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View Diary: Report Ties Invisible Children/KONY 2012 To "The Family": Extensively (151 comments)

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  •  "Tell me, have you, on balance in your own..." (1+ / 0-)
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    Tell me, have you, on balance in your own life, helped as many people as Mr. Russell appears to have helped in his?
    Moving on to the above comment...

    I don't think it's been described adequately - the "real benefits" that IC alleges to have produced. I think Kim also pointed out something similar.

    As to second-hand affiliations, etc. - folks working in Uganda recognize that affiliations and perceived affiliations are extremely important in the region. Downplaying that importance may not be a wise choice.


    •  Good faith clause (0+ / 0-)

      I think it's reasonable, in the absence of contrary evidence, to treat the schools they have built as being real. I'm not a donor to IC or involved with them, but any donor should of course do their best to be diligent about the organization they give to.

      As to "affiliations and perceived affiliations" - if we're starting to talk about "perceived affiliations", then I would say that you ought to be ashamed. Mr. Russell seems to have been driven off the edge and his life's work seriously undermined by talk of "perceived affiliations". If other people have trouble distinguishing "Kony 2012" from Kony, or Invisible Children from the Family, that's not Mr. Russell's fault, and it's not right to destroy a guy's life in my line of work over a "perception".

      •  reserve your "ashamed" nonsense for yourself... (1+ / 0-)
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        mamamedusa offense.

        Re-read my comment - it refers to working in the region, a region where one's affiliations and perceived affiliations have a variety of impacts. As you hold yourself to be experienced in the region, it seems likely that you might have encountered the issue previously.

        As far as anyone being "driven over the edge" or their lives "destroyed" - the folks at IC have engaged a series of process and focus that has led them to where they are now. There's no guarantee that such efforts result in adulation.

        And, for good measure, it might be helpful to recognize that your's is not the only opinion to be held by folks "in our line of work". So, again, park your compulsion to cast shame.


        •  We don't really have any affiliations (0+ / 0-)

          We work with individual girls, and send money directly to the schools, without any local intermediary organizations. So the issue really hasn't arisen for us. I make the point about us funding some students in Catholic schools purely to illustrate the fact that guilt by association is a game that never stops.

          If the criticism of Invisible Children is soundly based, then you can blame them for the criticisms they have received. It seems to me that a lot of the criticisms they are getting are kind of weak. Troutfishing seems to think, for example, that the fact that they select academic high-performers, which we also do, is evidence of some kind of sinister intent. By default, if someone seems to be doing admirable work, then it is OK to find it admirable, unless there is evidence that their work is not in fact admirable.

          I'm not suggesting that we fall over ourselves to worship Mr. Russell. I am making the far smaller point that in light of the genuine help he appears to be providing, it's not particularly fair or nice to hound him to the point of a psychotic breakdown. The media machine is pretty merciless once you're in it, and if it's OK to do it to him, are you or I immune?

          •  I think you're mischaracterizing it as "hounding". (0+ / 0-)

            And neither you nor I nor anyone else who works in this field are immune to accountability.

            In spite of your view, at least to folks in Uganda, if you're working in the way that you say you do, then you do have a series of affiliations. In your position, I'd ponder on that for a bit.


            •  We're accountable for what we do. (1+ / 0-)
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              We're not accountable for what the Catholic Church chooses to do or not do in Uganda, or for what the Anglican Church of Kenya chooses to do or not do. We are accountable for what our coordinators do in their capacity as our coordinators; we are not accountable for what they do in the rest of their (busy) lives.

              We can do what we do; we can take responsibility for what we can actually affect; we can't bear on our own shoulders all things that might happen to people at one, two, three or more removes from us. And the same standard applies to Invisible Children. I don't think that either Ugandans or bazungu would regard that as being especially unfair.

              •  then we work under different standards... (0+ / 0-)

                ...tho' in sincerity I compliment you on stating your perspective well. Every individual and organization must decide their perspective and standards - and what works for them.

                I hesitate to elaborate, because it would be easy to misunderstand an explanation as holier than thou. It's not meant that way, so I'm gonna repeat myself for emphasis...every individual and organization must decide their perspective and standards - and what works for them.

                I'm elaborating to point out what is simply a different perspective.

                I've used your terms in describing the different perspective, it's just meant for ease of comparison.

                In the work I've been involved with, we are responsible for what our partners do, and we choose our partners accordingly. We are responsible for what our coordinators do on the job, we recognize their roles in the community and affiliations outside of work are an integral part of who they are, and that this is most often perceived by some or all of the community as projected onto our organization.

                We can do what we do, we take responsibility for what we can actually affect as ranging from direct implementation to direct/indirect influence to advocacy. We approach our work with a recognition that it will effect people one, two and three or more removes from us, part of our work is to anticipate those effects and maximize their benefits and neutralize negative outcomes.

                We don't think these perspectives are unfair. We don't necessarily apply these standards to other individuals or organizations, because they themselves don't apply them. I don't think local folks or expats would regard that as being especially fair or unfair, it's just realities within the natures of different individuals and organizations.

                I'd point out that I've worked for several well-recognized orgs, and I would say that these sorts of perspectives or standards are not rare among humanitarian organizations at a range of sizes.

                And, once again...every individual and organization must decide their perspective and standards - and what works for them.


                •  I respect your standards. (0+ / 0-)

                  I think, though, that on a personal level, taking responsibility for third parties' perceptions where they identify us with organizations at two or three removes from us, is genuinely too much for us to take on. We don't try to shape the outcomes of our program beyond the effects on our direct program participants. We sponsor their education, but we don't hold ourselves accountable for the stability or otherwise of their families, for example. That feels OK to us. Anything else would be overwhelming.

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