Kony 2012 And The Explosion In Social Media

March 9, 2012

Imagine you come upon a child under 10 years old who, along with his friends, is in obvious distress. Now imagine, when you ask that child what you can do to help him, he turns to you and says, with all seriousness, “It is better if you can kill us…”

What in the name of all that is holy could cause a child that young so much stress and fear in his life, that given a choice, he would have you kill him as an act of kindness?

Meet Jacob, the unsuspecting star of Youtube’s most viral video to date (It’s closing in on 50 million views).

Side one:

Through the new social medias (blogs, Facebook, Twitter etc.) intercommunication between people representing all nationalities, races, religions etc. has opened up possibilities limited only by our imaginations. The imagination of a young man named Jason Russell has initiated what may be the most ambitious yet potentially controversial experiment involving this emerging application of technology. The goal? To bring down the man who, according to the International Criminal Court in The Hague tops their list of the world’s worst criminals. His name: Joseph Kony. His crime? Abducting thousands of children and forcing them to become soldiers in his rebel army.

For over 20 years, children in central Africa like Jacob have lived in fear of being captured by the Kony’s rebel army. The second goal is to reunite thousands of young children with their parents. The deadline? THIS YEAR. And, although it might sound crazy, they might just pull it off.

The organization behind the video you ware about to see (and who is organizing the project) is called Invisible Children. On the video, in addition to telling Jacob’s dramatic story, they demonstrate how the use of social technologies (like Facebook) can be used to bring an end to  the LRA (“Lord’s Resistance Army”) and Kony’s reign as one of the most sinister human beings to ever disgrace humanity.

Again, I really urge you to make time to watch this video (link is below). And then, although this goes against my usual stand on e-mails, PLEASE forward this to as many of YOUR friends and colleagues you feel comfortable with.

Side 2:

Any undertaking of this type is bound to bring out detractors and naysayers, And Invisible Children is not without their critics. And while it’s good to “vet” any organization, those involving the welfare of the world’s children should be especially monitored.

There have been allegations ranging from dubious finances to questionable marketing tactics.

But as someone who has worked in a non-profit organization in the area of Child Advocacy, I can tell you that kind of smear effort is standard operating procedure, usually initiated by other organizations’ jealousy of your accomplishments and often championed by a young staff writer looking to advance his or her career. at a newspaper or magazine. My advice is to do your own due diligence and decide for yourself.

That said, regardless of how “Kony: 2012” winds up, it has clearly established yet another example of how powerful the new world of social media networking truly is. Incidentally, the video was recommended to me by our good friend singer Dave Carroll who, himself, demonstrated the power of social media networking several years ago when his United Breaks Guitars (UBG) trilogy of songs helped to define a new era in tools for both consumers and corporations in the area of customer service.

Incidentally, the resulting effect of UBG has directly led to Dave’s involvement in a new web site to help address customer’s gripes and complaints over consumer issues, called GripeVine.

But what of the public’s involvement with the Kony 2012 movement? Some of you know of my time spent working with John Walsh (host of America’s Most Wanted) when his son Adam was abducted and murdered. I spent several years working with him both in Florida and in Boston, helping him to use technology to track, compare and develop Child Protection Legislation on a national basis.

We’ve come light years since then, but my guess is that if you watch this video and then choose to get involved in ANY level, simple or complex, I’m confident you will enjoy a feeling of having been an integral part of something very important and, quite possibly, HISTORICAL in accomplishment. You will understand the feeling of accomplishment that I felt, but in this case, it will be magnified many times over, especially if the goal of capturing Joseph Kony is realized.

Michael Jackson was right, folks. “We ARE the world.” We have the technology. The question is, “Do we have the humanity?”

I’m betting we do.

Gerry Ashley

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From Ground Zero Japan: A Moving Display Of Loyalty

March 17, 2011

There are some who just don’t get the bond between a man and his dog. But even I was unprepared for the level of “humanity, compassion and loyalty” within the canine community you’re about to witness below.

It’s a video that will move any animal lover to tears: Rescuers searching the remains of the debris that was once a seacoast town in the Arahama area of Japan come upon a dog that has somehow managed to survive the earthquake and the tsunami that followed. The animal is clearly in shock, disoriented and in distress.

