Tag Archives: sad

MCM 4: Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant

I read these because I saw the trailer for divergent and I wanted to check out the movie, but not before reading the book (since the book is usually better anyways). I wasn’t disappointed. I think it’s an interesting world and I liked the characters. I was proud of myself for reading something that was upsetting and addressed death so much without becoming anxious or panicked. It felt like I had some control over what I could enjoy instead of being too fragile to watch or read anything that might be upsetting. However, I finished Allegiant two days ago and I still feel pretty heart broken. The last time I think I cried so hard during reading a book was my first time through TFIOS. I don’t know how they will make that last novel into a movie it’s so heartbreaking. I did find an interview with the author where she discussed her rational for the heartbreaking-est bit but I still tried to find fan fiction that ended it differently, to put my poor heart at ease (I normally don’t read fan fiction so this was stretching for me, I actually also did this with Life Unexpected).

My feelings are all jumbled up inside my throat still.

I really did enjoy divergent though, even if the other two were a bit upsetting.

I wouldn’t have written that ending though. I still don’t want to believe it.

Invisible Children and KONY 2012

Last night I started to notice the KONY 2012 video popping up everywhere. I find this sort of thing extremely upsetting, so I didn’t look into it until today. There are a lot of problems with the KONY 2012 campaign, and Invisible Children as an organization that concern me. I have seen videos from Invisible Children in the past, but none that have gone viral the way this has. I believe that the creators of the video, and the people who are sharing it have good intentions. Here are some of my opinions on the matter.

First off, if you find the situation in Uganda upsetting I strongly encourage you to do further research into it. Here is a collection of articles about KONY 2012 and what’s happening in Uganda. Many of the articles I found throughout the day were gathered there, and they are mostly critical, rational analysis of the situation. There is a wealth of information out there, but those are some of the articles I found useful.

Second of all, please, whether you are considering giving to Invisible Children (or buy action kits and whatnot) or another charity, take the time to research them first. This way you can be sure you give your money to an organization who’s goals and practices are honorable.

Now I’ll be mostly summarizing points other people have brought up. If you want to go straight to those articles that’s great, but this is what I’ve come away with from my own research.

Financial Concerns

  • Invisible Children’s financial information is available here because they’re a registered non-profit
  • Out of approx $13 million dollars raised last year, over $1 million went to wages, another $1 million went to travel costs, and about $750,000 went to video production. Only about $3.5 went to direct aid, which is under 30%
  • They have a 2/4 rank on accountability and transparency (link)
  • IC has been investigated for fraud multiple times in the past
  • The three main people between IC pay themselves about $80,000 salaries out of fund-raised money

Educating How?

  • IC says they want to educate people, but their website has very little educational information, and their videos tend to be drastic simplifications of incredibly complex conflicts
  • What credentials or understanding do these filmmakers have that make them experts on Uganda, or good teachers?
  • Education and awareness, say they did achieve that, doesn’t really do any good to the people in Uganda who are actually suffering
  • In addition, I stand by the opinion that awareness is not useful without being paired with positive actions, and I don’t feel the actions that IC is endorsing are positive (I’m not a fan of the more guns approach)

The Name ‘Invisible Children’

  • Suggests that these children aren’t seen, when they are extremely visible to their communities, and all the people who have been working to improve the situation for them
  • Further implies that they are invisible unless white North Americans see them

Problems with ‘Getting Kony Famous’

  • The war in Sudan has been going on for 25+ years
  • Kony is well known among political powers, and anyone who reads or watches news about what’s going on in that region
  • Awareness =/= Change
  • Why does the awareness of a bunch of white university students matter to the actual war that is going on?

What’s up with the Time-frame?

  • Some footage is at least four years old
  • Current situation is not accurately represented, currently the LRA is down to about 1000 scattered members, and there is not much activity
  • Uganda is currently experiencing a more peaceful period
  • This information is left out to emotionally manipulate people in to action, which is unethical in my opinion

Proposed Solution – Military Action (and buy our merch!)

