By Gabriella Levine
KONY 2012 is a short film created by Invisible Children that was released on March 5, 2012. The film aims to reveal the crimes of Joseph Kony, a Ugandan rebel leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army. Invisible Children hopes that he will be captured and arrested by December of 2012.
In 2005, the International Criminal Court indicted Kony for war crimes and crimes against humanity. He is responsible for ordering the abduction of children and forcing them to become child soldiers and child-sex slaves.
The short film was viewed on the Internet over 100 million times in just a week, making it the most viral video in history.
With its mounting popularity, KONY 2012 has increased awareness and support of its cause on a global level.
The Tri-State regional team led by Bryan Funk and team members Gabby Mooney, Kristin Wilson, Madeline Macdonald and Northern Ugandan conflict survivor Akena “Boni” Boniface are traveling to 100 different places in 10 weeks to show and discuss the film screening of KONY 2012.
The team consists of volunteers who share a similar passion in spreading the passion behind the message of Kony 2012.
By drawing awareness to the issue, Funk believes that it will “set the precedent and example of what international justice looks like.”
He also suggested that the Kony movement motivates people to support various causes. “Whatever the cause may be, we push you to pursue it,” Funk said.
A longtime member of the Invisible Children movement, Elana Katz ‘14 coordinated the event for Union. Katz believes that the film is an effective medium for raising awareness.
“It’s better than having someone drill facts at you about the history. It puts it in a different facet,” Katz said.
The Tri-State Team shares in Katz’s belief that the impact of the film is prominent in a college setting like Union.
“When someone is 22 or 21 [years of age], when they come out and say that they don’t want something to happen, the government may listen,” Boni suggested. “It helps American students learn what’s happening outside of their country,” he continued.
Boni personally experienced the terror of Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army on several occasions.
“I lost my dad because he was a soldier for the government. He was fighting. Kony’s rebels killed him in 1997,” Boni said.
Boni also remembered a close friend who was studying to be a preacher and was abducted by Kony’s rebels. When his friend tried to escape, he was caught.
[pullquote]“I lost my dad because he was a soldier for the government …. Kony’s rebels killed him in 1997.”
Akena “Boni” Boniface
Ugandan conflict survivor[/pullquote]
“When you’re caught again sometimes they kill you or give you a punishment,” Boni explains. “For [my friend], they cut his leg off because they said that was what allowed him to run and escape.”
Although there has been recent controversy surrounding the cause due to Invisible Children’s co-founder Jason Russel’s public mental breakdown, many supporters remain true to the cause.
“We’re still marching forward, we’re behind Jason 110 percent, and we’re wishing him a full recovery, but ultimately the work that we’re doing hasn’t been affected,” Funk asserts.
“I believe that this screening will make a difference on campus. You will leave this auditorium knowing who Kony is and that’s the bottom line,” Katz stressed.