When Kony 2012 was the topic of the week in March, one of The Punch Team said something cynical about the campaign at a party. Yeah, nice sentiment. Unlikely to spur an arrest in the African wilderness in the next week, though.

To Africa!

Silence descended across the conversation. “Oh yeah. Well… I bought the action pack.” (Jerk.)

That Puncher wasn’t alone in their cyncism. Plenty of commentators carped that the campaign to bring African warlord Joseph Kony to justice within the year wouldn’t achieve results. But if there was one thing that drew out the critics of the campaign (other than the campaign’s chief running around San Francisco naked) - it was the ginormous merchandise-a-thon that accompanied it.

“Nobody can do everything, but everyone can do something,” the organisation’s website described purchasing an action pack. “Wage war against apathy with posters, stickers, facts, and your KONY 2012 t-shirt. We are brave, we are steadfast, and we will show our leaders that we care enough to take a stand.

“Wash with boldness. Rinse. Repeat.”

By the sounds of it, you could fight the war against Kony by lathering your Kony 2012 T-shirt in Napisan and BOLDNESS. We just needed to drench ourselves in the healing detergent of hope. Bam! And the dirt of apathy would be gone.

The campaign was built on a dazzling marketing campaign and washed-up metaphors. But it wasn’t built on a specific action. It’s easy to make someone famous; harder to get them prosecuted in The Hague. Publicity alone didn’t catch Osama Bin Laden, a years-long intelligence operation did.

Today, social media posts on Kony forums consist of the following: “BIGGEST SCAM EVER”; “you guys didn’t do anything. you guys are the criminals. you stole our money”; “Kony’s so April”; “Whenever you think you’re a failure, just remember the [director] of Kony 2012 got arrested before Kony did.”

Looks like the cynics won. Kony’s still on the run, albeit in other areas of Africa than he was previously. If you were going to start a campaign against an African warlord, what would you do differently?

If you’re still a committed Kony activist, we’d like to have a chat. Email feedback@thepunch.com.au.

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40 comments

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    • Poppy says:

      01:04pm | 18/09/12

      “If you were going to start a campaign against an African warlord, what would you do differently? “
      campaign, shampaign. I’d get Obama to send in the seals. IT would be covert, very hush hush and he wouldn’t even know what happened to him until he was well inside the chaff bag.

    • Peter says:

      07:02pm | 18/09/12

      Now I have not googled this but I’ll bet my fortune against Tom Waterhouse’s that the founder was running around San Diego naked and not San Francisco. Fact checking please folks. This would not happen in dying paper like the NY Times.
      Anyway Kony 2012 was designed to make money from slacktivists. Kids with nothing better to do than press “like” on Farcebook, What happened to the Kony 2012 action day when the world’s cities were supposed to be littered with posters?
      now a LOL Cats day - that might get something done.
      (not that there’s anything wrong with it - is it just me or did the Kony 2012 front man come across as gay as closeted member of Liberal front bench?)

    • Tim says:

      01:18pm | 18/09/12

      “Looks like the cynics won. Kony’s still on the run, albeit in other areas of Africa than he was previously. If you were going to start a campaign against an African warlord, what would you do differently? “

      Make it look like that Warlord had deadly weapons that could be used on Western interests and a willingness to do so.
      It’s worked before hasn’t it?

    • Zippy says:

      04:49pm | 18/09/12

      And oil. Make sure you mention that he might have a few oil wells on his property…

    • Bob The WonderCat says:

      01:19pm | 18/09/12

      ” If you were going to start a campaign against an African warlord, what would you do differently?”

      Not use it as a cover for religious evangelism?

    • Pete says:

      04:07pm | 18/09/12

      ” If you were going to start a campaign against an African warlord, what would you do differently?”
      Not do it at all, unless invited in by the people of the country. Otherwise it would be just another bit of whitey-knows-best narcissism. These middle-class efforts are doomed unless there’s a will in the particular African basket-case country to actively stop enabling these crazies. That is almost never the case - people like Kony are just added to people’s lists of f*d up events that define their trainwreck environments, and they don’t seem too interested.

    • Black Dynamite says:

      05:09pm | 18/09/12

      ” If you were going to start a campaign against an African warlord, what would you do differently?”

      Tell America he had started trading oil in non US currency.

      BD

    • Peter says:

      07:04pm | 18/09/12

      San Diego, Punchers. not San Francisco.

