Kony 2012: a virtual call for social outrage
March 23, 2012
Filed under World & Nation
Kony 2012. Stop Kony. Make him famous.
Having been viewed more than 83 million times on YouTube, the Kony 2012 film has managed to capture the attention, hearts and critique of many.
The viral video sensation focuses on Joseph Kony, the notorious leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, who was virtually unknown to the American public until the non-profit organization Invisible Children launched its campaign.
According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Joseph Kony founded the LRA in 1992. He has been accused of abducting thousands of children and forcing them to fight for his army and become sex slaves.
In 2006, BBC News conducted a world-exclusive first interview with Kony at his camp in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where he tried to dismiss his involvement.
“Let me tell you clearly what happened in Uganda,” said Kony. “Museveni (Ugandan president) went
into the villages and cut off the ears of the people, telling the people that it was the work of the LRA. I cannot cut the ear of my brother; I cannot kill the eye of my brother.”
Despite dismissing accusations and any responsibility, Kony is on top of the International Criminal Courts warrant list and wanted for 33 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, according to BBC News.
“My brother tried to escape,” said Jacob Acaye, the former child soldier who managed to escape the LRA and who was featured in the Kony 2012 film. “They killed him using a panga. They cut his neck … I saw.”
Jason Russell, one of the Kony 2012 filmmakers, has urged people to unite and make Kony famous, which, he hopes, will lead to his arrest — the campaign’s ultimate goal.
“It’s not about politics, it’s not about money,” said Russell in a CNN interview. “It’s actually about humanity. Our technology is global and our finances are global, but our humanity somehow got left in the dust. … The youth of the world is demanding justice, and we’re going to do it quickly.”
“Now that I have seen (the Kony 2012 film), I am disappointed that I didn’t watch it earlier,” said Ashley Hudspeth, a junior, in an email interview, “I’m even more disappointed in how long it has taken to get this far. How can the details of Kony and his actions be so hard to spread to the public, but everyone seems to know the status of Snooki’s pregnancy?”
The 30-minute-long Kony video delivers a very simple message with a very simple goal — raising awareness, making Kony famous and finding him. Although the film encourages everyone to take action in a worldwide campaign unifying as a community for the betterment of humanity, not everyone is onboard.
Many have questioned the organization and campaign’s credibility and have underscored the dormant activities of the LRA in recent years.
“There has not been a single soul from the LRA here since 2006,” said Beatrice Mpora, community health director of the town of Gulu, to the Daily Telegraph.
“The Kony 2012 campaign fails to make one crucial point clear,” added Ugandan Prime Minister Amama Mbaba≠zi, in his video posted on YouTube. “Joseph Kony is not in Uganda … We do not need a slick video on YouTube for us to take notice.”
Despite mixed emotions and views surrounding the film, this successful campaign has done most of what it set out to do — Joseph Kony is famous. The rest is up to the global community.