Kony creates a commotion

In a time when ideas can be spread to mass audiences with the click of a mouse, people can discover and debate global issues as fast as the speed of light. Technology allows various groups, such as the Invisible Children Organization (ICO), to utilize their right to Freedom of Speech and appeal to an abundance of people through new mediums. The ICO’s official website claims their goal is to make Joseph Kony, the head of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), famous in attempt to “raise support for his arrest and set a precedent for international justice.” As of April 1, 2012, the ICO’s video entitled Kony 2012 had more than 86 million views on Youtube and almost 18 million views on Vimeo. “Getting Joseph Kony and having him brought to Justice for the horrible crimes he has committed seems a good goal, but perhaps a non-profit org in California is not the key player in the actions needed,” history teacher Tim Mooney said. “It would seem that The Governments and armies of Uganda, Congo and South Sudan are the ones responsible. Perhaps some arm of the UN? This goal seems beyond Invisible children.” Joseph Kony has been in charge of the LRA, a rebel group that originated in Uganda, since 1987. The ICO’s website describes the LRA as a group that is “encouraged to rape, mutilate, and kill civilians – often with blunt weapons.” Currently, this group is active in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, and South Sudan. As a result of their actions, more than 30,000 children have been abducted and 2.1 million people displaced. “While the organization has good intentions, the infrastructure of the Invisible Children’s workings are a bit unclear,” junior Angela Zhang said. “I think their ideas on stopping Kony should be reconsidered.” The ICO’s 30-minute video has spread virally across the world, especially amongst younger audiences. Jason Russell, co-founder of the ICO and director of Kony 2012 , depicts the atrocities of Kony in the film and encourages teens to hang up posters and stickers around their cities on the night of April 20, 2012 in an event known as “Cover the Night”. “Russell has the ability to appeal to the youth demographic,” Zhang said. “Overall, it was quite a powerful film, but what struck me the most was Russell’s overall ability to bring his message across.” The Kony 2012 campaign claims it does not want to make Kony famous in order to celebrate him. Instead, the ICO believes “notoriety translates to public support. If people know about the crimes that Kony has been committing for 26 years, they will unite to stop him.” Although Joseph Kony has been the head of the LRA since 1987 and the ICO has been active for 9 years, he has only recently become a major topic of debate on the Internet. “He must be attracting so much attention because of Invisible Children Org making such a fuss about him,” Mooney said. “2 million people in the world today will experience hunger and malnutrition, as well as lack of access to clean drinking water, basic education, and primary health care. It seems to me that Invisible Children lacks a sense of proportion related to world issues and problems as related to the world’s resources. (As perhaps the U.S. government has also done.)” While many viewers are originally drawn to the goals of the ICO, research on the organization and further consideration of their goals may cause people to turn away from the idea. “I will not personally support Kony 2012, but I will not attempt to stop anyone who does,” Zhang said. Mooney also said in regard to the Kony campaign that “perhaps we in the west all suffer, in varying degrees, from the White Savior industrial complex and a good dose of ethnocentrism.”