A Random DC Protest: Invisible Children

Did you see the earnest college students making cardboard homes on the National Mall last weekend? Did you wonder why?

Apparently, the Invisible Children campaign will end the enslavement of child soldiers in Northern Uganda by Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army through awareness and aggressive campaigning of the US government.

Aggressive campaigning that requires much use of pink by kids who didn’t know basic facts about Uganda or the LRA.

Questions like “What the capitol of Uganda?” or “Who is the leader of the LRA?” were greeted with mumbles before an answer was found. “Aboke abductions” “Night Commuters” or “Yoweri Museveni” just brought on blank stares.

Before carpeting the Mall with cardboard & kids, maybe the Invisible Children campaign should start with its own, internal, awareness campaign. Making the LRA entry of Wikipedia required reading would be a decent start.

64 Comments so far

  1. Rob (unregistered) on May 2nd, 2007 @ 1:47 pm

    Oh come on now, Wayan! A protest in DC where the people actually know what they’re protesting about? Are you trying to upset the world order here? Everyone knows it’s always about evil BusHitler and his cronies at Halliburton!


  2. Mike (unregistered) on May 2nd, 2007 @ 4:41 pm

    Yeah! Way to stick it to young people for knowing less than you!


  3. Wayan (unregistered) on May 2nd, 2007 @ 4:49 pm

    Yeah, Mike, how dare I assume those that gather for a protest know about what they protest. It was a perfect day to build cardboard boxes on the Mall.


  4. Tiff (unregistered) on May 3rd, 2007 @ 8:56 am

    I’m with Wayan on this one (and y’all know how often THAT happens). If you’re going to go to the effort of staging an event to raise my awareness of something, at a bare minimum you should be aware of the facts yourself. It’s not like it’s difficult to learn about such things- as Wayan so correctly pointed out, even spending a few minutes reading the Wikipedia page (hell, print it out and take it with you because there are a lot of names to keep straight- no shame in that) would have enabled the kids to enhance the effectiveness of their awareness-raising beyond, “child enslavement is BAD! It makes us SAD! Boooo!!!”


  5. Brittany (unregistered) on May 3rd, 2007 @ 10:01 am

    It’s almost unfair to make that generalization about all the students who took part in Displace Me (the Invisible Children Campaign). The Invisible Children campaign actually started with a documentary about the LRA and the atrocities committed in Uganda. Nearly 68,000 individuals signed up to take part and take a stand for the people in Uganda. The night in New York was filled with educational videos (via a large blow up screen and projector) and ended with participants writing letters to their Congressmen. Perhaps you came across students that had been dragged there by their friends or were there for moral support, but still, at least they showed up!


  6. Tiff (unregistered) on May 3rd, 2007 @ 11:45 am

    68,000 people entering their names into a web form doesn’t guarantee that even one of them can coherently describe the circumstances leading to the plight of the Ugandan children, or that any of them actually SAW the documentary that started the movement.


  7. Mike (unregistered) on May 3rd, 2007 @ 12:46 pm

    I think the 68,000 number refers to people who showed up to Displace Me events in person…

    http://www.invisiblechildren.com/displaceMe/


  8. mariana (unregistered) on May 3rd, 2007 @ 1:24 pm

    wow, i’m surprised. not only does this blog contain minimal research on the night and what invisible children is, but the topic of the post is about being informed. i hope everyone that is trying to help save lives and make a difference isn’t shackled to this definition of “how to help”


  9. Wayan (unregistered) on May 3rd, 2007 @ 1:33 pm

    Mariana,

    The post was about protesters lacking of understanding of what they protest, in this case Ugandan politics. Not Invisible Children nor saving lives.

    Maybe you should be more informed.


  10. Mike (unregistered) on May 3rd, 2007 @ 2:37 pm

    I got from your post that they were (or at least thought they were) protesting child enslavement more than anything else. Maybe the idea of doing that was all the information those kids needed to motivate them to try and help. Just speculation though, they could’ve also been big jerkbags looking for an excuse to play with cardboard.


  11. Abby (unregistered) on May 3rd, 2007 @ 4:09 pm

    It wasn’t even a protest. It was to raise awareness for the whole situation in Northern Uganda. What’s wrong with wanting to help someone? If you saw a person dying on the street would you stop and ask about his life and get all the facts before helping him?


  12. Julie (unregistered) on May 3rd, 2007 @ 4:22 pm

    One of the great things about this movement is that everyone is invited to the table. That means the 8yr.old twins that were sleeping in cardboard boxes on the Mall because all they knew was that a bunch of black kids in some place far away were being hurt. They don’t need to understand the LRA or Ugandan politics. They see suffering and they’re being a part of a movement to stop it. How about you Wayan? What are you doing about the kids in Uganda? Maybe it’s not your thing, but really, isn’t there enough negativity in Washington without criticizing something positive?

    I would imagine, in the time it takes to thoroughly educate the 68,000 Americans who were displaced for a night on the intricacies of Ugandan politics, and then “invite them” to take action (after of course, they pass a 50-question exam that qualifies them to take action) well, then by that time…maybe they won’t have anything for which to take a stand. Josephy Kony will have killed the thousands he intended to kill. A generation of Ugandan youth will have been decimated and more innocent lives will have been lost in Uganda.

    Yeah, that’s it. That’s what I want. Don’t act until you think you know everything. Don’t dare stand up when you see something bad happening to another person. Don’t dare allow youth to have a voice because after all, they’re just youth. What do they know?

    Good ol’ Washington…gotta love it.


