Suddenly we are paying attention to central Africa

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[If someone makes us think seriously about central Africa, how cannot that be solely a good thing?]

i was avoiding this debate but conversation with my mother spilled onto Facebook.

http://keepittrill.com/online/2012/03/kony-2012-scam-stop-supporting-inv...
Via Carlitos Eliana Laguna via Favianna Rodriguez
"There are many organizations worth supporting. When it doubt, it's best to support local organizations, those that typically work under the radar and which for the most part, place most of their funds to direct services rather than to salaries, travel and film production."

The Kony 2012 Scam And Why You Should STOP Supporting 'Invisible Children'
keepittrill.com
If you are on facebook or twitter, you have surely seen by now a lot of your friends becoming so called "activists" after watching a YouTube video about "Kony 2012" and the Invisible Children organization.
Like · · Unfollow post · Share · See friendship · 20 hours ago ·

Jeff Hartman I think calling it a scam is incredibly harsh. Some of the people who are criticizing IC are pretty poorly informed themselves. The IC founders responded to a lot of the charges here: http://s3.amazonaws.com/www.invisiblechildren.com/critiques.html

Invisible Children
www.invisiblechildren.com.s3-website-us-east-1.amazonaws.com
We use the power of media to inspire young people to help end the longest-runnin...
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18 hours ago · Like

Jeff Hartman Oh, and I'm not even necessarily saying that they are the best people to support, just that a lot of the backlash I'm seeing isn't offering any creditable alternatives.
18 hours ago · Like
Benjamin Melançon Hi Jeff! The lack of alternatives offered is the real criticism of the critique i accept. I probably should have e-mailed this to my mother instead of sticking it on her wall because i wasn't ready to enter the public debate. So let me do that and see if i can make everyone mad.
30 minutes ago · Like

We on the left have failed terribly to bring news and information about what matters to people's attention, and this is no doubt particularly true for people in the US knowing anything at all about central Africa. But a failure to have been thinking about something that matters ahead of time does not behold us to accept the frame of whoever breaks it into our consciousness, even if we might thank them for bringing it to attention. So two points:
1. if you are using the criticism of Invisible Children to feel justified in doing nothing (including justifying lack of attention and fact-spreading about slap yourself out of learned helplessness and take some action (perhaps on a matter you can have more of an effect on, which brings us to point 2)
2. if "at least they are proposing something" is (like me) the best you can muster in their defense, here is a cogent argument from a Ugandan human rights professor on why supporting Invisible Children is *worse* than not doing anything http://kambale.com/kony-2012-response-from-adam-branch.html

So yeah. The world is so messed up i'm not really sure where to tell you to look for consistent coverage of central Africa from the perspective of what matters to regular people (the BBC is closest?) -- or who to support to get that sort of news -- but you could try (and support) http://therealnews.com/ -- and as for on-the-ground organizations, no, i haven't done my research. Invisible Children could have but they choose to support a campaign for more militarization instead. It's hardly radical but supporting a better world bank president would probably do much more long term for the people of central Africa than a US assassination-style raid ( http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/03/09-3 ) and as for a place in the world with a great deal of suffering, but still a great deal of hope, that as US citizens is completely in our moral responsibility to act in solidarity of its people, please, please turn your attention to Haiti. See for instance http://ijdh.org/

Permission to fix this up and use any of it wherever you want. I really don't have time to enter this debate. When we build a network of everyone for true news-sharing and effective action-taking i'll be back on this stuff full time.

Also on what we in US should do something about: http://www.squidoo.com/toward-justice-race-and-punishment-in-america