The last two weeks I’ve been too busy to blog much, but I’ve kept track of some interesting reads that have crossed my desk. Yes, many relate to Kony 2012. I’ve been happy to see a nuanced conversation emerge around the issue, with the critiques receiving almost as much attention as the video.
(Oh, and before getting to the links: I’m now “pinning” on Pinterest. It’s like a visual variation on Twitter. Most of the content relates to fashion, interior design, or other fields in which my lack of interest is only matched by my lack of skill. But I’m hopeful that there are knowledge-sharing uses as well. Check out my main page, or the boards I’ve created: ideas, awesomeness, books, and tools.)
More Kony 2012 commentary worth reading
The White Savior Industrial Complex – Teju Cole transcends the immediate debate to make the broader points about US foreign policy
Unpacking Kony 2012 — Ethan Zuckerman with a better version of the piece I tried to write
The Road to Hell is Paved with Viral Videos – David Rieff pulls no punches: “…what Invisible Children is actually calling for is war…”
Ugandans react with anger to Kony video – a report on a screening in northern Uganda
An Open Letter to Invisible Children Supporters – by Shawn Ahmed. With regard to the previous link, he comments:
First and foremost, what should be the top priority to any individual or organization working to serve those in the developing world are the views, attitudes, concerns, and objections of those in the communities that are directly affected by such work.
If people are throwing stones and near-rioting over a video created by an organization – that should be taken as nothing short of a complete crisis for that organization. And supporters of said organization should be seriously pausing and reconsidering their continued support of said organization.
Finally, because I often berate celebrities, I’d like to take a moment to give props to Don Cheadle and Ben Affleck.
Nigeria’s Battle for Stability – great piece from former US ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell
Understanding The Al-Shabaab/Al-Qaeda ‘Merger’– by Abdi Aynte
How to spot a terrorist? He yawns, stands still, perspires unusually – unhelpful advice from the FBI and DHS
Why I am leaving Goldman Sachs – by Greg Smith. Also be sure to read: Why I am leaving the Empire – by Darth Vader
Paintballing with Hezbollah – an entertaining and insightful account of exactly what the title says (h/t Chris Albon). An excerpt:
Our collective reasoning for the game was simple: bragging rights. Hezbollah’s military wing is widely considered the most competent group of “nonstate actors”—or, depending where you sit, “terrorists”—in the world. I’d seen pretty much all of their closest competition in action: Al-Qaeda, Hamas, the Taliban, and almost any other militant group you can name in the region. Famed for their combat prowess and careful tactical calibration, Hezbollah’s few thousand professional fighters have repeatedly taken on the toughest armies in the world (Israel, France, the United States, and even, briefly, Syria) and come out on top every time. Over the decades, they’ve grown in skill and competence to the point where, during the 2006 war with Israel, they’d done something few insurgencies have ever accomplished: morph from guerrillas into a semi-conventional force. If I could get them into a paintball game, I could witness their battlefield tactics firsthand. And if our team could beat them, we could walk around calling ourselves “the most dangerous nonstate actors on the planet.”