Don’t expect any viral YouTube videos full of cute children or TMZ shots of Jason Russell pacing around naked in Los Angeles. 2013’s version of the Joseph Kony craze is being run by a Canadian, and its being crowdfunded through Indiegogo.
That’s right: a Canadian “adventurer” named Robert Young Pelton is attempting to crowdfund $450,000 in order to lead a manhunt in Uganda for famed war criminal Joseph Kony.
Take a breath- we know, it’s not your typical tech startup story.
Despite well-intentioned charitable donations and US tax payer funding (close to $200 million since 2008), as well as over 100 million YouTube views of the infamous #Kony2012 video created by Invisible Children, Kony still remains at large. And Pelton and his small, experienced team want to find him, even if it’s “dangerous”.
“There are no bracelets, no posters, no videos of cute children, just a group of committed individuals with professional support that want to locate Kony and turn him in. To do that we are launching a new media venture called ‘Dangerous’,” reads the Indiegogo page. “‘Dangerous’ is the new community of action-oriented people who will take on the world’s problems and change things for the better.”
Pelton is an author, TV host, filmmaker, journalist, entrepreneur, publisher and adventurer most known for authoring “World’s Most Dangerous Places”. He “broke away from the world of business to hunt down the world’s most dangerous terrorists, live amongst the world’s most wanted groups and survive over two dozen wars.” Dangerous will be his new multimedia platform to engage people around the world who can help spread the word about Pelton’s hunt.
Pelton claims he’s been tracking Kony for 20 years, and figures that the man and his Acholi tribal group (a tribe that was favoured under Ugandan President Tito Okello in the 70’s) are travelling somewhere along remote waterways and in Garamba National Park.
Pelton’s small group of filmmakers/adventurers came up with a number of $450,000 (nearly $30,000 of which will go towards Indiegogo) which covers the search: travel, food and drink, equipment costs, preparation, ground staff, pledge gifts, medical and security expenses and post-production costs. Thus far just over $7,000 has been raised with 48 days left.
Some of the gifts for pledgers include a digital book, film credit, a “DP bag” and t-shirts. $25,000 will actually allow a pledger to go on the hunt with Pelton and his crew.
While the whole thing has a serious tone to it, the fact that it’s all being filmed for entertainment, and the fact that the crew is throwing “badass” duffel bags at people so they can pledge their money, really makes one wonder if every altruistic deed always must come with the inevitable layer of bs. Moreover, the “Dangerous Magazine media platform that engages adventurous, dedicated people” makes me sigh. (I blame any reluctance to support these initiatives on the unfortunate spread of misinformation perpetuated last year amid the #Kony2012 craze.)
Still, Pelton’s page emphasized that Kony “is not the most violent, powerful or even criminal of men.”
“His Acholi tribal group is just one of many armed ethnic movements in the Northern Uganda. It could be argued that atrocities and human rights violations flourish on all sides and that Kony is simply the most publicized person, and his group the most hunted,” wrote Pelton. “You may even be shocked at the amount of propaganda generated against the Acholi’s and Kony.”
The author also assures that all operations taken will be lawful and within the permissions of the host nations, and that any actions taken against Kony will be done “openly and without artifice.”
I’ve long argued that certain crowdfunding campaigns, particularly the Rob Ford “Crackstarter” one, can have a fundamental layer of dishonesty towards those who give their money. Within gambling, people know what their shot of winning is. Those who contributed money to “Crackstarter” were giving their money to something that, at the time, did not exist. They lost their money with no chance of receiving the desired object: the video (despite any revelations revealed today about said video).
That said, I couldn’t help but smile when I read this line:
“Keep in mind that there is no actual proof that Kony is still alive”.