  13. mariana (unregistered) on May 3rd, 2007 @ 4:28 pm

    displace me was an event to bring attention to the plight of the displaced people of northern uganda and educate those who participated in a creative way. thank you for posting about it, and hopefully people will actually look into the situation and ways to help others in africa or one of the many countries that need help. i personally have a hard time letting cynics do their thing, especially when i know there were intelligent informed individuals at the event.


  14. Michele (unregistered) on May 3rd, 2007 @ 4:59 pm

    Where you go in life all depends on your attitude. Are you a fighter or a victim? Are you going to sit on your butt and criticize all that’s wrong in the world, or are you going to actually stand up and DO something about it. Regardless what you may or may not know in your head, change comes about through people with HEART. A heart of compassion, a heart of love, a heart that’s sick and tired of apathy and injustice. As Jason Russell has been quoted of saying, “it the ones that are crazy enough to think they can change the world … that actually DO.” Love is an action. Love is getting out there and giving a damn, regardless what you know intellectually. If you have passion and desire you can change everything. And that, my friend, is why these kids, no matter how young and no matter how new to this they may be, WILL make a difference in this world … WILL find their purpose and destiny on this earth … and those with small, critical minds won’t. Not unless they wake up and realize that it’s not about being right and others being wrong. It’s about all of us coming together, breaking the walls, and standing as one.


  15. Mike (unregistered) on May 3rd, 2007 @ 5:00 pm

    So what is capital of Uganda anyway?


  16. Wayan (unregistered) on May 3rd, 2007 @ 7:00 pm

    Mike,

    That would be Kampala.


  17. Kim (unregistered) on May 3rd, 2007 @ 7:21 pm

    BOTTOM LINE is that the story of the people if the video on this link is heartbreaking and their displacement and the war needs to stop. Lets focus on helping others, not self-righteous claims against people who have one of the most commendable characteristics in the world, COMPASSION.

    http://www.invisiblechildren.com/displaceMe/


  18. Mike (unregistered) on May 3rd, 2007 @ 11:41 pm

    Now now, just because Wayan hates compassion it doesn’t make him any more self-rightous than the rest of us.


  19. Maryam (unregistered) on May 3rd, 2007 @ 11:53 pm

    I’m just going to say that the “protest” (which it wasn’t) wasn’t random. It was happening in 14 other cities simultaneously. It was very planned out and a lot of hours went into it. Also, there were people there who DID know what was going on. If you had come up and asked me those questions, I would have been able to answer. When we tell people about the event are we supposed to stop them on the street and give them a 20 minute spiel covering all major Ugandan figures? No, we direct them to where they can get more information. Invisible Children makes it very easy to get that information – but that’s not the point. It was an event that was open to anyone who cared to go. Regardless of whether their lives are heavily focused on Uganda, or they heard about it on the street and thought they could help. It’s about one simple act to show your support. Obviously there will be different levels of commitment. We weren’t giving out some standardized test when people walked in, but we weren’t withholding information either.


  20. Israel (unregistered) on May 4th, 2007 @ 9:00 am

    Wayan, you may be right about some of the participant’s sketchy knowledge of Uganda and the LRA… heck, I’m barely knowledgeable myself, but the movie made me believe and you may call me a dreamer, but I’m not the only one… the urgent mobilization of 7,000+ youth without in-depth knowledge probably has much to do with the intensity of the movie. Check it out here:
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3166797753930210643&hl=en

    And the age of the filmmakers may explain the uniquely “Gen Y/Millennial” age group of participants.

    Why don’t you join us in helping these kids? Start by watching the movie.

    You probably have knowledge that would save lives in Uganda if you applied it to activism. Join Us Man! And you can start by blogging what you wish Invisible Children participants would know about the LRA and I will certainly spread the word on invisiblechildren-dc.com and compassionateaction.org

    I would love to debate this further… in public or online… I challenge you to a friendly debate! Wanna do it? Email me at israel AT compassionateaction.org


  21. Wayan (unregistered) on May 4th, 2007 @ 9:28 am

    Kim, Maryam, Israel,

    You missed the point of my post. I have no issue with your ideals or goals, I am protesting ineffectual protesters.


  22. Melissa (unregistered) on May 4th, 2007 @ 9:39 am

    Invisible Children does a good job with educating people about the war in Uganda. Not only are all those questions answered in the documentary (have you even seen it?), but they gave a handout to everyone at Displace Me which contained the answers to many of those questions. How many people did you talk to? Everyone I’ve ever talked to who is involved with Invisible Children seems to have a wealth of knowledge concerning the conflict in Northern Uganda.


  23. Heather (unregistered) on May 4th, 2007 @ 12:51 pm

    Many of the people you saw at this event weren’t college students they were High School students. (Check out their Schools for Schools program http://s4s.invisiblechildren.com/about_the_cause.) Maybe some of the blank stares you received were due to the fact you were aggressively questioning children who were trying to do a good thing. As previously stated Invisible Children does a lot to educate people about Uganda and provides a multitude of resources and outlets for up to date information. At the event they also encouraged you to write letters to government officials effectively showing children that they have a voice and they can make a difference. It is amazing to me that this group has been able to get through to today’s youth and show them that there are far greater concerns than proms and self-satisfying objectives. It fills me with hope because it is through the young that change will come. So what if everyone who attended wasn’t well versed in the politics, for that matter who does it hurt if the case stands true for all protests, as you state is your point. If people hear about a crisis and attend a movement or protest to lend their support, chances are they will leave with the knowledge you claim they should arrive with. One has to be presented with the opportunity for education in order to receive it and that is exactly what Displace Me did. I would hope that you take the time and energy you have and focus it on make a positive difference rather than criticizing those who are trying.


