Dear Jason Russell of Invisible Children: KONY 2012
Dear Jason Russell of Invisible Children,
Watching your Invisible Children Kony 2012 campaign against war criminal Joseph Kony touched me deeply. Your narrative was up close and personal, with the birth of your son Gavin, and all the lovely clips of you and your cohorts in front of crowds with bullhorns, passionately speaking about Uganda’s Invisible Children. You truly seem like a modern day superhero! I was so personally impacted by your film and campaign agenda that I decided to write you about a pressing issue that has been happening here on ground on domestic soil. Your genuine concern for the well-being of African children convinces me that you will likely pay attention to an issue that is far closer than Uganda.
Here in America, we are dealing with our own genocide of African Americans. African Americans look nearly the same as Africans in Africa, only, they were the Africans brought over during the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade five hundred years ago. It was an idea that came up during the genocide and enslavement of the Taino Indians in the Caribbean (please see: Christopher and Diego Columbus; see: Nicholas de Ovando; see: Ponce de Leon; reference: John Henrik Clarke), when Bartoleme de las Casas, a Spanish priest, felt that enslaving the Africans would be a better option than enslaving the Tainos since he and others were convinced that Africans did not have souls worthy enough for saving.
For the next several hundred years, enslaved Africans were forced to give their lives and children to serve their oppressors, who had an insatiable hunger for bloodshed, land, power, and gold. In fact, their obsession for acquiring land and power was so maniacal (see: Hernan Cortes, Francisco Pizzarro), they ended up murdering and removing nearly the entire original peoples who inhabited modern day United States, and other parts of the Americas (see: the majority of American Presidents). In the United States, the remainder of original peoples, known as the American Indian, are now kept on reservations, where they are highly monitored and policed. Indigenous leaders who resisted and spoke out were either killed or jailed (see: Metacom, Tecumseh ,Geronimo, Crazy Horse). Some still remain in prison (see: Leonard Peltier).
Enslaved African Americans faced several of the same human rights abuses familiar to you from your work in Uganda. However, they went on for longer than the life span of one man — they went on for generations. No writing I do could ever be sufficient enough to explain the severity of what the enslaved endured through these hundreds of years of enslavement, but some did live to tell their story (see: Frederick Douglass; see: Mary Prince). Sexual slavery, human trafficking, child labor..these are the terms without the gruesome details. Many of the enslaved died without a voice, or anything that would advocate their suffering or existence. They were very much ‘Invisible Lives and Victims’ of American history.
In 1865, slavery was abolished in the United States. One would think that the suffering of African Americans would have stopped, but this has unfortunately not been the case. To date, African Americans have endured intense discrimination in multiple forms (see: the African American Holocaust). From illegal to legal lynchings (see: Ku Klux Klan, see: Troy Davis), African Americans are constantly targeted for simply being black (see: Stop and Frisk, see: Police Brutality, see: the Prison Industrial Complex). For those who organize and resist, they risk and face imprisonment and assassination by our governing bodies (see: COINTELPRO; see: Larry Davis; see: MOVE; see: Mumia Abu Jamal; see: Malcolm X; see Martin Luther King, Jr.; see: Fred Hampton, Jr.; see: Angela Davis). Even their advocates face imprisonment (see: Lynne Stewart). From just Police Brutality alone, hundreds, if not thousands have been killed in the last two decades, often criminalized in corporate media (see: Rahmarley Graham; see: Sean Bell; see: Montique Smalls;). Some of those who have been killed were just children (see: Nicholas Heyward, Jr., age 13, Aiyana Jones, age 7). Some were the elderly (see: Eleanor Bumpurs, age 66).
When it comes to human rights abuses, the United States government has committed countless crimes across the globe in multiple indigenous communities under the guise of democracy (“DemonCrazy”) since the beginning of the American Empire (see: Hawaii; see: Puerto Rico; see: the Philippines; see: Iraq; see: Afghanistan; etc….etc….) — but since it seems you have a soft spot for Africans, I figured I’d shed some light about what Africans and African Americans here in the United States face. We have many war criminals that could be more easily found and tracked here (see: Bush; see: Cheney; see: Rumsfeld; see: our current President), and I think bringing them to justice would win the support of many people (including African Americans and other communities of color) for any cause you choose to stand behind.
The benefit of fighting for a cause here in the United States is one of immediate participation of its supporters. Folks wouldn’t have to travel to Uganda to be on ground to witness or partake in the progress of the cause, which means you could cut the travel costs from the monies you raise. You could put that money towards effective advocacy for African Americans who face discrimination from institutional racism. You wouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel for research and education on the topic, because there already is a plethora of information by scholars, activists, and educators who could school you and your organization on the current situation.
Even your son Gavin, could more easily witness the benefits of your activism, in the microcosm of our education system, one that is still severely segregated across the nation.
I hope that my heartfelt and informed letter intiates a moral urgency to act. Let me end this letter with what seems a familiar quote to you: “Do not be afraid of enemies; the worst they can do is to kill you. Do not be afraid of friends; the worst they can do is betray you. Be afraid of the indifferent; they do not kill or betray. But only because of their silent agreement, betrayal and murder exist on earth.”
— Bruno Yasienski – “The Plot of the Indifferent” (1937)