During my Sophomore year of high school, I was reassigned to a new guidance counselor named Ms. Novia. Over the next two years, she was the most incompetent guidance counselor imaginable. At the end of Junior year, when the college application process was starting for my friends and I, who also were assigned to her, she disappeared. There were rumors that she went to Hollywood. We were left hanging in the wind with no hope of having a guidance counselor that knew us who could help us with the application process.
That was last spring.
Earlier today, a friend of mine sent me a strange link.
I was shocked to see her face again. I then began to do some more digging. It turns out that she is now a “treatment counselor” on a new trashy VH1 reality show called “Couples Therapy.” She shows up at 29:42 in the first episode which you can watch here:
It appears that she got an agent and made a fancy website and a celebrity-style twitter account.
[Her old twitter was apparently @NowYouKnovia]
I won’t go into much detail, but her bio and resume don’t really match up with my understanding of who she was and what she did. Her time at my school isn’t even mentioned and the whole thing seems a bit like it was all manufactured by VH1.
I know this post is really random, but it really blew my mind when I saw her on that website.
If you are reading this, Ms. Novia, I’d just like to say thank you for all of the wonderful assistance you gave my fellow classmates and I during the 22 months that you worked at our school.
Hahaha, hello mr. John. I understand the purpose of a campaign to raise awareness, but I think you missed the entire point of my ramblings.
I said that “Most people who donated are probably hoping that most, if not all, of their donation is going towards helping take down Kony,” and by that I meant that when typically when people donate, they want the majority of each dollar they send to directly help the people that they see in need. With this organization, it’s not what’s happening and I wanted to highlight the fact that people donate without knowing where their money is going.
When I said “Red Cross” I was specifically talking about how people should help during a natural disaster instead of praying or posting on Facebook. I obviously wasn’t implying that the Red Cross would be fit to help in the Kony situation.
The reason I emphasized the “Why” is because it wasn’t being emphasized anywhere else. If Kony was an extremist in some other religion, aside from one that a majority of Americans are a part of, then that would be highlighted in every retelling. Religion is one of the greatest manipulators that mankind has at its fingers and I was explaining exactly how Kony was doing that.
Also, the whole Kony issue isn’t as black and white as you, and many others, see it. The Uganda situation is a very fragile system that’s conflicts reach back many, many years. It did not start with Kony and will not stop with Kony. Paying money for an organization to fund an army (who is just as guilty of many crimes) to reignite violence in a country who is trying to find some semblance of peace after many years of war is not the smartest thing to do. If you want to enlighten yourself a bit on this aspect of the whole issue, I’d recommend reading this reddit post.
Well, now that this “idiot” is done, I hope you do read my “excuse” for what I said. If you want to continue this conversation, I will gladly oblige.
If I am honestly the “biggest moron” you have ever read on the internet, you obviously haven’t looked very far. I appreciate your extraordinarily keen insight into the blatant flaws in my internet novel. Thanks for your wisdom.
The thoughts of a teenager on the internet
The KONY phenomenon is a very peculiar example of both the power of social media and the naivety of the American youth. Although I do think that the concept of banding together to take down a tyrant like Kony is an honorable endeavor, I think that many people jumped into it head first without really looking at the issue or the organization behind it.
It appears to me as though Americans act as “tragedy tourists” where they hop from one natural disaster or political atrocity to the next. People like to pray and donate change to causes to make themselves feel better and release them from the responsibility and guilt because they can say they “did their part”. After contributing a dollar or praying for a few minutes, they tell everyone on Facebook how they did what they did and they move onto the next disaster. Rinse and repeat.
