Metonyms in the Lumumba and Kony 2012 Videos
The colonial past of Africa impacts its present and future. Today, the complex post-colonial environment with its problems results in the emergence of different attempts to establish a new power, create a new state, and find a new course for development. However, there are multiple issues associated with this activity as leaders have to overcome resistance from many actors and find a way to control the state, its resources, and different interest groups. Additionally, the interests of Western nations and their policies in the region might also impact rulers and their governments and precondition the emergence of conflicts. Their scope is evidenced by the fact that there is much public attention devoted to them, and movies such as Kony 2012 or Lumumba offer their versions of events.
Both these movies have different symbols and tools used by their creators to emphasise a particular idea and its importance. For instance, there is a metonym of children used in both videos and which is vital for the understanding of the main message. Lumumba ends with the powerful image of children who represents the evolution of the nation. In accordance with the popular concept, a child is often associated with the future. He/she represents a new generation and will choose the course of development. For this reason, children are linked to the hopes for a better future, successes, and advances. In both movies, the children are selected as a metonym to demonstrate that states have no future because of the problems they have at the moment.
At the same time, by analysing the videos, it is possible to find another meaning for the metonym introduced by children. From the imperialist perspective, colonies have always been considered regions that need supervision and governance; otherwise, they will fail to survive and evolve. It was preconditioned by the idea of the superiority of the Western nation. Today, former colonies are still viewed as young, unwise, unclever, and those which need guidance (A Passage to India). In such a way, they can be compared to children who cannot act without adults. Otherwise, they will hurt themselves and deprive of the future. From this perspective, in both videos, children can be taken as the case of metonymic representing all African states and nations. Acting violently, they behave similarly to young people without proper control.
In such a way, comparing both videos, it is possible to conclude that the images of children introduced there serve similar purposes. They demonstrate to viewers that there is an urgent need for intervention to stop them and prevent them from causing even much harm to the area. Moreover, they reflect the imperialist motifs and mentality still peculiar to most Western politicians, agencies, and actors interested in the area. Their policies aim at directing the evolution of the region in the way they need, and rulers who do not meet requirements are excluded from the plans for the future, similar to the ideas of Lumumba.
There are also some differences in the ways the symbolism of children is used. In Kony 2012, they show the military problems and the ideological environment of the state; while in Lumumba, they are added to emphasise the visions of the future and the existence of multiple challenges the country will experience because of the events mentioned in the video. At the same time, the difference lies in the ways how the negative impact on these children is shown.