  24. Wayan (unregistered) on May 4th, 2007 @ 1:07 pm

    So they weren’t even of voting age? Wow, now that’s the very definition of ineffectual DC protesters.


  25. Heather (unregistered) on May 4th, 2007 @ 2:34 pm

    What part of awareness campaign do you not understand? For that I think their goal was accomplished, it certainly got you talking. Plus, if attendees weren’t of voting age they soon will be and they will be educated voters. Teaching people that social injustice is something to pay attention to isn’t something I would scoff at and the passion that many people share for this cause will not be something that is short lived.
    I also think the money raised from this event had a significant effect on the children & families of Northern Uganda (A greater impact than your cynicism ).

    Norbert Mao, Mayor of Gulu (at Displace me in DC)
    “I would like to solute the symbolism of tonight. This is a world, which is notorious for the “I don’t care” attitude. I think the phrase which we hear the most is “I don’t care, I don’t give a damn, doesn’t concern me, it’s none of my business.” Today you have come to say you care. You have come to say you give a damn. You have come to say it’s your business.”


  26. Carl Weaver (unregistered) on May 4th, 2007 @ 2:50 pm

    Wayan, I am mostly with you on this one. I come across lots of people who “protest” things they know nothing about and give money to organizations simply based on the sound of the name (“It sounds positive”) without knowing the real mission of those organizations. They are willfully ignorant, lending money and voice to things they know little about. Where is their money going? They don’t know.

    However, lots of these events are good educaitonal tools to teach the young (and old) people that real protest has to do with education and that knowing how to answer questions is super important in the struggle for justice.

    Also, being able to enumerate why things are right or wrong rather than relying on an emotional component. For instance, I think pay inequity is wrong but not so much that I will stop buying cheap sneakers from Target. There’s a tradeoff in all these situations that most kids and even adults don’t understand.

    Let’s teach them. I think you should start a real, visible protest against ineffectual protesting, complete with literature and speeches on how to be a good protester and educate oneself on issues.


  27. Ashley (unregistered) on May 4th, 2007 @ 4:15 pm

    Wayan,

    “You missed the point of my post. I have no issue with your ideals or goals, I am protesting ineffectual protesters.”

    The goal of the Displace Me events were to spread knowledge and awareness – it was a cause, not a protest. I feel that if you can label the participants as being uninformed and “ineffectual” then they can do the same to you! You made your first mistake by calling the participants “protesters”, they were participants in a cause to help others and raise awareness, as stated. The next mistake you made was criticizing those involved by saying they should know petty facts about the country of Uganda just to feel compassionate for those who are suffering. Those who were involved were there because they want to help save lives. When the New Orleans tragedy occurred last year, or when 9/11 happened, do you think all of the people who donated their time or money knew how many people were on each plane, who the pilot was, where they were originally headed, or other petty knowledge like that? No, because they were helping other people because they know what it’s like to lose someone, or what it’s like to hurt.

    It was very hypocritical of you to call the participants uninformed protesters, when you haven’t got a clue what you’re even talking about. Do your research before you start criticizing something you obviously know nothing about.


  28. Wayan (unregistered) on May 4th, 2007 @ 4:40 pm

    Wow, Ashley, the capitol of the country involved and the name of leaders causing the trouble are both “petty facts” to those who are involved to spread knowledge and awareness about an issue?

    Sounds quite ineffectual no matter what they were doing.


  29. Meghan (unregistered) on May 5th, 2007 @ 3:46 pm

    It must be nice to sit back in the pretentious high life of your DC bourgeoisie high rise apartment and do nothing to aid the people of Uganda. These so-called college students to with whom you spoke had the opportunity to read the information on http://www.invisiblechildren.com; however even if they did not have up-to-date information on the Ugandan politics their presence was the most important factor. The fact that they care about other people and do not sit back and criticize what’s going on, but rather act upon it is more than I can say for you. Maybe I should quiz you on your African politics and geography. How about your African history? I have a degree in International Studies/ Africa and I was at the DC Displace Me event. So bring it on. Although, I know that it makes you feel better about yourself to rag on those who have not read the headlines of CNN, so you may not gain satisfaction in replying. I suggest that you put your plow where your mouth is because there is a lot of work to be done.


  30. meowbaby (unregistered) on May 7th, 2007 @ 2:19 pm

    Hmmm…
    I went to Displace ME DC, and I’m a good deal older thatn the majority of the participants. I did ride down from Delaware on a school bus(I kid you not)full of 15-18 year olds(


  31. meowbaby (unregistered) on May 7th, 2007 @ 2:28 pm

    Erg, sorry bout that. I’m special

    Ok, anyways—I just wanted to share my imresssion of the group I attended the event with, which is that they are well informed, some have traveled to Uganda and some are going there this summer, and those who weren’t as knowledgable were enthusiastic and open to reading, researching and learnign much more about te conflict an the hitory of Uganda and the region. Now I am only speaking for those kids I came into contact with, and I’m sure out of 4K plus people, not everybody is on that wavelength. I just wanted to point out that the “uninformed ineffectual little kids playing Activist” genralization is untrue, incredibly counterproductive, negative, and oh yeah, way off the mark.

    I DO however, agree with whomever said it’s inportant to articulate a cause and not just rely on a reactive or emotional element. We need to fuel our fires of passion with knowledge. Not that I’d go start patronizing Target or anything.


  32. Alexander (unregistered) on May 7th, 2007 @ 11:10 pm

    I can’t help but think that this article posted is a perfect display of Western Culture Media, negative angles and ignorance.