Kony presents an interesting version of this because it truly caught fire on the internet. One of the reasons this was able to happen was the admittedly high quality half-hour video released by Invisible Children Inc. that describes the atrocities of a certain Joseph Kony. People flocked to their computers and their wallets so that they could send this rather random organization their money. Who are these people and what are they actually doing with this money? It turns out that last year Invisible Children Inc spent almost $9,000,000. This money was divided up among many things such as awareness and management. Most people who donated are probably hoping that most, if not all, of their donation is going towards helping take down Kony, but unfortunately they didn’t look at the breakdown of where their money is going. Only about a third of every dollar they give is actually benefiting anyone in Africa. The remaining six million dollars goes towards a massive film budget and hefty salaries for the three leaders of the organization. I’m not saying that it is bad that 100% of the donations go to direct aid in Africa because that would be unreasonable. Invisible Children Inc is an organization that needs to pay for many expenses and for raising awareness in general. The reason I am highlighting this as an issue is merely demonstrating the fact that people are taking these leaps of faith without looking where their money is going.
How does Invisible Children Inc want to go about arresting Kony? The most simplified answer would be that they want the US government to send troops to aid the Ugandan government and its army in arresting Joseph Kony. Sound honorable enough, but who is this Ugandan army that is going in to get Kony? If this whole issue is about the terrible treatment of people by armies, shouldn’t the army that the money is going towards be under a microscope? Well it turns out that the soldiers in the army that Invisible Children is supporting has been accused of looting, using refugees to run a prostitution ring, raping civilian girls, and spreading HIV via rape. Invisible Children has stated that they do not condone these actions, yet they still support them and want to fund their militia.
One last thing I would like to bring up is a bit more controversial, so bear with me. Why is no one talking about WHY Kony is doing what he’s doing? In the video, all they say is that he is doing it to do nothing more than remain in power. Isn’t that true of any dictator or tyrant? It turns out that Kony actually does have a reason behind all of his slaughter, and it turns out that his motive is a divine one. Kony runs the LRA or Lord’s Resistance Army. It is not just some random power-hungry group of terrible people, it is an extremist Christian movement attempting to instill a theocratic government based upon the 10 commandments. Kony thinks he should be in power because of the same reason as the kings of medieval Europe: “because God said I should.” Kony believes he is the spokesperson for god and that he is actually the holy spirit manifested as a human. I am not a fan of mainstream religion, but extremist religion in any form leads to unimaginable savagery and the total manipulation of helpless people. Kony exploits child soldiers, and does so in the name of his Christian god. Before he sends them off to murder and die, he tells the children that when they take cover themselves in oil and draw the sign of the cross on their chest that they will become bulletproof. It is a very sickening concept.
Do I support the KONY2012 movement? Yes. It is a well intentioned initiative led by passionate people who want to make a difference. However, I would like to reiterate my earlier point by saying that people need to stop being tourists in the tragedies of others. Terrible things are happening all over the world right now and have been for the past millennia. These identical issues have been going on in Africa for your entire life and will most likely continue until you die. Caring about a cause is an important thing to do, but it is equally important that when you commit yourself to a cause by posting about it on your Facebook or sending videos to your friends that you make an honest attempt to continue your help and see the initiative through. What I mean by this is that you can’t just post a bunch of statuses about a natural disaster and then forget about it the next week. People are still going to be affected by tragedy months and years after all of the social media fluttering has died out. When was the last time you thought about the earthquake in Haiti or the Tsunami in Japan? Those people are still hurting from something that American media stopped caring about forever ago. Just because the Facebook posts go away doesn’t mean the issue is fixed. Shockingly, people in Japan are still trying to put their lives back together even after you put “Pray For Japan” as your status and profile picture. When some sort of catastrophe comes, the best thing you can do is find a reputable organization to donate to such as the Red Cross.
Kony is undoubtedly an evil person who has committed atrocities to thousand of innocent people and must be stopped, I’m just not sure if this enigma of an organization that has been known to exaggerate facts and pump tons of money into viral video campaigns is the right group to do it.
Thank you for reading my ramblings. I am not an expert by any means, I am just a teenager. Check out the blog that inspired my doubt: VisibleChildren. Also, here is a post by a redditor who is much more knowledgable about the subject than I am: Kony 2012 One Sided.
I’ll leave you with a picture of the leaders of Invisible Children doing whatever it is they do.