The workers attempt to get the dog to come to them so they can take it for food, water and medical treatment. But the dog steadfastly refuses to leave with them. He turns and walks away, walking in a stagger that seems to confirm the exhaustion and confusion that has engulfed it.   

As the rescuers watch the dog walk away, they discuss his plight:

We are in Arahama area. Looks like there is a dog. There is a dog. He looks tired and dirty. He must have been caught in the tsunami. He looks very dirty.

He has a collar. He must be someone’s pet. He has a silver collar. He is shaking. He seems very afraid.

Then, they notice why the dog has walked away from them. There, some 50 feet away from them, another dog lies in the debris motionless.

             Oh, there is another dog! I wonder if he is dead.

Where?

Right there. There is another dog right next to the one sitting down. He is not moving. I wonder. I wonder if he is alright.

The dog is protecting him.

Yes. He is protecting the dog. That is why he did not want us to approach them. He was trying to keep us at bay.

I can’t watch this! This is a very difficult to watch.

Oh… Look! He is moving!  He is alive! I am so happy to see that he is alive!

Yes! Yes! He is alive!

He looks to be weakened. We need to them to be rescued soon. We really want them rescued soon.

Oh good. He’s getting up!

Let me assure you, that there IS a happy ending to this story: Both dogs have now been rescued and taken for treatment and are recovering.

In the military, soldiers take a great deal of pride in “never leaving a  brother behind…”

It would appear that’s true also in the canine world.

I hope, for some of you, watching this video will bring you one step closer to understanding that there’s no such thing as “just a dog.” They come from God, like us, equipped with a heart that is capable of loving, with the courage to defend that which he/she believes in and the compassion and loyalty to NOT leave a friend behind to die alone.

Do they have the same reasoning power of humans? That is, perhaps, open to debate. But they share the basic elements that supposedly make us “human.” They know joy. Sorrow. Happiness, Contentment, Fear, Anger. And for those of you who suffer from one form of depression or another, dogs also share that state of mind.

Watch the video and you’ll witness a prime example of canine loyalty.

Then, to put it into some perspective, think about how many other humans, dogs and other assorted pets didn’t make it through or, worse, made it through but are in a place where time will run out before they are rescued. Welcome to the real toll in terms of human and animal life.

H/T Theblaze.com

Gerry Ashley

Addendum: Having a better understanding about the loyalty of dogs and their ability to experience confusion, disorientation, loneliness, loss and depression, now think about the dogs  who sit in shelters waiting for someone to give them a new lease on life. If you are in a position to provide a home for such a loving animal, I hope this video will move you to do so. I did three years ago last month and my life is forever changed for the better because of it.

If you are not in a position to do that, however, a donation to your local humane society or no-kill shelter is always put to good use.

As for the two dogs in this video… well, I certainly believe in the power of prayer. And that doesn’t cost a dime.


Thank You, Mom

May 9, 2010

Thank you for giving me… everything I could ever need to live a joyous life.

Stoutcat


Dear Leader Is No Leader in Charity

January 21, 2010

 

One might think that a $15,000 donation to charity for victims of Haiti’s earthquakes is a generous response to a terrible tragedy. In general, one might be correct.

In particular, this $15,000 donation came yesterday, more than a week after the 7.0 magnitude quake decimated the small nation. It came from our President and First Lady, out of their personal bank account. And it came for the following reason:

“[T]he Obamas were inspired to give upon seeing the response of millions of Americans who have given generously during tough economic times.” [Link]

Not the day of the earthquake; not the day after, nor the day after that. It was over a week later that the Obamas decided to donate. Not because they realized that the cause was worthy, but because the generosity of the American people was showing them up.

Americans have been giving at what could be a record pace. According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, as of Saturday, $150 million has been donated by Americans.

That’s more than the U.S. government has committed so far…

Not that this lack of generosity is unusual for the Obamas. As the Huffington Post reports:

Up until recent years when their income increased sharply from book revenues and a Senate salary, Obama’s family donated a relatively minor amount of its earnings to charity. From 2000 through 2004, the senator and his wife never gave more than $3,500 a year in charitable donations — about 1 percent of their annual earnings. In 2005, however, that total jumped to $77,315 (4.7 percent of annual earnings), and to $60,307 in 2006 (6.1 percent).

