Thursday, March 8, 2012

Stop Kony 2012

Some of you may have seen this now viral youtube video by the non-profit organization Invisible Children that is spreading like wildfire. I highly recommend that you watch it if you have not yet done so.

The video is a remarkable effort to bring an African War Criminal to justice. It calls upon everyday people like you and me to spread the word about Joseph Kony who is a warlord in central Africa who brutalizes civilian populations. Kony is the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army and is fighting to install his own government because he sees himself as a” spiritual medium.” According to the Washington Post, Kony is responsible for the abduction of over 66,000 children to put them into either sexual slavery or press them into service as child soldiers. Kony is wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. This cultish leader has become infamous for instructing the children to kill their own parents and mutilate innocent people’s faces.
At this point you may be wondering, “what the heck can I do about that?” Truth is, as an individual, not much. However, as a global community we may have the power to stop this. We just have to try. The video lays out a plan to exponentially increase support and awareness about Jospeh Kony in order to put pressure on him. It calls on people to contact their government representatives to increase international military support for finding Kony and bringing him to justice. Invisible Children also encourages contacting cultural icons to get them to join the movement. George Clooney himself is prominently featured in the video voicing his support. See for celebrity support:
This video has amazing implications for international justice, it posits a new way to reach across borders and stop atrocities that we all despise but feel powerless to stop.  Imagine a world where the people, not the government, will react to a humanitarian crisis. This could result in a paradigm shift that would allow for greater responsiveness to disasters and better international relations.
Now, there has been some criticism of Invisible Children and some it appears to have merit. Invisible Children does not spend nearly all the money they take in to Africa. In fact, the majority of their resources appear not to be spent there. Also, the leaders of IC have taken this photo with members of the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army, who are accused of committing atrocities as well. See this:
I do not think this is important because Invisible Children won’t end up owning this movement. If successful, it will grow beyond their ability to control it. Furthermore, stopping warlords is a good thing regardless of who originates the call for it. I am proudly supporting this movement by writing my Senators and Congresswoman. I think the time has come for a world that can actually do something about true evil instead of just turning a blind eye to it. I hope you join me.
If you want to become involved on the night of protest on April 20th here is the facebook event. I know I’ll be there if I can.

Information in post is drawn from the video, washington post article, and my contact with IC on campus.


  1. Ethan, I am very glad happy to see someone post on this. I watched the video a few days ago and just thought it would be a great topic to talk about. I personally feel this is a horrific problem, and the ICC need to figure out a plan to stop this problem. The Ugandan people do not deserve these horrible problems. I also feel what the invisible children are doing are beneficial, and for a good cause.

    However... I also feel that the american students, young adults, teenagers, anyone who wants to get involved in this also need to realize they should worry about whats going on in their own country. It's AWESOME that somebody wants to help by making change, but remember our country is need of change, as well as 99% of all countries do. I feel if a student or a person wants to get involved with eliminating Kony, then they need to work on whats going on with the children at home, and the problems of rape, abuse, abduction, and trafficking that has been going on in our own country for the past few years.

    I feel people have every right to feel sympathy and pain for these Central African people, but they also need to worry about home if they want to tackle international problems. We need more people who are willing to rally congress, demand change by the president, and stand up for something to demand the change and make your home country more financially stable, with less problems.

    Looking at this ethically, I feel it our worlds problem to help better parts that are in turmoil, and parts that have been ravaged. I feel it is our duty to help these young African people, but as I mentioned if were willing to rally for change on a foreign problem, lets work on the problems back at home first, or at the same time....

    Great article, I feel we need to help, we need to make change, and we need to stop Kony. But we have to educate everyone in the world, so like the invisible children said, let's put Kony on the Celebrity status, and make him as popular as George Clooney!

  2. I could not agree more Derick. I think what is going on is horrific and should be stopped. But we have problems here in our own country. Not to belittle their problem, in fact it is way worse. But i dont fully understand how he preaches in making a better world for his own kid (and all, but he used his own kid as a selling point), but focuses on an issue in Africa and not those here at home. How can we expect to help others on such a scale when we can not even unite to solve our own problem here at home. On top of our own problems domestically (and just south of the border) we have other international issues that can affect the U.S. legitimately, such as Iran (whether they have nukes or not) and North Korea.