    • P. Darvio says:

      01:33pm | 18/09/12

      The ABC Four Corners program last night was on the Christian Terrorist Organisation “The Lords Resistance Army” and the self confessed Christian Terrorist Kony (who said on the program he is fighting for the Christian GOD and his Commandments) – according to last nights Four Corners program 100,000 people have been killed by this Christian Terrorist and over 500,000 people displaced from their homes.

      We need to send in a US Seal squad to take out this Christian Terrorist in the same way that Islamic Terrorist Bin Laden was taken out.

      Why is it we hunt down Islamic Terrorists (justifiable so) but not Christian Terrorists such as the Christian Terrorist Kony who has been on the run for over 20 years?

    • Greg says:

      02:16pm | 18/09/12

      Because as far as anyone knows Kony has never made an attack on American soil, if it wasn’t for the campaign 95% of the people in the world wouldn’t know who he is.

      The same thing has happened throughout history major countries are happy to sit and watch
      Islamic terrorism and Al Qaeda then 9/11 happened shit better do something about these blokes
      World war 2 pearl harbour, ‘ok now you’ve pissed us off we’re in’

      So the morale of the story is keep you’re shit local like Kony and most of the world won’t care.

    • lostinperth says:

      02:20pm | 18/09/12

      They are hardly Christian, much as you would like to paint them as such. Have you any practical suggestions or is this another of your intolerant FSM rants?

      BTW it is pretty hard to send in a Seal squad if you don’t know where to send them.

    • subotic says:

      02:28pm | 18/09/12

      Why is it we hunt down Islamic Terrorists (justifiable so) but not Christian Terrorists such as the Christian Terrorist Kony who has been on the run for over 20 years?

      You can’t market an unattractive African?

    • P. Darvio says:

      04:20pm | 18/09/12

      Quote: BTW it is pretty hard to send in a Seal squad if you don’t know where to send them.

      They found Bin Laden and didn’t know where he was either….....

    • Shane* says:

      04:49pm | 18/09/12

      HIYA DARVS!

      Great to have you back with some wind in your sails, mate. You’re the best pro-religion poster on The Punch.

      If you like, we can whip out the ‘deaths caused by religion/religious people’ list and compare it to the ‘deaths caused by secular politics/secularists’ list and see who comes up trumps.

      Here’s a hint: The Great Leap Forward gives your lot a massive headstart…

    • Inky says:

      01:41pm | 18/09/12

      “If you were going to start a campaign against an African warlord, what would you do differently? “

      Tesla tanks. Lots and lots of Tesla tanks. Mammoth Tanks are good too. Pretty much anything from the top of the tech tree works wonders.

    • Baloo says:

      01:57pm | 18/09/12

      What about sending a squad of space marines?
      Oh man that would be a massacre..

    • Inky says:

      02:22pm | 18/09/12

      “Deep striking!”

      Yeah, that would work as well.

    • subotic says:

      02:26pm | 18/09/12

      Smallpox. Plenty of blankets laced with smallpox…

    • Gunther von Esling says:

      02:58pm | 18/09/12

      Just one person: Tanya.

    • Inky says:

      04:15pm | 18/09/12

      Ah but Gunther, what happens if they field two blokes in a jeep? She’d have no chance, her rounds cannot penetrate the windshield to take out the driver!

    • TimB says:

      06:22pm | 18/09/12

      Prism Tanks > Tesla Tanks. That’s all I’m saying.

    • Baloo says:

      01:43pm | 18/09/12

      Maybe the USA should push that crazy Christian Kony and his army up north towards those crazy Al Queda peeps?

      They fight each other and we get out of there.

    • Markus says:

      01:48pm | 18/09/12

      It is disappointing that being realistic is so often considered just being cynical, as was the case in this regard.

      Sadly, short of using all money raised to hire a private military contractor (PMC) such as Blackwater to track him down, there was not a lot of other real options.
      All the awareness in the world was not going to accomplish anything in and of itself.

    • Tim says:

      02:11pm | 18/09/12

      Ding, Ding, Ding.

      Being a realist is not being a cynic.

    • Gordon says:

      01:52pm | 18/09/12

      If you were going to start a campaign against an African warlord, what would you do differently?

      If you were going to repair a flat tire with a ham sandwich how would you begin?

      Some questions just have no answer.

    • Craig says:

      02:08pm | 18/09/12

      What a great article on being apathetic. Why do anything, it might fail.

      I prefer the opposite approach. Give things a go - they might work.

      I think civilisation was built by people who think like me, not by people who think like the author of this article. They’re just along for the ride.

      Inky - go the Kirovs!