    1st….Read up on Invisible Children before you post an article that will make you look silly. I.C. is a rare organizaton that gives three times the amount it takes in. I.C. is arguably making the biggest impact on Uganda. Bono himself has pointed this out.
    Surely they are doing something right when Ugandan Political leaders fly all the way over to attend.

    2nd….Ask those same questions regarding our own country to our very countrymen, and see what replys you get.

    Stop taking jabs at people who react with their hearts. If this world waited on people to react after they had a full knowledge of political leaders and geography we all be f’ed.

    Like the quote goes “If you can’t fly, run. If you can’t run, walk. If you can’t walk, crawl. By all means, keep going.”
    They might not have had the knowledge at the time to answer those basic questions, but they had feet, and they showed up.


  33. jeremy (unregistered) on May 8th, 2007 @ 3:01 am

    love the comment before mine.. but anyways, i’m in my mid-twenties, went, and i still have to admit, i personally don’t know all the facts about uganda. however, i did watch the documentary and do know the basics concerning the situation, probably the bare minimum. which i think would be that there are many children in uganda who have no idea of what our idea of a “normal childhood life” consists of, that far too many children are either killed or forced into battle, that many obvious changes need to take place in that country, and that the children need a voice and simply want to at least be remembered. hopefully changes will occurr due to the actual “intelligent” people who will know more and do more. who knows, maybe/hopefully this wayan dude who wrote this blog will know all the correct facts and do whatever he deems necessary to actually make a difference. here’s to you making a difference wayan!


  34. jeremy (unregistered) on May 8th, 2007 @ 3:08 am

    after reading my comment above, i realized it may have been a little harsh lol. although i do believe it to be good to act without knowing all facts as long as you know the primary goal, it is of course always a good idea to continue learning all you can about any given subject…


  35. Wayan (unregistered) on May 8th, 2007 @ 8:45 am

    And yet again, if you say you “went, and i still have to admit, i personally don’t know all the facts about uganda” then you prove my point.

    Random people building cardboard boxes on the Mall and watching movies, does not make change Uganda. It would only be yet another ineffectual protest.


  36. Mike N. (unregistered) on May 8th, 2007 @ 2:26 pm

    I see your point Wayan and I do hope more people will become more informed as they further become active with Invisible Children. HOWEVER, I believe there is something most of the people at Displace Me (and at other movements for justice) have in common; we are emotional beings. Reading something in a book doesn’t make us leave our homes and drive hours to sleep outside in the freezing cold. But seeing that pain…hearing about the tremendous suffering of the children…that does.

    What Invisible Children has succeeded in doing is triggering the compassion in people who have it. For some of us, the capitol of Uganda doesn’t matter. Ask those same kids the capitol of Montana, or who the speaker of the house is (hell ask anyone) most American’s wouldn’t be able to tell you.

    Would it be nice if people knew these things, of course, but trivial knowledge pales in comparison to more important truths? People are dying by the thousands in displacement camps, children are being raped, or are fighting as soldiers and being forced to kill. How can you say it is more important to know about Kampala than that?

    I feel like you have gotten caught up in the details. I fully admit and would have expected that some of the people in attendance wouldn’t know the details, but they have taken an oh so important first step. They have allowed themselves to care. They have opened their hearts, and I have confidence that with time their minds will follow.

    I just have to wonder, where were you on the night of April 28th? Finding the inadequacies of the Wikipedia article about the LRA? Being cynical is easy, being compassionate is not. Maybe you should focus more of your attention to the latter.


  37. Wayan (unregistered) on May 8th, 2007 @ 3:21 pm

    Mike,

    I am happy that you are compassionate & emotional. I am glad that the thought of children mistreated moves you. Even better that you seem to voice your concerns often.

    However, not knowing the specifics of LRA/Uganda (or any other situation) while partaking in activities that do not have a direct effect on your goal is ineffective noise at best. You will only be blown off by those who do know its politics, culture, history, and yes, capitol.

    At the worst, it misdirects energy and passion into creating a culture that thinks a night spent making boxes, watching moves, and maybe donating money will change anything.


  38. maria (unregistered) on May 8th, 2007 @ 8:50 pm

    FROM ONE OF THOSE WOEFULLY UNINFORMED “KIDS” IN D.C. – Looks like he’s got his facts pretty dead on. NO pun intended.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNfvcUfQw8c

    FROM THE UGANDANS THEMSELVES – Listen to what they have to say. We did and that’s why we all showed up!

    http://www.invisiblechildren.com/displaceMe/

    AND FROM THE LA NEWSCASTERS – THEY GOT THEIR INFORMATION FROM A 19 YEAR OLD VOLUNTEER WHO HELPED HEAD UP THE LOS ANGELES DISPLACE ME EVENT. THEY DON’T LOOK TOO UNINFORMED EITHER.

    “There is a continent — Africa — being consumed by flames. When the history books are written, our age will be remembered for three things: the war on terror, the digital revolution, and what we did — or did not to — to put the fire out in Africa.”

    May we all bend our ears to the groaning of this fleeting earth and listen, with hearts of compassion, be made alert, informed and ready to act, to right injustices and love our neighbors, near and far.


  39. maria (unregistered) on May 8th, 2007 @ 8:54 pm
  40. Sean D. Carasso (unregistered) on May 8th, 2007 @ 9:45 pm

    Please keep in mind, the purpose of the event was fourfold.

    1. To put IDP (Internally Displaced Peoples) camps on display for the world to see. To bring the situation into Americas living rooms.

    2. To develop empathy among the participants. Through simulation and sacrifice, the “displaced” people were challenged to consistantly ask themselves, “What if this were my life for 10 years? What if these crowded conditions included losing my most basic rights? Do I in fact deserve more than the Ugandans or anyone else?”

