Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Joseph Kony and Kony2012 - The Situation

In case you happen to reside under a rock and don't know what Kony2012 and Invisible Children refer to - let me give you a synopsis. Believe me, I looked at many websites and waded through a bunch of superfluous junk to boil it down to just these details.

The "Kony" part of the Kony2012 refers to a man by the name of Joseph Kony. He is a Ugandan warlord whom the International Criminal Court has indicted for crimes against humanity and has issued a warrant for his arrest.

Joseph Kony
How they plan on actually enforcing the warrants is anyone's guess. The ICC doesn't have a police force so the only way they can get the fugitive to the Hague is to convince the country that he is currently hiding in to hand him over. But, for the purposes of this conversation, that is beside the point.

What in the world has he done, you might ask? He started out as a good guy - helping the Army of Uganda, but he turned renegade when he saw the power and status he could acquire for himself. So, he's been waging a war with his army called the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) for a couple decades by abducting children from their homes at night, forcing them to kill their parents and become his soldiers. He forces girls to become his sex slaves. His reign of terror has diminished steadily since 2005. Although, sources are mixed on that point.

Courtesy of invisiblechildren.com
So how does Invisible Children come into the picture?

It began in 2005 when 3 friends took a trip to Africa to create a documentary and ended up producing a film that showed the plight of the children of Uganda under Joseph Kony and the Lord's Resistance Army.
Invisible Children is based in San Diego, CA and has several programs that according to their website restore and rebuild the communities torn apart by war.

This charity has come under fire as of late regarding their financial statement and the fact that their resources were going towards a taking down a warlord who was no longer in power instead of a greater amount being given to the children on the ground in Uganda. Also, Jason Russell recently had a public nervous breakdown resulting from the sweeping criticism of him and his film and charity.

The 2012 part? Well, at first glance it looks like it's referring to the year we are currently in, however, it's been given more meaning that just that. The film creators identified 20 CultureMakers (Angelina Jolie, Bill Gates, George Clooney, Oprah...) and 12 PolicyMakers (George W Bush, Condolezza Rice, Mitt Romney, John Kerry...) to target via Twitter and Facebook to bring awareness from the sidelines to the trending topic list. Instead of seeing Facebook as simply a fad of this current culture, they decided to use it as a tool to create change.
Courtesy of invisiblechildren.com

Their film - Kony2012 - went viral. It is well done, excellently edited and very very moving. However, it's biggest criticism is that it's selective with the facts. It highlights only the ones it wants you to know but leaves out others that don't appear pertinent.

This situation is as troubling as the questions it produces...
Can a war be stopped with popular opinion from Facebook?
Why are all these young people up in arms about this... moral objection or the latest craze? or both? Moral objection isn't cool when someone says marriage is only between one man and one woman.
Are we as adamant about stopping the genocide occurring every second of every minute of every day here on our land?
How far should we go in pursuing a corrupt man and bringing him to justice? What about the many other corrupt men in power around this globe? What do we do about them?
What if that pursuit costs American soldiers lives?

Always more questions than answers...

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