    • Markus says:

      04:12pm | 18/09/12

      On the contrary, doing things for the sake of doing something, without any real forethought as to why, is more in line with most modern-day politicians than it is the founders of modern civilisation.

    • Jamie says:

      02:09pm | 18/09/12

      If you were going to start a campaign against an African warlord, what would you do differently?

      Have two “like” buttons.

    • mooksool says:

      02:30pm | 18/09/12

      That campaign chief was Jason Russell…

      “The intellectual base and financial foundation of Jason Russell and the Invisible Children organization is of interest for those who are tracking the links between the religious right and the military.”

      This article argues Kony 2012 was an example of disinformation…

      “This is the act of deliberately spreading inaccurate information. The campaign, Kony 2012, is a classic example of military disinformation. The success in tapping into the emotions of 80 million young persons has exposed its linkages to the disinformation and cyber warfare capabilities of the US defense infrastructure.”

      Link to the article - worth a look.

      http://allafrica.com/stories/201203230915.html

    • Meh says:

      02:49pm | 18/09/12

      If you were going to start a campaign against an African warlord, what would you do differently?

      Nothing, they pulled in lotsa dosh. I just want the money.

    • Fed Up says:

      03:07pm | 18/09/12

      Firstly just because you claim you’re a Christian doesn’t mean you are one….he’s probaby a gay egnostic and secondly this anti Christian diatribe is boring.

    • Alexander says:

      03:10pm | 18/09/12

      If you were going to start a campaingagainst KONO a Schizo believing he was what those say he is being an African Warlord; or he thinks that BIMBA aka KIMBA - then the reasoning is beyond doubt to flush out this extremist terrorist bastard through those means all men and people have been done in the past and present now and that is with clever means psychological and pure brute force in which there are those who can understand how this psychopathica mind works from both studying it ‘on the ground’ and through equiliburium medical facts as the 4cnrs report had shown and in which KONY is now fearing these Ugandan forces plus others are now closing in on him from surrounding areas and fast- (or so this program reports)- To psychologically rebound those methods in which this bastard has been using on those young men n women he recruits in a faster and more understanding manner in which to rebound also on those rapist ‘gang army leaders’ it will also coagulate this nation and fortify the fact that a madman is indeed maintaining a stranglehold on those who in reality started out to be a minority group as such a buffoon in all parties with a one eyed perspective in life; wether they were white, black; spoke english; german; afrikaan, russian, bolsheivik or whatever tongue in the dictionary of this worldwide language; right now, right this minute, at this moment - KONY is a threat no different that nuclear disaster and more with his mind ticking away- no matter what fancy campain name one gives to it -he needs to be eliminated once and for all.

    • Null and Void says:

      03:48pm | 18/09/12

      I always wash my clothes in Boldness. They come out like Teflon and nothing sticks to me after that.

      And I wouldn’t have made my documentary so slick because After Effects overuse is a federal crime… Finger puppets are enough.

    • Big Jay says:

      03:49pm | 18/09/12

      “It’s easy to make someone famous; harder to get them prosecuted in The Hague,”

      Did anyone else read this? Only Africans get indicted at the Hague?

      http://www.spiked-online.com/site/article/12841/

      I’m over the Hague now.

    • ZSRenn says:

      04:50pm | 18/09/12

      I would make an anti-Islam video and give the warlord the credit! that would work!

    • Kate says:

      12:40pm | 19/09/12

      Brilliant!

      Would we get extra attention if Paris Hilton was in it in her underwear?

    • Little Joe says:

      07:26pm | 18/09/12

      You go get him!!!

      We will call you the dirty 1/2 dozen

    • Andy of Sydney says:

      11:19am | 19/09/12

      Sounds like someone got scammed and is now putting a finger in his ear going “It was real, it was real, it was real!”

      Pfft! There is one born every minute. Unfortunately for the world, we are obligated to protect these fools instead of letting Darwin take its course. A pity for the human genepool.

    • Bananabender56 says:

      04:27pm | 19/09/12

      History would tell us that even if you removed Kony there would be another African warlord who we could chase - Africa is full of them. Mugabe managed to kill thousands and turn a once prosperous nation into a basket case - I don’t see anyone protesting about him in San Diego, New York etc. (I suspect most wouldn’t know where Zimbabwe is). The West should butt out of Africa - if they can’t be bothered why should we? South Africa and Nigeria are enormously wealthy yet we don’t see that reflected in the life of the average citizen - why would that be?

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      09:20am | 12/01/13

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