Stay informed everyone…
On Kony 2012: I honestly wanted to stay as far away as possible from KONY 2012, the latest fauxtivist fad sweeping the web (remember “change your Facebook profile pic to stop child abuse”?), but you clearly won’t stop sending me that damn video until I say something about it, so here goes:
Stop sending me that video.
The organization behind Kony 2012 — Invisible Children Inc. — is an extremely shady nonprofit that has been called ”misleading,” “naive,” and “dangerous” by a Yale political science professor, and has been accused by Foreign Affairs of “manipulat[ing] facts for strategic purposes.” They have also been criticized by the Better Business Bureau for refusing to provide information necessary to determine if IC meets the Bureau’s standards.
Additionally, IC has a low two-star rating in accountability from Charity Navigator because they won’t let their financials be independently audited. That’s not a good thing. In fact, it’s a very bad thing, and should make you immediately pause and reflect on where the money you’re sending them is going.
By IC’s own admission, only 31% of all the funds they receive go toward actually helping anyone [pdf]. The rest go to line the pockets of the three people in charge of the organization, to pay for their travel expenses (over $1 million in the last year alone) and to fund their filmmaking business (also over a million) — which is quite an effective way to make more money, as clearly illustrated by the fact that so many can’t seem to stop forwarding their well-engineered emotional blackmail to everyone they’ve ever known.
And as far as what they do with that money:
The group is in favour of direct military intervention, and their money supports the Ugandan government’s army and various other military forces. Here’s a photo of the founders of Invisible Children posing with weapons and personnel of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army. Both the Ugandan army and Sudan People’s Liberation Army are riddled with accusations of rape and looting, but Invisible Children defends them, arguing that the Ugandan army is “better equipped than that of any of the other affected countries”, although Kony is no longer active in Uganda and hasn’t been since 2006 by their own admission. These books each refer to the rape and sexual assault that are perennial issues with the UPDF, the military group Invisible Children is defending.
Let’s not get our lines crossed: The Lord’s Resistance Army is bad news. And Joseph Kony is a very bad man, and needs to be stopped. But propping up Uganda’s decades-old dictatorship and its military arm, which has been accused by the UN of committing unspeakable atrocities and itself facilitated the recruitment of child soldiers, is not the way to go about it.
The United States is already plenty involved in helping rout Kony and his band of psycho sycophants. Kony is on the run, having been pushed out of Uganda, and it’s likely he will soon be caught, if he isn’t already dead. But killing Kony won’t fix anything, just as killing Osama bin Laden didn’t end terrorism. The LRA might collapse, but, as Foreign Affairs points out, it is “a relatively small player in all of this — as much a symptom as a cause of the endemic violence.”
Sending money to a nonprofit that wants to muck things up by dousing the flames with fuel is not helping. Want to help? Really want to help? Send your money to nonprofits that are putting more than 31% toward rebuilding the region’s medical and educational infrastructure, so that former child soldiers have something worth coming home to.
Here are just a few of those charities. They all have a sparkling four-star rating from Charity Navigator, and, more importantly, no interest in airdropping American troops armed to the teeth into the middle of a multi-nation tribal war to help one madman catch another.
The bottom line is, research your causes thoroughly. Don’t just forward a random video to a stranger because a mass murderer makes a five-year-old “sad.” Learn a little bit about the complexities of the region’s ongoing strife before advocating for direct military intervention.
There is no black and white in the world. And going about solving important problems like there is just serves to make all those equally troubling shades of gray invisible.
When my body had forgotten its purpose,“December,” Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz (via clavicola)
when it just hung off my brainstem like whipped mule.
When my hands only wrote. When my mouth only ate.
When my ass sat, my eyes read, when my reflexes
were answers to questions we all already knew.
Remember how it was then that you slid your hand
into me, a fork in the electric toaster of my body. Jesus,
where did all these sparks come from? Where was all
this heat? Remember what this mouth did last night?
And still, this morning I answer the phone like normal,
still I drink an hour’s worth of strong coffee. And now
I file. And now I send an email. And remember how
my lungs filled with all that everything? Remember
how my heart was an animal you released from its cage?
Remember how we unhinged? Remember all the names
our bodies called each other? Remember how afterwards,
the steam rose from us, like a pair of smiling ghosts?
This is Visas. She is one of our cats and has been blind since birth (she gots no eyeballs). Despite the handicap, she gets around really well, beats up the other cats on a regular basis (they try to go for her eyes and she’s like “lolwut?”), and is the best bug/mouse hunter in the house. She’s so legendary, we even made a few comics about her.
However, some nights when the house gets too quiet, she’ll get lost and will wonder aimlessly yodeling until Sarah or I find her and she gets her bearings again.
This is one of those nights and that’s why I’m on Tumblr at 2:29 am. Gonna take this kitten to bed with me and see if we both can’t get some sleep. X_x
The real damage is done by those millions who want to ‘survive.’ The honest men who just want to be left in peace. Those who don’t want their little lives disturbed by anything bigger than themselves. Those with no sides and no causes. Those who won’t take measure of their own strength, for fear of antagonizing their own weakness. Those who don’t like to make waves—or enemies. Those for whom freedom, honour, truth, and principles are only literature. Those who live small, mate small, die small. It’s the reductionist approach to life: if you keep it small, you’ll keep it under control. If you don’t make any noise, the bogeyman won’t find you. But it’s all an illusion, because they die too, those people who roll up their spirits into tiny little balls so as to be safe. Safe?! From what? Life is always on the edge of death; narrow streets lead to the same place as wide avenues, and a little candle burns itself out just like a flaming torch does. I choose my own way to burn.
Sophie Scholl (1921-1943). Anti-nazi activist, and one of the members of Die Weisse Rose (The White Rose).
:i’ve had my shirt off at work recently and people are all like, “WHAT’S THAT THING ON YOUR BACK?”i just tell them that it’s the major river systems of the United States— and they’re all like, “WELL THAT DOESN’T LOOK LIKE THE UNITED STATES…”
and i just smile. because that’s the point. i hardly ever tell people why i got the tattoo because they are turned off by my explanation.
but when i explain, i say: “it’s a critique of nationalism, of borders, of conceptions of space. it’s a promotion of fluidity in cultures and in the self.” i state that my tattoo is inspired by the writings of Gloria Anzaldua on border cultures and border peoples (both actually and conceptually), but most folks are unfortunately unfamiliar with her writing.
but there’s also my geographer side to it. i think it’s cool that John Wesley Powell once stated that the places we live would be better off demarcated by the watershed we live in (even though i dislike the concept of demarcation). few took his thoughts seriously on the matter, so now we have many national and state borders found in rivers (like the Rio Grande or the Ohio). this really doesn’t make sense because rivers are the centers of their watersheds and greater ecosystems, not the harsh edge. to have a river on the fringe in this way highlights the disregard humans have concerning viewing themselves as part of the environment in which they live and the disregard colonialism often has for the surroundings in which it usurps.
this is one of the most beautiful things i have ever seen.
A great many stories, songs, ceremonies and the like which can be found in books are flawed in many ways. In some cases, the translations are bowdlerized or inaccurate. Imagine what it would be like if Shakespeare’s plays had been written in Lakota and we only knew his work in English through a single translation of Othello done by an 18th century puritanical and racist Baptist missionary with a tin ear who transcribed the play from a verbal recounting of it by a slightly senile octogenarian who never liked the theatre that much.Joseph Bruchac, “Four Directions: Some Thoughts on Teaching Native American Literature” (Studies in America Indian Literatures, Vol 3, summer 1991)