The Viking View
Kony2012—Part 1 Who is Joseph Kony? And why is he all over the internet?Monday, April 09, 2012 By Kylie Dayton
More importantly, why don’t you already know? By now, you have probably heard the name, even seen the face, but you might not know the story. It begins in the country of Uganda. Located in eastern Africa, this country is smaller than the state of Michigan and its population is smaller than that of California, but it is being talked about across United States. Why? Something is happening there—something not very good. In 1986, a rebellion began in Uganda led by a militant group called the Lord’s Renaissance Army, or the LRA. The Christian extremist group also operates South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Central African Republic, and it is known for atrocious war crimes such as abduction, murder, mutilation, rape, and even cannibalism, all committed under the direction of Joseph Kony. Kony and the LRA have abducted approximately 66,000 children since its beginning, forcing them to commit these heinous crimes, and moved about two million people from their homes. Locking Kony up for good and putting a stop to the LRA seems logical enough, but even after the International Criminal Court indicted him in 2005 for the crimes, Kony continues to evade capture. So how does one go about stopping a seemingly invisible man? Invisible Children, Inc. might have the answer. This non-profit organization, official since 2006, started as a filmmaking expedition in Africa. Three young filmmakers found in Africa the basis of a documentary: “Africa’s longest-running war—a conflict in which children were both the weapons and the victims,” says the organization’s official website. Invisible Children: Rough Cut was released in 2005 and soon became a phenomenon. The non-profit now works to aid communities affected by the LRA and help protect areas where the group is still active. In six years, Invisible Children has covered a lot of ground, but 2012 may just be their biggest year yet. Their new movement called “Kony 2012” is an initiative to unite an entire generation with a resolve to put an end to Kony, put an end to the LRA, and start a new beginning for peace. To explain their motivation, Invisible Children posted a thirty-minute film called Kony 2012 on their Youtube channel on March 5 th , and it quickly spread like a wildfire, igniting the compassion and determination in the hearts of millions. The short film gives a short history of Invisible Children’s efforts to put a stop to Kony and the LRA and explains how it must be done. The heads of the organization believe that to capture Kony the local Ugandan armies must gain the knowledge and skill to track him down, and they can only do this with the help of the American troops the U.S. government has deployed to the country. Though these troops are currently in Uganda, the government will cancel the mission if they do not know that the American population truly cares about the capture of Kony. “In order for people to care, they have to know,” says one of Invisible Children’s founders Jason Russell. That is the intention of Kony 2012 and the people involved in it—to get the people to know . The individuals that have joined the movement (to give an amount would be futile because the number grows by the second) have rallied around this goal, vowing to “Make Kony Famous”. To make Kony known to the world will make him known to the Ugandan forces searching for him and therefore lead to his capture, or so they hope. The movement has utilized social networking sights such as Facebook and Twitter to spread the word about Kony and has gained much support. People throughout the world are tagging their tweets and making Facebook pages and events for “Cover the Night”—the night of April 20 th , that is, when supporters will “blanket every street in every city till the sun comes up”. “The rest of the world will go to bed Friday night and wake up to hundreds of thousands of posters demanding justice on every corner,” Russell says in the film while a montage of young supporters paint the town with Kony’s face under the cover of night. The film gives one the feeling of being a part of an underground initiative, of being on the brink of a revolution. In many ways, that is exactly what’s happening. Keep checking in for more installments of The Viking View ’s KonyWatch.