It was on a sluggish morning that I first heard about Joseph Kony. The first time I heard about him, I didn’t think much of it. To me it sounded just like any other terror story about a villainous man and his messed-up plots in poverty-stricken Africa.
Needless to say, my first impression was completely wrong.
This poster encourages groups such as Democrats and Republicans to unite to achieve peace. Image courtesy Invisible Children Action Kit.
Joseph Kony’s name appeared on various news channels and was plastered on the headlines of websites. Countless Facebook statuses and tweets expressed support toward bringing Kony to justice. On YouTube, “Kony 2012,” the 30 minute long video detailing the crimes of the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), garnered an enormous audience of almost 77 million viewers.
Despite the argument that supporting the Kony 2012 cause is merely a “fad,” it is quite evident that the fight against Kony has brought together an extensive audience and garnered a large support force. And this is why the movement is so inspiring.
The movement is directed to a noble cause, and it isn’t every day that people from across the globe to join hands to promote a single cause. Breaking down barriers is where the movement excels.
Not only are race and ethnic barriers demolished as people from every continent sign the pledge to bring Kony to justice, but social class barriers are broken down as well. Ordinary citizens and celebrities alike, such as Oprah Winfrey, Ryan Seacrest and Warren Buffet, have voiced their support toward the cause. It seems as though the movement has reached every corner of the world.
There are some skeptics that criticize the movement for its false information and intentions, but the bottom line is that Joseph Kony has committed unconscionable acts, turning kidnapped boys into child soldiers trained to mutilate and girls into sex slaves. There’s a good reason for Kony being listed first on the International Criminal Court’s Most Wanted List. His crimes have affected about 1.5 million people in Uganda and have destroyed the childhoods of approximately 10,000 children over the last 20 years.
Although the LRA only has a couple hundred children left, efforts should still be made to free those remaining. We can’t save every suffering child, but we can certainly try. And even though there are countless other horror stories of child abuse and deaths that should also receive the same amount of support, it’s still heartwarming to witness thousands of people work toward the same goal in the Kony 2012 movement.
Kony 2012 is a starting point for the world movement to end the world’s troubles by uniting the global community, but by no means should it be the only cause to fight for.
Con: video simplifies context of conflict, supporters lack understanding
By Allison Kozeracki, Copy Editor
“KONY 2012,” a video made by Invisible Children, Inc., has garnered millions of views, shares, tweets, reblogs and likes since it was posted just over a week ago.
One of the posters made by Invisible Children compares Kony to Osama bin Laden and Adolf Hitler. Image courtesy Invisible Children Action Kit.
The video has sparked heated debate, especially regarding Invisible Children’s finances and the integrity of the Ugandan government’s army, which has been accused of crimes as heinous as Kony’s.
But aside from the fact that changing your profile picture does nothing to help child soldiers in Uganda, the larger problem is that so many people know little about the complex history of Ugandan politics. And to simplify it in a 30-minute video is an insult to the Ugandan people.
The video provides no historical context for a movement that has been going on for 20 years, in a country whose tumultuous history extends far beyond that. The sudden burst of widespread attention has even made some wonder if Invisible Children has other motives in releasing the video.
“The issue has been around for ages,” political analyst Nicholas Sengoba said, according to the Associated Press. “We have to ask ourselves why suddenly there is this uproar. I believe that these people have other motives that they are not putting out in the open.”
My purpose in writing this is not to side with one side or the other. I certainly do not support Joseph Kony, nor do I discourage others from donating to and advocating for the charities they choose to support. I think that’s great, as long as one is informed and aware of exactly what it is that they are supporting.
I have not chosen one side or the other because I admit that I don’t know enough about the situation to form an educated opinion. And neither do the vast majority of people flooding the Internet with their opinions about this video.
New information about Invisible Children and Joseph Kony is released every day, and I encourage everyone to read up on the situation, and pay attention to information apart from the little that is provided in the video, before supporting or bashing the charity.
Invisible Children’s mission is admirable, and I have no doubt that they have good intentions, but their compelling and well-made video is propaganda designed to tug at our heartstrings. It’s important to let reason outweigh emotion, because a truly educated public is necessary to incite real change in a country torn by the malice and irresponsibility of multiple organizations.