Kony 2012, a documentary film about the little-known conflict that continues to devistate Uganda- since the early 1980s – has become a surprise viral hit, being shared on Facebook over 4 million times in less than 2 weeks.
First up, I have to admit that my knowledge of Kony 2012 comes from a child, a 15 year old girl. This daughter of a buddy pulled oblog faces, spouted strange sounds, berated me in bafflement that I’d never heard of Kony 2012. Her advice, go to your computer, watch Kony 2012 on YouTube. Ok young lady, I now get why Kony 2012 has gone viral!
Kony 2012, named after – Joseph Kony – the infamous leader of Christian terrorist group the Lord’s Resistance Army – LRA – is a film and campaign by humanitarian group Invisible Children that aims to make Joseph Kony infamous, “not to celebrate him, but to raise support for his arrest… to set a precedent for international justice”.
On October 6, 2005, the International Criminal Court – ICC – announced that arrest warrants had been issued for five members of the Lord’s Resistance Army for crimes against humanity following a sealed indictment. On the next day Ugandan defense minister Amama Mbabazi revealed that the warrants include Kony, his deputy Vincent Otti, and LRA commanders Raska Lukwiya, Okot Odiambo, and Dominic Ongwen.
On October 13, 2005, ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo released details on Kony’s indictment. There are 33 charges; 12 counts are crimes against humanity, including murder, enslavement, sexual enslavement, and rape. Another 21 counts of war crimes include murder, cruel treatment of civilians, intentionally directing an attack against a civilian population, pillaging, inducing rape, and forced enlisting of children into the rebel ranks. Ocampo said that “Kony was abducting girls to offer them as rewards to his commanders.”
Kony told Reuters: “We don’t have any children. We only have combatants”
On July 31, 2006, Kony met with several cultural, political, and religious leaders from northern Uganda at his hideout in the Congolese forests to discuss the war. The following day, he crossed the border into Sudan to speak with Southern Sudan Vice President Riek Machar. Kony later told reporters that he would not be willing to stand trial at the ICC because he had not done anything wrong.
From the Mouths of Babes…
Saskia McCormack – Kuijpers is a 15 year old student, Saskia is far from an invisible child, she is a small person with big beliefs. Saskia is the young lady that influentially pointed me in the direction of Kony, here’s her say: While sitting on my couch after 6 long hours of French, music and debating with teachers that I was not cheating, mearly working together with my friend, my attention was drawn to a small noise coming from my stashed ipad. i opened it to see a peer of mine had sent me a message asking if I knew what Kony was.
I had to admit, I had seen it, it wasn’t hard to ignore if the entirety of my news feed had been spammed by this one subject being Kony. I replied with an, I really don’t care, she told me to watch it, that I needed to help, that I would love it. And though I doubted her, I still turned to the almighty Youtube to watch the film. Initially I wasn’t into it, but it some how drew me in, informing me of things that anger me, I had to fight a serious urge to go out side screaming in hysterics telling everyone in our quiet neighbourhood of what had just viewed.
I started small, telling my family, a few friends and then went on to create an event with my friend. I sat back in my chair, my mind was quite defiantly spinning with little ideas on what I could do, what creative masterpieces I could pull to make people, think. I wasn’t surprised to hear the government had not done anything to stop Joseph Kony, no doubt this wasn’t the first time they haven’t done anything.
The next morning, checking the now 597 people who had joined our small army, our group of 2 had grown to 40 girls. Our band of sisters beleive that Kony 2012 isn’t just about helping the people in the Uganda, this is a world protest, this is showing the government, world leaders, anyone with political power that guess what, we can change this, we can help change the world.
What I guess I’m trying to say is, go ahead, on April 20, do this thing, but don’t stop there do the 40 hour famine or support local community groups, go on protests, enjoy the experience of voicing your opinion…
KONY 2012 describes the plight of Uganda through the eyes of a former LRA child combatant, Jacob, and the director Jason Russell’s American son, Gareth, who doesn’t know who Kony is. The 30 minute documentary film has been so successful its makers have obliterated their targeted 500,000 Facebook shares, already registering close to 4 million. The film focuses heavily on the issue of child combatants, with Kony’s LRA reportedly having up to 30,000 boys and girls who are used as soldiers and sex slaves. Kony is alleged to have fathered over 200 children during his 26 years on the run from the Ugandan government.
