The travesties in Uganda with Joseph Kony and the child soldiers he has abused in the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) have been in the shadows for far too long, until now. Within the last two weeks, the release of KONY 2012, a film and campaign by humanitarian group Invisible Children that “aims to make Kony famous” not by celebrating him, but by raising awareness of him in an effort to support his arrest, setting a precedent for international justice. has created a stir on Facebook. The organization initially only wanted 500,000 shares, but it has now registered 3.5 million and it does not seem to be slowing down. Invisible Children helps to show positive ways to use social media networks to promote change and awareness, making technology a new force in activism.
The documentary is a little under a half hour, but is very to the point. However, this should not be the only thing activists and supporters should look for when joining this cause. Invisible Children has created a huge audience for their movement, and it is now up to these supporters to find out more about the cause, and all the facts about Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).
Kony is highly religious and uses Christianity to move his followers and terrorist organization, LRA. His violent ways have caused such an uproar that many celebrities are also vowing to do what they can to help with this cause. There was little known about Kony or the LRA before the release of KONY 2012, so it is amazing to see the response that has comes from it. Social media has paved the way to connect millions, but some find it only to be an idle way to share gossip, and keep up with old friends. The benefits of social media are largely ignored at times because of how inappropriately it is used. However, the benefits were made quite clear with the success of this documentary and response from supporters.
Facebook users have done a wonderful job at sharing the video, but since many of these same users have not heard of this issue before, they must go further. The best kind of movement is an informed movement. The documentary is from the perspective of a former child soldier and the director. It sheds light on the crimes Joseph Kony has committed, especially with child soldiers. However, the historical facts are not all represented here, which is why supporters should take the time to do a quick Google search and learn more.
All this is not to say that the video is not an incredible work that brings to light a major issue in Uganda that has gone largely unnoticed. This documentary just proves once again how easy it is for global issues like this manage to fall off the radar. The sheer lack of knowledge that we possess about tragedies around the world is baffling. Invisible Children has captured the attention of millions so that change could happen. We owe it to those lost, abused, and wounded children to be informed about what has gone on in the LRA and with Joseph Kony.
Photo Credit: Chris Schultz