A couple of days ago, a video showed up in my Facebook news feed entitled KONY 2012. The video is made by an organization called Invisible Children which, according to their website, "is a movement seeking to end the conflict in Uganda and stop the abduction of children for use as child soldiers." The organization's goal in making this video is to make Joseph Kony, the leader of a rebellion resistance in Uganda and the Congo in Africa, famous. It is said that Joseph uses children as soldiers to help in the rebellion. Now the only thing I know about this situation is from US and European sources the very system that Kony is fighting so, right away I must question the information. Based on history, I don't believe anything coming from the US and Europe when it comes to Africa. The western forces like to paint anyone in Africa with a broad stroke only to find out that that Europe and America have manipulated the situation for their own financial gain. So in terms of the Joseph Kony story, I DON'T KNOW. But for the purposes of this post I do know the KONY 2012 video is manipulative.
I attended film school at Syracuse University where I made short films and studied the moving image. I have worked on Hollywood-made films, been in the industry for over 10 years, am currently a filmmaker and also worked in news, so I know a thing or two about how to put images together. I know manipulation when I see it. It only took me the first minute of this video to know that the KONY 2012 video, that has gone viral on Youtube and Facebook, is extremely manipulative and has nothing to do with capturing Joseph Kony. But it has everything to do with enforcing the thoughts of the Invisible Children organization. I mean think about it, do you really think that by watching a video and sharing it on Facebook, while you sit in your office or home in the U.S. is really going to get Joseph Kony arrested? Many organizations become very desperate when they want to do whatever they set out to do, (I see the same kind of thing with PETA) and will use various ways to do that, including manipulative video.
To break the video down is very easy, start out with video that everyone can relate to, in the western world it is white faces... no matter what race you think you are, most in the western world under western thought have been brainwashed to believe in the white facial image as the image of innocence, no matter what history actually states. Babies are good, human babies, animal babies, this will pull your heartstrings. The next step is to tell people just how important they are to the cause. What cause? The human cause. You know the cause that makes us all human on planet Earth, which you are naturally a part of, right? That will quickly dissolve into the organization's cause, which is always aligned with the human cause since the organization is made up of humans. And even if you are not part of the organization or their cause, they will tell you you are because you are human like them; this usually instills a sense of belonging and purpose without having to do anything but continue to watch the video. Once the organization has you invested, the rest is easy-peasy, for shock value, show the hard stuff, the uglier the better, show the stuff that brings home the message, that this is evil and you are good and must help by stomping out evil. This video has some prior help because it is set in Africa, whose image has been manipulated in the western world for centuries as being that mysterious place over there filled with savages. This was in your psyche way before you even sat down to watch the video. Therefore, anything bad or evil coming out the Africa continent is automatically believable to the western eye. By now you should be riled up in your seat at home or in your office ready to go do something, but what? The organization will help you with that, they will give out simple instructions, "Share this video," so that the organization's thoughts about the situation can be spread without question, without a retort by the accused, by the one-way news station of you. You, my friend, have just been had. This organization wasn't trying to make Joseph Kony famous, they are trying to make themselves famous. Mission accomplished.
Like I said, this video has nothing to do with Joseph Kony, but everything to do with what people are willing to believe based on no known information, prior brainwashing and a very good story. What I have learned in my life so far is that the truth doesn't need a song and dance for it to be known, and in order to change something, you have to be actually involved in the situation, not a mere spectator. So, be careful of what you believe in, and be very careful of highly packaged videos with manipulative imagery passing themselves off as truth, if you can spot them. Question everything, even this post.
Written By: Xelinda Aïda