- Did you click?
- When did you stop?
I clicked to the very end and it led me to the facebook main page (after the UNCR donation prompt). Not that unexpected, I should say (although in reality I don’t have a facebook account. Weird? Yes, I am weird in my own way). The post is not about that, though.
The idea here is the wrong belief that by clicking once or 30 000 times, by donating a dollar or your whole yearly salary one can change the world, and is often called clicktivism or slacktivism. Save everything remotely, without risking your own life, without getting into details, without involving on a deeper lever. Just snap your fingers, click your mouse, make a wish upon a falling star, add some pixie dust on a rubber band for $5, run, donate some more. Ready.
To save the world is easy as pie, teach us numerous activism banners, presentations, messages and pop-out screens. To save the world is the dream of every beauty pageant contestant.
‘Beauty will save the world.’
‘Art will save the world.’
‘Donations will save the world.‘
The slacktivism or clicktivism is based on the assumption that the atrocities will end and the disaster effects will be alleviated only when the public (often Global North public) is aware. Many believe in the super-powers of the Americans or Westerners – they could save anything anywhere if only they knew and wish to engage. No doubt clicking people are well-meaning. The real question, however is:
What happens after you clicked?
What about the message that has been over-simplified and laden with emotions only to get your attention? And if your click and share is that powerful, what is the role of the local activists?
What is your knowledge about the background of the issue? Or, in fact, what is the prompter’s background knowledge?
If only money is needed, why do many issues continue with decades on end? It is because donations are only a small piece of the jigsaw. So is peacekeeping or any quick fixes. Money and foreign interventions do not solve any problem by themselves. Indeed, they may well deepen the inequalities and worsen the conditions it is trying to alleviate by creating corruption or dependence.
Issues are solved by getting back to the the source, in the grassroots; by analyzing the background and eliminating the conditions that created the problems. Change could not be imposed or granted. Change must come from within. It must be wanted, planned and worked for.
By no means am I telling you that you should never make a donation, or should never share a plead for help. The moral here is that one needs to make some more research before deciding which cause to join. Read between the lines, search for essence, compare expert opinions and viewpoints, not only news articles or banners.
Pick wisely and engage deeply.
And if you can – join not only online but in person. Helping hands are often valued more than money sent.
(1) Hamilton, Rebecca, Learning From Save Darfur, Beyond Kony