I have to write about this.
I have SO many other things to write about right now (and so many things to do… take care of my son! nurture my business! work at my full-time job! clean the house! eat! sleep! oh wait, sleep’s not on the list lately…).
But I can’t NOT write about this.
Here’s the scoop. I finally got around to watching the ‘Kony 2012’ film.
Yes, I wept.
Yes, I was inspired.
Dammit, if a ‘villain’ threatened to kidnap my son and train him to kill me and then inflict brutality on others, wouldn’t I want to stop him?
Dammit, if that same villain were abducting my daughter and making her a slave to his base sexual desires, wouldn’t I want to put and end to that?
Dammit, if we had the chance to stop Hitler before he committed egregious crimes against humanity… wouldn’t we?
But something made me squirm in my beautifully patterned Parson’s chair, as I watched the video from my MacBook Pro on my elegant rustic wood desk.
A phrase. A phrase blazed across the screen as the music rose to a you’d-have-to-be-a-monster-not-to-feel-moved, tear-inducing pitch.
WE WILL FIGHT WAR.
Hmm… I thought.
I’m not really sure how ‘fighting’ against a fight (which is what war is… a magnified fight) actually, um… gets rid of it.
If someone hits me, and I hit back, it’s possible for me to win.
But when I win, I 1) make that person feel small, less-than, reduced, insecure, inferior… and thus reduce his or her place in the role of society (and don’t even get me started on who’s role in society is more important and how the f—- we would EVER decide that) and / or 2) make that person go away temporarily, until he or she has had sufficient time and practice to hone her or his skills at beating the ever-loving crap out of me.
I’m not really seeing how that’s a permanent victory.
But you know what doing the opposite of that looks like?
Whenever I have a chance to view someone else as an equal, when I give another person the opportunity to share my place as a child of the Universe / God / Divine / Source / Eternity / Allah / Tao / whatever it may be… I win. Even if I die in the process.
Fact is, I’d rather die telling the Truth-with-a-capital-T, than hiding in shame and silence watching the world go the way of the lemming (though having said that, I realize that misconceptions abound about that species’ behavior…).
And, by viewing someone else as an equal, I’m NOT suggesting ‘condoning someone else’s actions and asking for more of the same, thank-you-sir-may-I-have-another.’
Hang in there with me for a sec, please, will you?
Another thing bothered me as I watched this video… which featured the ADORABLE little toddler-aged son of the filmmaker, who said that he felt ‘sad’ when he thought about the ‘bad guy’… was the following.
This video (and if you haven’t seen it, you can watch it here) highlighted the world’s ‘worst’ criminal as listed by the International Criminal Court. And that criminal is, according to the video, Joseph Kony.
But when the list of ALL criminals compiled by the International Criminal Court flashed across the screen, I actually paused the video, rewound it, and made a feeble attempt to see the other names listed… because it sure seemed to me that ALL of them were in Africa (though the camera zipped through them in a theatrically rapid fashion).
ALL of the world’s worst criminals live in Africa?
So when the video was finished, and I had blown my nose and wiped my tears, I said a little prayer at the altar of the almighty Google.
Let’s just see whether there’s a dissenting opinion on this whole Kony thing, and what that dissenting opinion might look like… shall we?
And what I found confirmed my suspicion that the Kony film appears to be propaganda at its finest.
There’s this. Just a couple of tidbits of which include,
The US/Western-backed dictator Yoweri Museveni is somehow never mentioned in the film. A man’s whose iron fist, and human rights violations, have given rise to a monstrous opposition movement like the Kony-led Lord’s Resistance Army. And, Museveni has been involved in numerous atrocities, and crimes against humanity himself; and about 40% of the Ugandan people live in immense poverty under Museveni’s authority.
US militarism being promoted as a solution or panacea, is never an answer. American military advisers going into a nation is exceedingly rarely — if ever — good; and certainly not for the ostensible end of humanitarianism.
And then there’s this. A couple of the most relevant paragraphs of which include these statements:
Well, the biggest issue that I’ve raised or perhaps the easiest to understand to begin with is that the Lord’s Resistance Army, led by Joseph Kony, was actually forced out of Uganda by the Ugandan military in 2006. So I came to start paying attention to this “Kony 2012” campaign because all of a sudden on all of the places that I monitor - things happening in Uganda - there were these hordes of people saying stop the war in northern Uganda. Let’s go to northern Uganda and get rid of Kony. And there is no war in northern Uganda anymore, not since 2006. The LRA is still what I like to call a regional wrecking ball. It’s still raiding and massacring and abducting in neighboring countries, but northern Uganda itself is peaceful.
And only 15 minutes into this 30-minute film is it mentioned that the LRA left northern Uganda, and they don’t mention the year, and it’s only a few second in the 30-minute video. So it’s easy to understand why people who are directed by celebrities or whatever might misunderstand this. But I think if the goal is to raise awareness and you define awareness as more than just: I know Joseph Kony’s name, and I’ve watched this video, and I shared it on Facebook - awareness means understanding some basic facts about where the LRA is and where Kony is today. Because if you want to stop him, you have to understand that he has a tiny force scattered in a vast jungle area across three countries. And so it’s not simply a matter of flicking a switch and saying, yep, we voted. Let’s stop Kony now.
And secondly, let’s say that U.S. special forces supporting Uganda special forces cornered Kony and a bunch of the people fighting with him currently in LRA, how many of those people are abducted and brainwashed soldiers - children? Probably a lot of them. And so what if they shoot back? That’s, I think, a reason you can’t just say, let’s just fly a drone and blow up the whole camp if we can find it. And frankly, the area is so big that it’s tough to use drones anyway, although some has been given to the Ugandan government as part of this military aid.