    3. To unite likeminded individuals. Whether Uganda, Burma, Darfur, or any other troubled region, people who wonder “if we should make our backyard a little bigger” came together and met one another. The hundreds of non-profits that have begun as a result of IC are a tribute of their impact.

    4. To display not only the number of supporters but also the DEPTH of support for the displaced people of Uganda. People were not asked to give an hour or a dollar. They were asked to give a weekend. To drive hours from their homes and sleep next to strangers with nothing but cardboard to protect against the elements.

    The protesting and lobbying comes NEXT. Remember, Invisible Children is primarily a media company. The non-profit and the events have come only as a result of the unprecedented levels of support that the movie has received.

    A video of Displace Me and the participants will be shown on the floors of the House and the Senate. It is through this video that our lobbyists will gain access.

    Do you not see? “We have no K Street lobbying firm fighting us. We have only apathy and indifference to overcome”. Displace Me was about overcoming the indifference.

    Now that people CARE, they will begin to LEARN.

    But we are dealing with a young generation of non-participants. We are acting as a gateway to greater forms of social participation. Education. Activism. Discussion. Understanding. The great virtues of a free society.

    Over 70% of American teenagers are unable to name our current Secretary of State.

    “Every man can be great because every man can serve.” Martin Luther King Jr. told us. We gave every one of them, ignorant or not, eduated or not, substantative or not, informed or not, the opportunity to be great.

    Displace Me was not merely a protest. It was so much more. It was the outpouring of a quiet revolution taking place behind the curtain. It is the revolution of young people shrugging off the confines of their fathers and asking why we cannot help “them” as well.

    I spoke with middle schoolers at Displace Me. They may not have known the facts, but they did know this fact:
    WERE I TO HAVE BEEN BORN IN UGANDA, IT WOULD BE NO MORE MY FAULT THAN IT IS THEIR FAULT.

    So they spoke. And now we, the educated and informed, will carry their voices to those with power and make their hearts heard.

    I suppose the question is, as one who is also educated and informed; will you help us? We could certainly use you.


  41. Wayan (unregistered) on May 8th, 2007 @ 10:19 pm

    So Sean you think that local TV news on group sleepovers of teen social justice activists will “display not only the number of supporters but also the DEPTH of support for the displaced people of Uganda” to the point to change minds in Washington? You are so dreaming.

    You might wanna read I Protest Ineffectual Protesters.


  42. Mike N. (unregistered) on May 8th, 2007 @ 10:33 pm

    Ineffectual noise is better than cynical silence. You strike me as a person who is not moved to act until a complete solution is proposed. I am not. The 67,000 people who slept on the streets aren’t either. We have discovered something that breaks our hearts, we have seen the suffering children, and we have been moved to act though we will never meet them. All you can do is sit at your computer opining that our voices won’t be heard. Perhaps you are right; perhaps nothing will change in Uganda. I don’t believe this is true, but even if it is it’s better to light and candle than to sit and curse the dark.

    Our voices are not chaotic and cacophonous; they are clear and united, sonorous and strong. We came together as one to say that we don’t believe it is right that people should die in Africa needlessly. Will we change the world? I don’t know, but at least we tried. I ask again, what are you doing to act on your convictions other than blogging?

    Is it possible that the real story here isn’t Africa, or politics, but that 70,000 American youth came together to speak against something they thought was wrong? Where are your blogs about that? Where was the media? They were too busy reporting about the worst side of human nature, instead of taking a moment to recognize all the good things people do.

    You concluded your last post with,

    “At the worst, it misdirects energy and passion into creating a culture that thinks a night spent making boxes, watching moves, and maybe donating money will change anything.”

    I can only wonder what on earth you are talking about. How was Displace Me misdirected energy? I worked the event in DC and was up all night and I can tell you that the community built was beautiful and powerful. I can tell you the movies were informative and powerful and gave rare insight into the true conditions inside displacement camps. I will contend money, along with careful oversight and caring can go a long way to help these kids who don’t have schools, or clean water, or enough food.

    It seems to be that nobody ever got through to you as a teen and pointed out that you could make a difference. Maybe it’s time for you to start. You are a smart, articulate guy. Ever think that your abilities could be put to better use than putting down others trying to make a difference. Just a thought.


  43. Scott (unregistered) on May 8th, 2007 @ 11:22 pm

    I don’t know who you were asking, but Invisible Children is a video that informs people of the emergency situation in Northern Uganda. Were all of the people at Displace Me ardent followers of Invisible Children? No, but no protest is, there will always be people who just want to join the movement. And wikipedia? Really? Of all of the resources to educate one’s self, you picked wikipedia? I should go alter the entries and see if you can find the ten differences.


  44. Kirsten (unregistered) on May 8th, 2007 @ 11:27 pm

    “where you live shouldn’t determine whether you live”

    That’s all we need to know. Displace ME wasn’t about whether or not every student there (hs or college)could reiterate useless facts pertaining to Uganda. They were there because they knew children of their generation needed their help- and from across the world they helped. In fact, they’ve been helping for months leading up to the event. Schools across the country have been raising thousands of dollars to rebuild schools for children of their generation in Uganda so they could get an education.

    My generation is saving Uganda’s future leaders… leaders that may affect the world, including the US.

    So Wayan, I regretibly give you the attention you crave when you sit at your computer and feel good about yourself for sharing your opinions safetly behind your computer screen.

    But don’t ever take away or put down what my generation has done. People like Mike, and everyone else involved in Invisible Children are my personal heroes. And as you can see by the numerous posts, I am not alone in my admiration for what has taken place.