  • IC’s proposed solution is sending US troops into Uganda
  • Previously troops have been sent in with the intentions to capture Kony, and the result was that he got away and slaughtered 900 people in retaliation
  • Some types of peace negotiations have been made, military action would likely negate them
  • The Ugandan Military has it’s own record of raping and looting, and yet IC defends and supports them, but I’m not buying the lesser of two evils shit
  • Adding more military power in a war ravaged country seems like a bad move to me

Undermining Progress

  • As previously mentioned, Uganda has been doing better lately, and things are not in the same state they were 4 years ago
  • By leaving out any mention of positive progress made, or peace negotiations or the hard work the Ugandan people and other non-profits have put in, IC is discrediting them
  • By focusing on the war, and encouraging more military action, they take attention away from developing sustainable infrastructure, education etc. in Uganda

Where are the Ugandan Perspectives?

  • This video could have given voice to the Ugandan people, but it instead focuses on the white people
  • I can hear white people talk about how bad things are all the time, that is not as interesting to me, they are not the ones who have to overcome this
  • Ugandan people are largely treated like victims i the video, instead of showing a balance of the suffering, and the cases they have been empowered and have caused positive change
  • Basically I would be more interested to hear their experience, than how white filmmakers see their experiences

Perpetuating Stereotypes

  • In the video Ugandans were treated like victims
  • Uganda was portrayed as a war torn, impoverished, violent place, and  nothing else (the nothing else is the problem, there are always multiple sides to things)

Manipulation and Making it Easy

  • I personally disapprove of scare tactics when it comes to awareness, I don’t think it lasts
  • Exaggerated facts and skewed time frames make me suspicious of the integrity of IC
  • The actions that IC is suggesting maybe easy for everyone to do, but I don’t believe they are actually useful actions, raising money for IC is inefficient if they only pas 30% along, and military action may cause more harm, even if well intentioned
  • In addition, LRA and Kony are only one piece of what’s going on in Uganda
  • Catching Kony will unfortunately not make everything magically better

The Failures of a ‘Good vs. Bad’ Story

  • The simplified story painted portrays a clear good and bad side, it is not like that, in fact, this is just one piece of the much larger picture of what’s going on in that region
  • Taking down Kony is desirable, but have you considered that he is protected by an army of children
  • Much of LRA is made of children who have been psychologically and physical tortured – they are both victims and perpetrators
  • It is easy to say that the crimes committed are still unforgivable, until you consider it being your brother or sister or child who was abducted and forced to kill and gunpoint
  • The Uganda Army which IC supports has been accused of inhumane acts as well, and, in my opinion, should not be treated as the ‘good’ side, or given additional military power

What’s the Full Picture?

  • Too nuanced and complex to be able to understand from a 30 minute video/

So the Moral Is?

  • If you want to give to charity that’s great! Do your research first!
  • 25+ year conflicts are complicated, and hard to understand and accept, we should not do them the disservice of simplifying them
  • Do your research before forwarding viral videos, no matter how well meaning you are.
  • Mostly, just do your research and think critically.


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.”

Myopically placing the blame for all of central Africa’s woes on Kony — even as a starting point — will only imperil many more people than are already in danger.

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.


no sadness

I feel rotten.

I failed my calculus midterm.

It’s a really hard thing to move past, as the material was not so far beyond my grasp, and it was not exceedingly difficult, I just did a poor job of studying and didn’t refresh the section that most of the exam was on. I should have done the practice exam. This is probably the worst score I’ll have gotten on any test ever.

I don’t feel like I did anywhere near my best. I’m just sad. Not just sad, I feel ashamed.

I mean, if I had done my best, then at least I could be satisfied in that, that I had put in effort, exhausted myself, done all that I could have done and worked through it. But this, I don’t even feel good about it being over. I just feel sick and weary.

I’m not prepared for the three other midterms that are approaching either.

I am tired and worn out, but unjustifiably so.

I mean, what did I do that was so hard that I am deserving of whining?

I just want to sleep and cuddle and draw and watch happy movies.