If you are one of the 845 million worldwide users of Facebook you may have seen, liked or even posted a video on the subject of ‘Kony 2012’.
The 30-minute film has become a global sensation, raking nearly 40 million views on YouTube within 4 days, and has become one of the top trending topics on Twitter.
The film, narrated by Jason Russell, co-founder of the charity Invisible Children, begins simply; “nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come...whose time is now”. It continues to inform people about one man, Joseph Kony, leader of the LRA, wanted for ‘Crimes against humanity’.
The LRA was originally the ‘Holy Spirit Movement’; a group representing the Acholi people of Northern Uganda. The LRA was allied with rebel militants in opposition of Yoweri Museveni gaining presidency of Uganda in 1986.
When Kony took over the movement, changing its name to the Lord’s Resistant Army (LRA), he was unable to maintain its original regional support. He turned to abducting children from their families and turning them into child soldiers.
Over the last 2 decades, Kony has abducted thousands of children, forcing them to carry out acts of unthinkable violence, forcing boys to kill their own families and girls into sex slavery.
The ‘Kony 2012’ video clip looks in particular at one abducted child soldier, Jacob, who watched his brother’s murder at the hands of Kony’s soldiers after attempting to escape from their abductors. The resulting video campaign is the outcome of Russell’s promise to help Jacob and others in this situation.
The film’s main purpose is to raise awareness of Kony and his crimes. Celebrity role models such as George Cloony and Rihanna are openly in support of the campaign, and President Obama has recently given his congratulations and support for the cause.
The raise of awareness amongst the general public is a bid to appeal for the U.S. government to do more to stop Kony. It requests participation in a campaign on the 20th April 2012 to make Kony’s name known. People are encouraged to spend the night blanketing streets in ‘Kony 2012’ posters in the hope that the country’s leaders will surrender to this public pressure.
However, there have been many criticisms of the campaign. Many people refute that the ‘make Kony famous’ movement will succeed, suggesting it’s merely the provision of false hope.
Others criticise the financial aspect of the project, with Invisible Children being accused of spending just 31% of the funds on actually helping people in need, and the majority left over spent on the charity’s salaries, self-promotion and travel expenses.
Others, still, criticise the Invisible Children charity’s support of the Ugandan Military, who themselves have accusations of human rights violations.
Invisible Children responded to this by breaking down their funds and releasing their financial statements. They also defended their support of military intervention, saying the Ugandan army is better equipped than in other affected countries.
Therefore, the general public are somewhat divided on the ‘Kony 2012’ campaign. Some see it as a united front to stop the number one most wanted person in the world by the International Criminal Court, whereas others believe it to be a scam promoting false hope. However, whether the majority of the public are criticising or supporting this work by Invisible Children, the main aim of the video has already been achieved; to make Kony famous.
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