Last week, Invisible Children (IC), an American nonprofit advocacy group created in 2006, launched a huge online and social media campaign using a YouTube video. This video was created by filmmaker Jason Russell to help advocate for the capture and delivery of Joseph Kony. The International Criminal Court has accused Kony of committing 33 counts of war crimes against humanity.
According to the video, 10 years earlier, Russell met a young man by the name of Jacob who was literally running for his life. Jacob is the subject of the video and at the time had recently escaped from Kony’s army.
Russell produced the video to provide awareness of what was happening in Uganda.
Although Jacob was safely away from Kony, he felt like he had no reason to live.
In the video, Jacob said, “It is better if you can kill us, we don’t want to stay now… We are the only two [left] and no one is taking care of us. We’re not in school… how would our future be?”
Many of the child soldiers are forced to kill their own parents and in Jacobs’s case, he was left with no one. His brother’s throat was slit after running away. After, he was captured by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The video exposes the emotions Jacob has towards his situation. After discussing his brother’s murder, he cried uncontrollably.
Now the video calls for Kony’s arrest this year and for the public to get more involved with putting pressure on the U.S. government and military to continue to support the cause. This film is used to call upon political figures with decision-making powers, celebrities, and friends to watch and share the video. More than 70 million people have already viewed it within its first week and because of this video, Americans who knew nothing about Kony now have the knowledge to support this campaign.
A representative from IC states that, “its work in the United States focuses on advocacy and inspiring America’s youth to do more than just watch.” “We believe that by uniting our voices we can use the systems, influence, and resources of the United States to expedite an end to the conflict”.
Kony is the world’s number-one war criminal that took over leadership of an existing rebel group called the Holy Spirit Movement (HSM) and renamed it the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in 1987. The LRA has earned a reputation for its cruel and brutal tactics. When Kony found himself running out of soldiers, he started abducting children to be a part of his army or “wives” for his officers. The LRA is encouraged to rape, mutilate, and kill civilians–often with knives or guns.
CNN reports that in 2006 documentary reporter Sam Farmer was the first to ever interview Kony. In the interview, Kony says that he is a freedom fighter, fighting for the freedom of Uganda, but he’s not a terrorist. “I haven’t abducted anyone. The civilians volunteer.” “We want the people of Uganda to be free- a total democracy.”
The LRA is no longer located in northern Uganda (where it originated), but it continues its campaign of violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, and South Sudan. In its 26-year history, the LRA has abducted more than 30,000 children and displaced at least 2.1 million people.
Based on information from their official website, IC has been working hard for nine years to end Africa’s longest-running armed conflict. They are taking action to ensure that Kony is known as the world’s worst war criminal. In addition, they will make sure the U.S. military advisers support the Ugandan Army until Kony has been captured and the LRA has been completely disarmed. The U.S. has already deployed approximately 100 soldiers in Central Africa for a limited amount of time. If Kony isn’t captured this year, the window will be gone. IC needs the U.S. Military to follow through all the way and finish what they have started.
KONY2012 needs as many people to help turn a dream into a reality. And on the night of April 20th (around 10pm), IC along with many other people around the world will be hitting cities and spreading the word! Everyone will be putting up posters and sticking stickers everywhere to inform people of Kony and his actions.
Read more at The New York Times.