    Maybe you are the one not informed- watch the documentary and maybe you’ll understand what has inspired such a successful national movement.

    It doesn’t surprise me that it upsets you that terms we use when reffering to Uganda aren’t in Wikipedia.. but the internet isn’t the source of all answers to some of us. So instead of sitting on the computer..We go out and make a difference- we act.


  45. Christopher (unregistered) on May 8th, 2007 @ 11:52 pm

    I assure you that I know that the leader of the LRA is Joseph Kony, that the capital of Uganda is Kampala, that Gulu is the northern province of Uganda, that the LRA was founded by Alice Lakwena, that the indigenous people of northern uganda are called the acholi, that a night commute is a form of temporary displacement where people live in the countryside or “bush” and sleep in the capital cities for fear of their lives. I’m sure you were able to find some people that were not educated, but I promise you that is no fault of Invisible Children. The movie is very informative, very to the point, and very motivational. Their website and media is very informative and calls for a clear course of action. This group does not claim to be the all important savior of African babies, but it is not immoral to work for human rights advocacy. Again, I know that it is easy to find people that are uneducated in every group, but I hope that you would reconsider pointing the finger at invisible children. Their work has been very succesful, and they continue to provide a rallying cry for youth and adults alike to unite to do something good.
    Please understand that these people that you spoke to are not indicative of the invisible children community as a whole.
    Thank you,
    A Stranger.


  46. Bart (unregistered) on May 9th, 2007 @ 3:56 am

    haha, Wayan… you’re a very pathetic individual. I can honestly say that I have never seen someone as self-centered and callous as you are.

    I took a look at your website… http://www.bellybuttonwindow.com/ and I learned a few things about you that really didn’t surprise me much.

    I would think that someone who owns a website that boasts over a million hits across the globe would be a little more humble. Wouldn’t want a million people to think you were an arrogant, over-confident, a-hole would you? At least you’re honest.

    You’re a smart guy… but not very intelligent. I never would have guessed that from an accomplished UCF graduate with a long list of concentrations (“business, surfing, partying, and women”).

    God forbid that some college kids don’t give a damn about parties or drinking or getting laid, but instead care about something useful… something that based on your site you should understand: “I’ve been from Uganda and Cambodia, and even the famously remote Timbuktu…”

    I would guess that if you went to Uganda… you might be able to show a little more compassion for the situation there. Or were you too busy shoving that camera in your face? Talking to people who don’t care… I watched that and I was thoroughly amused… I saw your greasy, slicked-back hair shining in the camera lens… I saw your expensive suit and tie… and I saw your constant grin. The kind of grin that only people who are on top of their own world carry around.

    This might come as a surprise to you… but the world doesn’t revolve around you… You seem to be good a bragging. You flaunt your $500,000 mortgage like everyone who reads it will wish they were you. I would rather die in a displacement camp than be you.

    I can’t believe someone who has traveled across the world could be so dispassionate about the people you’ve encountered.

    I know that my comment is falling upon deaf ears… but I’ll continue typing anyways…

    I am a freshman studying Information Technology at Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY. A couple weekends ago, eighteen of my friends and myself, piled into cars and drove… 390 miles… with four carloads full of cardboard and a common belief that whatever we can do for others is worth doing.

    I hope that our actions bring about some good in Uganda. But even if they don’t… even if the war wages on and people continue to die by the hundreds every day… I won’t give up. Because I know that every insignificant thing that someone does can have an effect on the rest of the world.

    I hope that I haven’t just wasted my time typing this… I hope you atleast consider what I’ve said… for one minute. It might bring about some kind of change in you. Only if you’re willing to accept the fact that you aren’t everything that you think you are. Lose the camera… lose the objective-less traveling… do something!

    Cancel one vacation, and send the money you’re saving to a good cause… it doesn’t have to be IC… It doesn’t have to be for Uganda… or Africa… just make a donation to something… ANYTHING. Or get involved… do something! Next time you see a rally… or a protest… stop and watch for a bit… Will it really hurt? You might learn something.

    Look around the world and see what’s happening to others… not just what’s right in front of you like “Sandstorms are yellow” or “rainstorms are blue”.

    I highly suggest you watch the IC documentary… it’s on google video… just search for it. It might change your attitude. I know it changed mine.

    “Every war has an end”


  47. Bart (unregistered) on May 9th, 2007 @ 4:09 am

    On a side note for everyone else that isn’t a self-centered idiot…

    Look at what the author of this blog entry did in Uganda… go to his site… and click Uganda on the left side (first entry under 2003). He sat by swimming pools… and had the nerve to call it a difficult task.


  48. Israel Kloss (unregistered) on May 9th, 2007 @ 8:40 am

    Bart is right, Waylan… the extent of your coverage in Uganda was sitting at a swimming pool. Can you justify that?


  49. Wayan (unregistered) on May 9th, 2007 @ 9:17 am

    Wow, Bart, you’ve really stretched the mind now. On I Protest Ineffectual Protesters, you have the audacity to suggest that an Invisible Children protest might have influenced peace talks between the LRA and the Ugandan government. What’s next, your sleepover on the Mall brings peace to the Middle East?

    I think I should re-title this post to be “Random College Students Hallucinate a Role in Ugandan Politics”


  50. Mike N. (unregistered) on May 9th, 2007 @ 12:48 pm

    If our actions are so meaningles, why was the mayor of Gulu, Norbert Mao, at our rally in DC?


  51. Bart (unregistered) on May 9th, 2007 @ 4:49 pm

    Wayan, your opinions are meaningless.