Invisible Children said the goal of Kony 2012 was to raise awareness about one of the world’s most brutal warlords in an effort to expedite his arrest.
The documentary calls all supporters to arms on on April 20 2012, to stage their own guerrilla war but instead of being armed with weapons similar to Kony’s 30,000 strong child army, they will be armed with posters and stickers in what is one of the most diverse political campaigns seen to this day. The campaign will see hundreds of thousands, if not millions of posters, depicting the face of Kony, plastered across the globe to achieve this goal of making Kony an infamous celebrity. Director of the film Jason Russell described the 20th April as “The day when we will meet at sundown and blanket every street in every city until 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,”. KONY 2012 is one of the most moving viral documentary’s available today, and expires at the end of 2012. It’s coming.
The documentary has called on supporters to act on April 20, 2012
“This is the day when we will meet at sundown and blanket every street in every city until 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,” Film-maker Jason Russell said.
Kony, who wants to implement a dictatorial theocratic government in Uganda – based on the Ten Commandments – continues to evade capture on his indictment by the International Criminal Court for war crimes.
Invisible Children has an action pack available for a $US30 donation at: myshopify.com, the kit includes a t-shirt, bracelet, action guide, stickers, button and posters. Check the store for other items of support, including a simple pledges: http://invisiblechildrenstore.myshopify.com/
There has been some criticism of Invisible Children’s use of funding, the charity has been accused of not spending enough of it’s funds directly on the people they aim to help. The charity responded to the criticism by explaining that funding is divided equally between raising awareness and directly helping affected victims.
Viewers of the film have expressed shock and anger at the events taking place in Uganda and many have pledged to do what they can to help, including celebrities Rihanna, Lady Gaga, P Diddy, Ellen DeGeneres, George Clooney. On March 8, 2012 U.S. President Barrack Obama condemned Joseph Kony and his horrendous actions, President Obama congratulated the filma-makers and associated charities for mobilizing such a positive campaign.
[washington post video]
[washington post video]
The Kony 2012 awareness campaign is intended to take over every street corner on the planet, and so far it seems to be getting close to succeeding. Korean celebrities Super Junior‘s Siwon, Brian Joo, Phantom‘s Sanchez, miss A‘s Min, former After School‘s member Bekah, U-KISS‘s Kevin, and former U-KISS member Alexander have shown their support through their personal Twitter accounts.
There are always detractors, a story needs it’s critics, it’s often hard to siphon the crackpots from the good points.
Is Kony 2012 all pop & ceremony?
Here’s an opposing point of view that has a little credence:
As a United Nations staffer said recently, while attending an internal briefing on the Lord’s Resistance Army, the violent central African rebel group, earlier this fall, “November is LRA month.” Indeed, the LRA and its notorious leader, Joseph Kony, are suddenly everywhere: several non-governmental organizations have held advocacy briefings about it at the United Nations, and the Security Council met on November 14 to discuss them. Meanwhile, journalists in the United States, Europe, and elsewhere are suddenly seized with the mission of finding out what is really happening on the ground in central Africa.
Mereike Schomerus writes for www.foreignaffairs.com, the take is possibly a little highbrow, the issue is pretty serious though, take a look at:
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On October 6, 2005, the International Criminal Court – ICC – announced that arrest warrants had been issued for five members of the Lord’s Resistance Army for crimes against humanity following a sealed indictment. The Ugandan defense minister Amama Mbabazi revealed that the warrants included Joseph Kony, his deputy Vincent Otti, and LRA commanders Raska Lukwiya, Okot Odiambo, and Dominic Ongwen.
The Film Kony 2012, a campaign by humanitarian group Invisible Children aimed to make Joseph Kony infamous, “not to celebrate him, but to raise support for his arrest… to set a precedent for international justice”.
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source: washington post video