Among those charitable donations, the Obamas listed “a $13,107 contribution to the Congressional Black Caucus as a charity gift”, HuffPo states.

Americans are arguably the most generous people in the world. Whenever there is a need, Americans donate tens and hundreds of millions of dollars almost instantly. Regardless of the economic situation or the state of our bank accounts, we donate whatever we can. Not only in emergencies like Haiti, but also on a regular basis, we donate to food pantries, soup kitchens, orphanages, church outreach efforts. We are Americans. We give.

It is unfortunate, then, that our nation’s leader only gives when it becomes politically expedient.

Stoutcat


At Least Someone Is Acting Presidential

November 7, 2009

Sadly, it’s not the President.

Friday night, former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush made a private visit to those wounded in the Fort Hood massacre. No press corps, no photographers, no reporters. Just President and Mrs. Bush, comforting the victims. After a few hours there, they left as quietly as they had arrived. This is only to be expected of a Commander-in-Chief who understands that those injured or grieving may have no wish to be bombarded by camera flashes or microphones shoved in front of tearful faces.

The former President and his wife behaved exactly as we have come to expect them to do. With class, dignity, and grace. With gravitas and humility. bush hugging girlIn a word, presidential.

Has President Obama visited Fort Hood yet? Why, no. No, he has not. Right now, he’s at Camp David with the First Family. (Unless he is making a private trip out there as I write this, in which case, good for him!)

Barack Obama is our President. But as far as I’m concerned, George W. Bush is still our Comforter-in-Chief.

H/T: Atlas Shrugs

Stoutcat


Ana Get Your Gun

October 1, 2009

 

It seems that a woman’s home is her castle, even in India:

india_gun_2_1491850c

Rukhsana Kausar, 21, was with her parents and brother in Jammu and Kashmir when three gunmen, believed to be Pakistani militants, forced their way in and demanded food and beds for the night…

When they forced their way into Miss Kausar’s home, her father Noor Mohammad refused their demands and was attacked.

His daughter was hiding under a bed when she heard him crying as the gunmen thrashed him with sticks. According to police, she ran towards her father’s attacker and struck him with an axe. As he collapsed, she snatched his AK47 and shot him dead.

She also shot and wounded another militant as he made his escape.

Ms. Kausar may have actually hit the jackpot; authorities are speculating that the terrorist she killed was Uzafa Shah, a Pakistani Lashkar e Taiba commander who has a price on his head and who has been operating in the area for past four years. If so, she may receive a substantial reward for her actions.

If terrorists got this kind of treatment every time they tried something, I have a feeling there would be far fewer terrorists.

Stoutcat


We Are Ready to Seize That Beachhead

June 6, 2009


President Ronald Reagan’s remarks on the 40th anniversary of D-Day
Excerpt:

“Forty summers have passed since the battle that you fought here. You were young the day you took these cliffs; some of you were hardly more than boys, with the deepest joys of life before you. Yet you risked everything here. Why? Why did you do it? What impelled you to put aside the instinct for self-preservation and risk your lives to take these cliffs? What inspired all the men of the armies that met here? We look at you, and somehow we know the answer. It was faith and belief. It was loyalty and love.

“The men of Normandy had faith that what they were doing was right, faith that they fought for all humanity, faith that a just God would grant them mercy on this beachhead, or on the next. It was the deep knowledge — and pray God we have not lost it — that there is a profound moral difference between the use of force for liberation and the use of force for conquest. You were here to liberate, not to conquer, and so you and those others did not doubt your cause. And you were right not to doubt.

“You all knew that some things are worth dying for. One’s country is worth dying for, and democracy is worth dying for, because it’s the most deeply honorable form of government ever devised by man. All of you loved liberty. All of you were willing to fight tyranny, and you knew the people of your countries were behind you…”

“Here, in this place where the West held together, let us make a vow to our dead. Let us show them by our actions that we understand what they died for. Let our actions say to them the words for which Matthew Ridgway listened: ‘I will not fail thee nor forsake thee.'”

God bless them all.

Stoutcat