KONY 2012: A viral call to action

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By Diego Brozzon

Uganda, 1987: a small group of guerillas left the village of Odek led by Joseph Rao Kony, who was 26 at the time and believed he was a spirit medium and prophet. Just days later, Kony and a large group of his followers attacked the city of Gulu. The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), which is still active today, intends to overthrow the current government and input a theocratic regime with Kony as the leader.

Kony has stopped at nothing to recruit followers. The LRA attacks villages and the soldiers kidnap as many children as they can. During battles, the officers sit back safely while thousands of children run to their deaths waving weapons and praising Kony. As of this year it is estimated that 86,000 children have been taken by the LRA.

Although Kony was found guilty of several war crimes and crimes against humanity in 2005, he escaped capture and is still operating in Uganda and central Africa. In order to stop his destruction, the Invisible Children organization was created in 2004. Their goal is to bring awareness of what is happening to the children of the area and to ensure Kony’s capture. Their challenge of raising awareness changed on March 5 with the release of the now viral video KONY 2012.

The film is 30 minutes long, describing both Kony himself and the horrors he’s responsible for. The main idea of the film is to “make Kony famous” in the hopes that the international recognition will help with his arrest.

One of the people featured in the film is Jacob Acaye, a Ugandan whose brother was killed by the LRA. Part of the video focuses on Acaye’s description of the situation to director Jason Russell and his crew.

The video also shows the efforts of Invisible Children in helping Uganda fight back against the LRA and move toward political stability. The film has been a huge success, with over 85 million views on YouTube. Thanks to the video, the atrocities of the LRA have been brought to attention and more people have started to aid the Invisible Children organization.

As Acaye stated in an interview about the video, “It’s not too late, because all this fighting and suffering is still going on elsewhere. Until now, the war has been ‘silent.’ People didn’t really know about it.” However, there’s still a long way to go. The KONY 2012 movement will not be completely successful unless they reach their ultimate goal: the arrest of Joseph Kony by December 2012.

At the time of publication, KONY 2012 had over 86 million views on YouTube.

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