The colours and the bold text caught my eye, much like everyone else I suppose. A painfully slow Internet connection made laboured attempts at loading a video. KONY 2012. When I was done watching, as was the case with the facebook bunch, I was wowed for the most part, though I did have some reservations. I went over rather enthusiastically to my Dad and told him about the initiative. It was only when he started asking questions that I realized how little I actually knew. Feeling rather daft, I sheepishly made my way back to read some more and mull over the 30 minutes of footage. I think I’ve had some scary realisations.
When in Srishti we were taken to BR Hills as part of a course. We were to study the conflict between the Soliga tribe, the Forest Department and the Forest (No, I don’t think the Forest Department works for the interest of the forests or the wildlife within). It was very engaging, no doubt. When we got back, we debated and discussed. We were asked what we could do or how we could intervene. People offered all sorts of suggestions and ways in which we may be able to make it ‘better’. At that point I remember feeling extremely annoyed and uncomfortable! We spent three days there. Came back with a bunch of assumptions at best. Now, we want to ‘intervene’? Let alone the ‘solution’, I’m not even sure we understood the problem. It was with the best intentions that the suggestions were made, no doubt. People like Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey have spent their lives living and breathing the problem. They don’t propose solutions. They work from within.
It takes only 30 minutes of dumbed down footage to make a decision? What happened to questioning? What happened to understanding the situation? Did anyone ask the locals what they want? I don’t intend to question the flimmaker’s intentions, nor do I want to be dismissive of anyone’s effort or passion, but it is a cause for concern when ‘Donate’ and ‘Support’ spreads over facebook like a bad viral. National Geographic did an article about this a while back. Read it before you decide to click. If we really intend on helping, can we atleast take the time to understand? Solutions aren’t ones that are imposed.