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, http://visiblechildren.tumblr.com/, http://www.invisiblechildren.com.s3-website-us-east-1.amazonaws.com/ and my contact with IC on campus.