09 Mar Kony 2012: In the Schools, Old-fashioned “Social Media” is Alive and Well
As it is around the world, the campaign to bring Ugandan war criminal Joseph Kony to justice is alive and well at my son’s middle school, albeit in a way particular to the no-cell-phones, no-iPads-in-the-classrooms culture typical of a middle school.
While these kids aren’t allowed to use their phones or computers duing the day as they travel from class to class, they are doing what they can—in the way they know how—to spread the word about Kony’s atrocities. They’ve got their own brand of social media, one that’s maybe old-fashioned but certainly effective.
As you undoubtedly are aware after Monday’s debut of the Kony 2012 video, Joseph Kony is a hubristic war monger who, after terrorizing Uganda for many years, has now moved his campaign of horror to other parts of Central Africa. His reign of terror supports no cause other than keeping himself in power. His signature atrocity? He brutally kidnaps children from their homes or schools and impels them to act as sex slaves or as gun-toting soldiers forced to murder their own families.
My son and his middle-school friends have inked “STOP KONY” on their fingers, tattoo-style, flashing to each other as they pass in hallways on their way from English to World Cultures. They’ve handmade old-fashioned 8 1/2″ x 11″ posters to display on the outside of their lockers. They’ve arranged a “wear black” day on April 5 to protest Kony’s horrific treatment of children the same age as these middle schoolers. They’re spreading their outrage by word of mouth, in the hallways, in the cafeteria. Sure, they go home after school and check their iDevices to stay current on the movement. But at school, they’re helping to change the world the old-fashioned way, the truly social way.
And at my other sons’ elementary school, the talk is also all of Kony. These youngsters might not be watching the video as they practice their math facts, but they’re whispering in the hallways about the horrors Kony has wrought and they’re telling their parents and their friends’ parents. They’re using the social media they know how to use.
Perhaps my three sons and their friends are in tune to the movement not because it’s the “in thing” right now, but because they’re children. Because, had they been born on another continent, they know they could have been among Kony’s victims. It’s a feeling they can’t escape. They want to help these children across the ocean, because they too are children. And because they, by comparison, have lead gilded lives.
If you haven’t seen the video, please watch, and share. Any way you can.