The White Man’s Burden is a poem by Rudyard Kipling that was published in 1899. The significance of the White Man’s Burden poem was to address the shift of the United States from isolationism (a foreign policy in which countries keep to themselves) to imperialism (a policy whereby countries are able to expand their influence through force or peace). However, the phrase means that the burden of the whites is to work hard and help people who do not even require their help. Therefore, the white man’s burden is a set of problems connected with imperialism as argued by Söderberg.
Besides, Kony 2012 is a viral video launched by invisible children as a campaign to make Kony famous. Kony is the leader of a Ugandan rebel group known as Lord Resistance Army, and he is considered an international war criminal who is associated with thousands of murder cases, rapes, and kidnappings since 1986 (Gregory, p468). The criminal remains wanted by the ICC over the violence and crimes he has committed. However, different individuals and groups have argued and had different opinions on how Kony 2012 invisible children campaign reflects the white man’s burden’ complex. Therefore, this paper is a response to the white man’s burden and Kony 2012. It is a critical response to the arguments raised by Kagumire, Adiche, Mengestu, and others.
Critical Response to the arguments by Kagumire, Adiche, Mengestu, and others
The White Man’s Burden is a poem by Rudyard Kipling that was published in 1899. Besides, Kony 2012 is a viral video launched by invisible children as a campaign to make Kony famous. Invisible children movement is a campaign by the United States to fight for peace and justice in the Central and East Africa. However, various bloggers see this as a trap to make Kony famous through the movement (Gregory, p464). The increased efforts to capture and jail Kony by the ICC militants have born no fruits for some period, and thus, this is not the necessary way to fight violence in Uganda. The White men push for the adoption of western culture by the Ugandans and view Africans as voiceless and hopeless.
The video views Africans as hopeless individuals who depend on the hard work and wallets of the whites and thus, this is referred to as the white man’s burden. According to Cole, the viral video shows that only American military intervention would save the Africans from the Joseph Kony’s rebel group, but this leads to mass destructions and deaths since the attempts to man-hunt the rebellion leader leads to more wars against the civilians. The success of Kony rebellion is however based on Museveni’s anti-democratic government. In the video, Africans are referred to as helpless victims, and the westerners are considered to be heroes upon which all burdens of African peace resolutions is placed on. Westerners are acknowledged as saviors and caretakers who are the only people who can solve the issues affecting Africans. These arguments by Kagumire and Mengestu show how the Kony 2012 campaign reflects a white man’s burden complex as stated by Jamilah (p5).
Invisible children campaign is usually a symptom and not a cause. In other words, it is an excuse adopted by the US government to assist in the expansion of their military powers and presence in Africa (Briones, Madden, and Janoske, 207). A famous blogger by name Kagumire argues that the Invisible children are the useful young idiots that are being used up by the US government to militarize Africa through sending more weapons and military aid hence, build the military rulers’ powers as the US allies. However, the hunt for the rebellion leader Joseph Kony is the strategy being used by the American Government to send many young US militants to the African lands that are rich in oil and other natural resources. Therefore, the Kony 2012 invisible children campaign is a movement used and meant to benefit the American military groups and leaders as it reflects the meaning of the White Man’s Burden.
A Norwegian Aid Agency has recently made a Radi-Aid video with the aim of ending the stereotypical plan of Africa and the developing countries. It is a video that has been successful and has gone viral on YouTube having over a million views incredibly. The video focuses on Norway as the beneficiary country tending to discuss the common rights such as LGBTI-rights. It also focuses on especially Higher Education in some of the NGO’s financed by Norad (Gregory, p469).
The problematic narrative about Africa is that the Africans are voiceless, hopeless, and helpless creatures that depend on the westerners for help in times of conflicts. Kagumire argues that the video undermines the ability and competence of the Africans to solve issues on their own (Fridell, 729). One of the resonating materials in this paper is the Raid-Aid video by Norwegian Aid Agency that tends to pass a message on respect for human rights and support of development agenda.
This paper is a response to the white man’s burden and Kony 2012. It is a critical response to the arguments raised by Kagumire, Adiche, Mengestu, and others. It has given an in-depth meaning of the White Man’s Burden and discussed the Kony 2012 campaign. It also outlines how invisible children under Kony 2012 movement reflect the White Man Burden’s complex. Raid-Aid video by Norwegian Aid Agency that tends to pass a message on respect for human rights and support of development agenda (Cole, p179) has also been described.