    The thing i dont like about this video above all though is that it comes off as condescending to me. Africa is a continent consisting of many countries. Yet the video implies its a western problem and the only way to solve it, is if the west gets involved. That's not to say that the west shouldnt. But I dont see a way to move into Africa in a peace keeping mission, take down a tyrant and leave and expect that another one wont take his place, the solution to that, is constant military presence (Which the U.S. simply cant afford anymore). Its happened many times already (although Kony is a rare breed of evil). I believe it should be a priority for the African countries to unite and stop these injustices them selves, and to get them to that point may require western involvement. For these countries to reach respectable status (that may sound harsh, and may be coming out wrong) in the world they need to be able to elect a leader that can stop these kind of things. I think a major thing to consider from this video, is that the only way to see results to a problem, is if we as a people unite and demand it.

  3. America is always going to have her problems. We will never be perfect. I don't think we even want to be. In many ways we're a very selfish people. "Get a job" is our motto when it comes to people who are in need.

    As for the Kony movement. I'm pretty cynical when it comes to these sorts of things. I really question the idea that justice can be found in a $30 box of stickers & string bracelets. I don't have anything against them trying though. Lets see how this plays out. I can't really see a situation where we would use our military to hunt him down though. It's all too complicated.

    I know that Kony is #1 on the ICC's most wanted list but there's more than a few rebel armies in Africa that force children into their armies and terrorize citizens. The RUF is Sierra Leone is one. Even some presidents of African nations have been accused of this practice! If we go in for Kony aren't we obligated to get the rest?

  4. This is what I was going to post on! I think that Kony 2012 is a great opportunity for everyone to easily get involved in a great cause and make a difference. I know a lot of people are skeptical about this movement, but it is amazing what can be done if everyone joins together and spreads the word about what is going on in the world. I think Aaron (above) made a good point that if we are going to go for Kony, shouldn't we go for the rest of the rebel leaders. I personally believe that if the U.S. does target Kony, it will lead to the capture of others as well. The more people that know about the movement, the higher the likelihood that we can all make a difference together and possibly stop what is happening in Africa. If this isn't the proper way to go about it, at least the word has spread and hopefully someone will come up with a better idea from the information that they learned from Kony 2012.

  5. I agree that this seems like a great cause for people to get together and prove that we can make a difference together. However, a 30-minute youtube video shouldn’t be why everyone is so supportive of this cause. I don’t know why but it kind of annoys me when people are so supportive of something they really don’t know that much about. How can you say you feel strongly about an issue without knowing everything about it? I feel like if one is going to support a cause they should know ALL the facts. Of course it’s good to try and stop genocide in other countries and terrible leaders who terrorize children. However, I feel like the movement is more important to show that normal people can come together and really make a change, basically by demanding it. I definitely think Kony’s a positive cause, but I feel like Americans should band together to change things locally before trying to do it all the way across the world.

  6. I agree with many of the criticisms to this video. The call for KONY to come to justice is about 8 years late and the video focuses more on emotional response rather than stating facts. The video even says he is no longer in the Uganda area. I wholeheartedly believe we should intervene to stop the LRA but they in no way are the size or strength that this video reports. The numbers they report for the LRA is including the entire time they have been organized and many have been killed, moved, or abandoned the movement long ago. The man who made the video Jason Russell's recent arrest already tells me that the video seems to have underlying factors in it. I guarantee he personally makes money off of this as well as fame.

  7. I think it was a great video, but to be honest i felt like the director made it very personal by having his son in the video. I think he is just trying to make money for his organization and is not really caring about the people in Uganda, because if him and his team really cared they would of done this stuff like 20 years ago when it was first happening. I also agree with robert he was naked and drunk when he was arrested like that has to tell you something. There is also news that the money they get from t-shirts or bracelets or even posters doesn't even go to what they are so called "fighting for" most of the money goes to their employees. I think we should intervene and help the people in Uganda but if we do find and take Kony, what makes you think there will not be another person ready to take his place and do all rapes, kidnappings and killings all over again. Just like others have said i feel like we need to take care of the people in united states and worry first about the issues we have before going to other countries. Overall its a great cause but should of been done a long time ago