What’s being said here, folks, is that not only does this film dismiss much larger problems in Uganda by focusing microscopically on the (admittedly egregious) crimes of this ONE villain Kony… but it overlooks the fact that, in order to capture Kony by force, we must also kill the army of children who are his liege.
Further research led me to question whether we’re fighting about oil again here, peeps.
Please know, I am NOT advocating the violence and brutality that Joseph Kony- nor ANY of the other incredibly confused criminals of any kind roaming this earth- perpetrate upon his or her fellow being.
What I’m calling for is for us to WAKE THE F—- UP.
What will create transformation on this planet is NOT more of us clucking our tongues (or succumbing to tears based on a heart-rending portrayal of yet another ‘bad guy’) and saying Oh dear God the world is going to hell in a handbasket but if I just click vote here now and order this thirty dollar kit I’ll be contributing to the solution…
The planet needs us to WAKE THE F—- UP.
Sorry, did I just repeat myself?
Please don’t mistake my urgency for anger. I’m not angry at all.
In fact, I applaud this filmmaker for doing what he felt was best to bring attention to a matter he felt needed attention.
By virtue of the fact that he brought attention to it, it needed attention. (It happened- therefore, it should have happened.)
And here’s where my ‘two cents’ worth’ comes in.
What if we looked at something like the Kony 2012 film and decided that YES, I will wake up to Hitler-like atrocities… but I will wake up to them in my very neighborhood. In fact, my bedroom. My living room. My kitchen and closet.
What if we asked ourselves, How can I change the planet for realz, without the support of George Clooney and Angelina Jolie… without the glamour of a trendy bracelet that indicates Yeah, DUDE, I’m against child slavery and rape and assorted bad shit…?
What if we all woke up and looked at ourselves in the mirror and asked ourselves, How can I transform the thoughts that I am thinking RIGHT NOW, right here, in this space?
What if it doesn’t matter what an unknown, unseen, undefinable dictator + militant is doing halfway across the globe? What if the only thing that matters to the entire planet is the reflection in the bathroom mirror?
What if (and I know this is a stretch) the reason we are so up-in-arms about this Ugandan monster is that we have yet to forgive ourselves for our own crimes against humanity?
As in, Where am I crucifying my own parents? Where am I taking up arms and fighting against my fellow man? (I’m speaking metaphorically here, of course… but WHERE? Where could these things be true in your own life?)
What if Joseph Kony (and Hitler, for that matter) have made a pact with the Universe to inhabit this planet so that we will WAKE THE F—- UP and realize our own part in our future?
THAT is a question worth pondering.
Can you tell me for sure that you know the answer to it?
Truth is, when I see a video of a toddler frowning in consternation at a photo of the ‘bad guy’… I think, We’re not there. We’re just not there yet.
‘Cause the truth of the matter is (or the heart of the question is)- Who is the bad guy? Where does he start and end? Does he start at age [fill-in-the-blanks-maybe-13-when-puberty-hits-and-we-can-start-to-hate-him-cause-he-has-body-odor]?
Does he start earlier than that? Perhaps the first time his parents made him feel like sh#t about himself? Could he have been 5 years of age? 3? 7? 10? WHEN?
What moment in time do we decide to no longer forgive, but to hate? And how do we think hating anyone else on this planet makes us more… loving?
And where does this villian end? ‘Cause Hitler and Khomeini and Gaddafi and Hussein and… Gee-Why-In-The-World-Haven’t-Any-Western-Leaders-Made-The-List-In-Recent-History? have all performed their fair share of ‘horrific’ deeds, and it seems there’s always a new one to hate, and to hunt down and kill.
So… where exactly does this hatred end?
Perhaps it ends with the idea that the hatred is simply a misdirected idea.
That it’s our own hatred (yes, each and every one of us to varying degrees) turned inward that causes global hatred.
This is (I think) the most radical blog post I’ve ever published.
I’m actually, like, f—-ing terrified to post it.
Which is exactly why I will anyway.
I believe in the power of the Universe. I believe that there is a plan for us all. I believe there are no accidents…
AND… I believe I was meant to watch this film tonight, and to write this post. And that you were meant to read it.
The question is… what will we do next?
I certainly don’t believe I have all the answers. As I said at the beginning of this post, why would I want to perpetuate a world where someone enlists children into slavery, rapes them, and trains them to commit crimes against humanity? You bet I want to see those things end.
But I want to see them end because we transform the planet. I want to see them end because each of us looks within and discovers how we create that transformation on a moment-to-moment, heartbeat-to-heartbeat basis.
I want to see us look around at what’s 1 foot, 2 feet, 13 feet from us… and I want us to feel compelled to make a change HERE.
This change usually takes much more than the click of a mouse. It usually takes more than a tear shed for a child we’ve never met (and will probably never meet). The change takes place in a heartbeat.
Maybe within this heartbeat you are compelled to take action on the Kony 2012 film. Fabulous.
Maybe within this heartbeat you are compelled to look deeper within. Fabulous, too.
Either way, please PLEASE take the time to examine your own motives. Please take the time to ask yourself this question:
Am I contributing to the cause, or the solution?
Such a simple question. And yet so profound.
Yep, this space is not the one in which to launch a comment stream. So if you wanna do it, PLEASE feel free to use this post as a launchpad for that.
Hell, you are obligated in no way to attribute this post as the catalyst to the conversation.
Consider it ‘open source’ and ‘open heart’ dialogue.
Take it wherever you want to go with it.
My hope (yes, a flimsy strategy, to be sure) is that the topic will light a tiny spark in you, which in turn will set fire to the kind of revolution that has the power and brilliance to change the world.
C’mon… let’s see what ya got. ;-)