known before. We were shown another one of the group’s movies (focused more on their rescue attempts and work on the ground in Africa) and listened to a testimonial from an actual Ugandan refugee. A Q and A session took place at the end and this is when I started to think a little more deeply about everything I had been presented.
As you know, the whole KONY campaign became pretty notorious in the news not only for the violent atrocities that it highlighted, but for the controversy surrounding it because of its founders “strange” naked antics and accusations that it was more of scam than a real movement for change (critics have called them “slactivists”).
[Jason Russel, the founder]
I never looked into it too much and just went with the notion that people will always be there to criticize you…even if you’re apparently doing something really good like the Invisible Children group. While I still feel that the group is definitely working towards a worthwhile cause, after attending the seminar, I can definitely see why some people have raised suspicion.
One of the questions asked during the Q and A session really sparked this thinking within me. Someone asked how many people were currently involved in Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army and one of the speakers responded: “250-400″….I waited for them to finish their thought…thousand? Million? SOMETHING?! 250 to 400 people period? I couldn’t believe that it was such a small number.
And don’t get me wrong, I am in NO WAY saying that 250 to 400 people are not worth saving. Every life is important and anyone that is being denied their human rights should be advocated for. But what I thought was strange is how Invisible Children seems to exaggerate the magnitude of the conflict in Africa. Through there video’s and advertisements, they make it seem as though millions of people are being abducted and forced into service.
Their movement has become incredibly large with millions of volunteers and donors, and I can’t help but think it has only grown so much because people are under false conceptions of the magnitude of the situation.
I had always wondered why more international governments didn’t get involved if this conflict in Africa was so horrible. The way it is portrayed by IC makes it seem as if this is a cause for global concern. But after hearing that only a few hundred people are being affected, it makes sense that governments haven’t been able to justify allocating funds to this crisis.
And as for the accusations surrounding the funds that have been donated to the cause, it does seem possible that the group has chosen a small (yet still horrible!) crisis to focus on, and even exploit in a way, in order to gain attention and profit. They do layout how their money is used, but some of the wording is vague and their graphics show allocations to things like “general costs”….whatever that is.
I always give people the benefit of the doubt, but I am starting to see both sides of the arguments (the ones that claim a scam and the ones that believe in the credibility of IC’s mission) with more of an open mind and definitely think I need to do some more research about IC, and the African war, itself before I draw conclusions on the validity of the movement.
What are your thoughts on Invisible Children?
Did you follow their fifteen minutes of fame when the KONY campaign came out?
What did you think about their founder’s ‘mental breakdown’?
Jill asked me this question a few days ago and I thought it all of you might be interested as well so I decided to answer it in a post rather than a personal email.
To be honest, I was definitely worried about how my ‘healthy’ lifestyle would be perceived by my fellow college students. I obviously don’t fit the characteristics of your ‘typical college student’ and was afraid that the judgement I felt in highschool would carry over to college.
But I am happy to report that, so far, it hasn’t! Everyone has been great and really receptive to other people’s differences! In college, everyone just kind of does their own thing. We are on our own now and everyone is working to achieve their own goals. So judging people for their personal choices and focusing in on every little thing another person does, doesn’t really happen much. I mean I am sure some people are a little weirded out by my lifestyle because it’s different from theirs, but no one has openly expressed any judgement! Not only that, but other people seem to be more health and exercise conscious too! There are always people going for runs, heading to the gym, and cooking food on our floor! So I don’t feel that out-of-place! We all have little quirks and idiosyncrasies that make us unique and I think in college (or at least Canisius!) people are more aware and open to that!
As for my roommates specifically, they have been amazing! We all are different in the way we do things…but we also have a lot in common! It makes for a great dynamic and a great experience in learning how to live with people who are different from you!
I’ll be back soon with some more fun and possibly even a special giveaway for you all hand-picked by muah! I’m feeling generous! 🙂
Today’s Healthy Help: Helped a lady in a motor scooter do some grocery shopping today while I was at the store. She was having trouble reaching some of the items and there were no store clerks around to help so I offered!