Viral Marketing for Controversial 'KONY 2012' Campaign Arrives in the Mission District

This actually took longer to appear than I had expected. Over the weekend, a bunch of lazy graffiti imploring Mission residents to 'STOP KONY 2012' popped up along the 24th St corridor. But the intended message of this graffiti is as confused as it is ugly. Forgive my semantic anal retentiveness, but Invisible Children's campaign to bring Joseph Kony to justice is called 'KONY 2012', not 'STOP KONY 2012'. And considering the high degree criticism and scrutiny IC's campaign has received, you can't help but ask who is actually behind this graffiti and what their message really is.

  • Was it elitist San Francisco pessimists who want to discredit Invisible Children and the 'KONY 2012' campaign's call to perpetuate the cycles of regional violence and neocolonialism in Africa? Because they literally want to 'STOP [the] KONY 2012 [campaign]'? The kind of people who can't appreciate the sincerity of an awareness campaign that has fostered more involvement, however cursory, from apathetic American youth than ever before?
  • Or is this just the work of misinformed armchair activists? Kids who watched a viral YouTube video, had a good cry, and then let some advertising campaign shape their worldview for them? People who bought a 'hella swag' t-shirt for $30, which is enough to buy an Ugandan Army soldier/rapist a new Kalashnikov so he can 'kill Joseph Kony/commit his own atrocities'? 

Either way, whether you're for or against Invisible Children's KONY2012 campaign, its methods or its message, it doesn't matter what you think. Read about the history of the conflict. Read about the state of current affairs. Read about the background of Invisible Children. Most importantly, read about what Ugandans themselves think of KONY2012 before you decide that you, and the San Diego-based Invisible Children, know what's best for Africa. Do this, and then make an informed decision about who to send your money to, and how you can most effectively and directly help Uganda, even if it's not the trendy choice.

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