  52. Wayan (unregistered) on May 9th, 2007 @ 5:11 pm

    Actually, Bart, the whole point of my post is that its you, and anyone else who just up a decided it would be cool to camp out on the Mall without understanding the deeper issues involved, who is meaningless to the Ugandans who have the means to make change.


  53. Bart (unregistered) on May 9th, 2007 @ 11:37 pm

    You’re missing the point. I don’t know if you noticed… but the bulk of my last post was a personal attack on you. It’s not about IC anymore… You’ve already made it quite clear that your ignorance on that matter cannot be reversed.

    What I’m saying… is that you and everything that you do and stand for is completely worthless. You are doing nothing with your live to better the place that you live in. You spend all your time and money doing things for yourself.

    So not only are you ignorant of the fact that the 5 people you talked to represent 1/1200th of the entire group in D.C. but you’re also a bad person. I cannot see a single redeeming quality in you.

    I suppose that’s your choice though, so I won’t dispute it.

    Finally, to use your own argument against you, It’s very obvious that you haven’t done your homework and researched Invisible Children… or watched the documentary. Had you done that… you would know that the Ugandans are aware of the group, and very grateful. Many Ugandan children have been put into schools as a direct result of people like me caring. The IC bracelet campaign has given many Ugandans much needed employment, and through these and other programs, conditions in Northern Uganda are becoming better and better all the time.

    Just swallow your pride and stop arguing. You can tell us that we’re stupid… not helping… or whatever, for as long as you’d like. But the fact of that matter is, your arguments are falling on deaf ears. You can’t stop us, so why bother? You’re just wasting your time. And mine…

    Anyways, I have a paper to write. I’m done wasting my time.


  54. Mike N. (unregistered) on May 10th, 2007 @ 3:12 am

    Bart,

    I certainly appreciate your defense of Invisible Children. Trust me, I love Invisible Children more than most, it consumes my head and heart every waking moment. I’d rather not say this in a public venue but I have no other way to communicate with you. I have to admit I don’t like the way you are defending IC by attacking Wayan. I understand that people like Wayan are frustrating, but not supporting Invisible Children doesn’t make him a bad person. He doesn’t understand like we do that we each effect each others lives, and it is up to us how much we do so and whether we do it positively or negatively. The personal attacks show that you are sinking yourself to his level. Don’t fall victim to that trap. Name calling is the hobgoblin of little minds, and anyone so passionate about helping and defending Invisible Children certainly has a big heart, and I believe is not small minded.

    Remember that a lot of people are reading this. Some are supporters of IC, some have never heard of it. It’s important that we take the high ground and stay mature and reasonable in our arguments. Don’t attack Wayan as a person, argue the apathy he encourages. Remember the love and beauty that has been created through Invisible Children, and all the good that has been done. One naysayer won’t change that. A million naysayers couldn’t change that. Wayan doesn’t matter. Jacob matters. You and I matter.


  55. Bart (unregistered) on May 10th, 2007 @ 4:09 am

    Mike,

    Sorry… I have a short temper. I shouldn’t let it get carried away. However, I never said Wayan was a bad person for not supporting IC I looked at his personal website and saw how he carries himself, and how he talks about himself… THAT’s why I said he’s a bad person.

    If you would like to discuss it further away from this forum, my email is: bws2527@rit.edu


  56. Don (unregistered) on May 10th, 2007 @ 5:02 pm

    Man, I thought Wayan was being a little hard on some of the folk out there till I read all the responses here. Cynicism may not change the world but it’s sure less puke-inducing than some of the self-congratulatory & hyperbolic stuff above.

    Sit-in kinda stuff is useful for some public awareness and to demonstrate to our elected officials that there’s some concern about an issue, but only somewhat. Demanding respect for people who show up without even a superficial understanding of the issue, however? Please.

    The idea that there’s some value in a bunch of folks simply showing up to show that they’re against suffering is comic. We’re all against suffering, no matter how many straw men you want to prop up to rail against Wayan and anyone else who’s not sufficiently rah-rah for your taste. Politicians all know that everyone is against suffering. They also know that a huge number of those people who are against suffering will waiver significantly in their devotion when it comes time to make a personal sacrifice.

    Rosa Parks and anyone else who got arrested to take a stand showed a willingness to sacrifice. People who take jobs in scary neighborhoods for pay far lower than they could earn elsewhere show a willingness to sacrifice. The people who went on the Avon walk last weekend after taking the scary step of asking their friends and co-workers for money to support the cause showed a willingness to sacrifice.

    The people who decided to take a bus to the mall and hang out overnight with their friends in a tent? Please. I’m not calling them bad people, but granting them some moral victory over Wayan because when he was in Uganda putting money into their economy he spent time by a pool? Let’s not overlook either – Wayan wasn’t asking you to declare his time there as some grand gesture deserving of respect.

    Lastly, holier-than-thou personal attacks as a way of responding to Wayan’s position on the IC demonstration? Pathetic. You should be ashamed, Meghan and Bart. You want to get some credit for the fact that you’re repulsed by suffering in the world but you participate in ad hominem attacks? Your devotion appears long on mall-sleeping but short on controlling your own behavior.


  57. Meagan (unregistered) on May 10th, 2007 @ 6:51 pm

    Wayan,

    Please watch this. You may not agree, but it does make a difference.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BI_suOg7Awc

    Thank you.


  58. Meagan (unregistered) on May 10th, 2007 @ 7:13 pm

    Actually, this would probably be better for you to watch. It explains things better.

    http://www.invisiblechildren.com/theMovie/media/index.php?mediaID=57245760


  59. Bart (unregistered) on May 11th, 2007 @ 2:20 am

    Don,
    Wayan is the only person here to have made the claim: “Demanding respect for people who show up without even a superficial understanding of the issue, however? Please.”

