Thursday, March 8, 2012

What a single story looks like

Just finished posting about the danger of a single story and I run into a perfect example of how a story, very effectively told, even if with the best intentions can reinforce that single story of Africa the helpless, Africa the dangerous.

These last days a very well crafted documentary, part of a campaign against warlord Joseph Kony, went viral in Facebook, twitter and other social media:

A quick video response appeared, this time from Rosebell Kagumire, a blogger from Uganda, clarifying a few points that provide a more rounded picture of what has been going on in her country. [I'll be summarizing part of what she says in Spanish soon]

I had already seen the same concerns raised by my friend Corinne Segura on a FB comment: “It's pure hubris when 3 white college students think they know how to stop a conflict in Africa. By Sending 100 US troops? Oh yeah, that has always worked. We don’t know the situation over there and the best solution. There are African scholars and governments working on this, there is an African Union and a United Nations - Where are their voices? [...] We need more humility and better information on how to support this fight. It’s great to raise awareness but an American NGO that supports a foreign military and builds schools, and acts condescending like they are the saviors??? .... Um, no thanks”.

Many other voices have been either to criticize or defend the video. If anything, the whole issue served to really drive the point home: a single story, not Africa, is dangerous.

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