Friday, April 13, 2012

Mengestu on Kony 2012

I didn't think I would have anything book-related to share about Invisible Children's Kony 2012 campaign to apprehend Joseph Kony, the Ugandan rebel leader indicted by the International Criminal Court.  Amnesty International USA has provided several helpful commentary, context and action suggestion posts on their blog.  But then I discovered that one author we've read, Dinaw Mengestu (The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears), has written a provocative critique (Not a Click Away: Joseph Kony in the Real World) for Warscapes
What makes Kony 2012 especially frustrating, however, is that the film traffics in a sentimental and infantilizing version of Africa that is so prevalent we don’t even notice it. The idea behind a name such as “Invisible Children” is on par with the sentiments of the first colonists who claimed to have discovered the New World and Africa: We didn’t know about it, therefore it didn’t exist. ...
That same self-centered logic is the driving force behind the film’s solution: Make Kony famous in America, and that will solve the problem.
I highly recommend the whole piece.  I was also very interested to discover Warscapes, a promising new online magazine. Both Mengestu and another author we've read, Nuruddin Farah (Secrets) serve on it's advisory board along with a few more authors we have considered and I expect will read some day soon. Start by browsing the Art section and then let your self wander over to the literature and reportage.
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