    He’s completely wrong in that respect. He asked a handful of kids some questions and got a less than reasonable response. That does not mean that everyone there was as uneducated as they were.

    “The idea that there’s some value in a bunch of folks simply showing up to show that they’re against suffering is comic.” – Nobody said that was the point of Displace Me, so I don’t understand where you’re getting your information from.

    “The people who decided to take a bus to the mall and hang out overnight with their friends in a tent? Please. I’m not calling them bad people, but granting them some moral victory over Wayan because when he was in Uganda putting money into their economy he spent time by a pool?” – I’m not going to comment on the whole pool thing because it would just be beating a dead horse. However I would like to point out that the money that Wayan put into the Ugandan economy was around 1 USD per hotel he stayed at. He made that point very clear on his site. Also, Not everyone took a bus… I myself drove 6 hours and spent $150 on gas to get there.

    “Lastly, holier-than-thou personal attacks as a way of responding to Wayan’s position on the IC demonstration? Pathetic. You should be ashamed, Meghan and Bart. You want to get some credit for the fact that you’re repulsed by suffering in the world but you participate in ad hominem attacks? Your devotion appears long on mall-sleeping but short on controlling your own behavior.” – I already pointed out that my comments were unnecessary and out of line. I let my temper get carried away and I apologize.

    I just think that making comments like this against youth who decide to put down their video game controllers, get away from the TV, get off their asses and TRY to do something is counter productive. If this is the reaction they’re going to get then they’re not going to even try to help anyone anymore. That can be a serious problem… especially with todays youth who tend to not care about much more than when the next episode of American Idol is on.

    Watch the videos that Meagan posted above… It can’t hurt…


  60. Don (unregistered) on May 11th, 2007 @ 11:57 am

    After attacking Wayan with personal insults you apologized to some other poster for losing your temper, not for what you did or said, or to the person you attacked. Your contrition needs work, Bart.

    I think your definition of “try to help” needs improvement too. There’s nothing wrong with going to something like IC but the comments above repeatedly refer to participation as people actually choosing “to act” or “doing something.” Quite frankly, I think that denigrates the efforts of people who actually work for change and contribute to a cause.

    A night hanging out on the mall with your buddies is a night you could have been a volunteer at a battered women’s shelter.

    $150 in gas could have enriched the lives of hungry kids in Africa rather than Exxon shareholders.

    I don’t begrudge you the time or the money. It’s yours, you can do what you like with it. I don’t expect anyone to give up everything they enjoy to try to save the world. It’s just not possible.

    Just don’t demand that I act like you’re Rosa Parks because you went on a camping trip and took a placard.


  61. Bart (unregistered) on May 12th, 2007 @ 4:48 am

    This will be the last post that I make. I will not be visiting this forum again.

    You’re right, I did apologize for losing my temper, and that’s all I apologized for. I could apologize to Wayan, but to be honest I wouldn’t be able to do so with sincerity, so I didn’t. They were out of line, and I shouldn’t have posted them, but either way I would have thought them.

    In my last post I chose the words “try to help” because no matter how useless and ineffectual someone thinks Displace Me was, they can’t deny the fact that those involved were at least trying to accomplish something good. That’s not to say that those involved, including myself, aren’t more dedicated to the overall cause. A group of my friends and myself have taken the initiative to create a club on our campus for the sole purpose of raising money and awareness for IC. I wouldn’t speak ill of mine and my friends’ efforts. I was merely trying to put a different light on the subject that even people opposed could agree on.

    The night spent on the mall could have been thousands of good and righteous things, but we wanted to help IC at Displace Me, so we did.

    True, however considering the circumstances it was completely unavoidable.

    I don’t expect anyone to do that either. I do however expect those who do not involve themselves to at least respect and encourage the actions of those who are involved, providing that the activity is harmless.

    I won’t. The criticism however, is unjustified and should be kept to oneself.

    adieu


  62. KDS (unregistered) on May 15th, 2007 @ 9:00 pm

    Wayan,
    I am very impressed by all of your travels- I just wanted to let you know that not everyone that was out there on the mall was uneducated. I happen to be very passionate, not just about the atrocitites in N. Uganda, but all over the world. If asked those questions, I could answer them in a heartbeat- and then given you more background than you wanted. Actually, I am on my way to N. Uganda on Friday. I am working with an organization that is working to reform the hospitals there.

    Although some people dont know as much as others, they have all seen the movie, and know that they want to do something to help. Perhaps the uneducated should do some research, but that doesnt take away one little bit of the passion that they have.

    -K


  63. Angela Becker (unregistered) on May 18th, 2007 @ 8:02 am

    You dont have to know how to build a space shuttle to appreciate a man landing on the moon. You certainly do not have to be a whiz at geography etc. to show compassion to those in need. Love is universal and requires no degree.

    Angela


  64. Hilary (unregistered) on May 19th, 2007 @ 10:31 pm

    Wayan,

    You posted earlier,”its you, and anyone else who just up a decided it would be cool to camp out on the Mall without understanding the deeper issues involved, who is meaningless”

    This is exactly where you’re getting it wrong. The people who protested, whether educated or uneducated, all understood the deeper issues involved, or else they wouldn’t be there. The deepest issue is that people are suffering, and they shouldn’t be. You don’t need to know any more than that to be able to show your hatred of such a thing. You are criticizing them for not knowing the answers to your trivia questions, while they are getting to the root of the problem: human suffering.

    At tip for the future: it might help you to showcase your intelligence if, before posting, you read through your posts to check for grammar mistakes.

    Respectfully,
    H.W.



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