The most infamous viral video in history, “Kony2012” has caused a major stir.
With more than 100 million views in six days, the 30-minute movie about Ugandan rebel leader Joseph Kony quickly made its way across the world.
“I think people only care about Kony because it was on CNN,” said Dalisha McClain, a senior criminal justice major at Grambling State University.
The film made by Invisible Children Inc. a San Diego-based activist organization,is aimed to jumpstart U.S. efforts in helping bring about the arrest of Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army’s (LRA) a Ugandan guerrilla terrorist group. While initially enjoying strong support, the LRA brutally turned on its own supporters to supposedly purify the Acholi people and turn Uganda into a theocracy.
“Kony’s 26-year war began in northern Uganda where tens of thousand of children were abducted to be soldiers, wives or porters,” according to csmonitor.com.
Thousands more who fought in LRA wars were permanently disfigured.
An estimated 66,000 children became soldiers and two million people have been internally displaced since 1986.
Although the movie spawned a global debate on the intentions of Invisible Children’s documentary and social media campaign, little reaction has come from the victims of the conspiracy.
Kony was the first suspect indicted by the Intenational Criminal Court in 2005, and faces 33 charges- including murder, rape and abduction. He has evaded capture.
“Invisible Children and Kony2012’s director, Jason Russell, have been criticized for over-simplifying the conflict’s causes and for spending more money on management, media and movies than on grass-roots projects,” according to the Invisible Children website.
“How would we ever be able to have so much global attention to come to us on an issue which has been running for almost three decades and which still needs more attention on a daily basis,” said Victor Ochen, director of a Ugandan charity.
Both Ochen’s brother and cousin were kidnapped by the LRA and are still missing.
“That film has put Kony’s name on people’s lips,” Ochen continued.
“The film is not without its challenges, but the more people get connected directly to the victims, and the more that people understand what Kony did here, and what he may still be doing in other countries, the more everyone can work together for real, long-lasting peace,” added Ochen.
“We are encouraged by this outpouring of international support for our continuing campaign to eliminate the threat posed by the LRA to all countries and communities,” said Fred Opolot, a spokesman from the office of Uganda’s president, Yoweri Museveni.
“Uganda welcomes all campaigns which seek to raise awareness and highlight the plight of people affected by the LRA.”
Although the scheme has come to the forefront, it is imporant to know that the LRA is no longer active in Uganda.
“It must be clarified that at present the LRA is not active in any part of Uganda,” said Opolot.
“The LRA has retreated to dense terrain within bordering countries in the Central African area. They are a diminished and weakened group with numbers not exceeding 300.”
Invisible Children has responded to many of its critics: “The Kony2012 campaign … supports the deployment of US advisers and the provision of intelligence and other support that can help locate and bring Kony to justice, but also increased diplomacy to hold regional governments accountable to their basic responsibilities to protect civilians from this kind of brutal violence.
“Importantly, the campaign also advocates for broader measures to help communities being affected by LRA attacks, such as increased funding for programs to help Kony’s abductees escape and return to their homes and families.”
Even though a vast amount of the GSU community is not fully aware of the Kony2012 campaign, a lot of students are. “The fact that children were abducted from their homes and turned into sex slaves and fighters is obscured,” McClain said. “The fact that the United States wants to intervene is slightly annoying because we have problems equivalent to Kony. There are young American children that are abducted and mistreated from their families everyday and no one seems to care.”
Watch “KONY2012” by Invisible Children below