For over 20 years, Joseph Kony has terrorized northern Uganda. Kony kidnaps young children and forces them kill or become sex slaves. Over 30,000 have been abducted and 100,000 people have died as a result from actions of the Lord’s Resistance Army, the militiaman group working with Kony.
Since 2006, Kony has left Uganda in peace, but he has moved his terror to South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic. As Uganda is rebuilding, the Ugandan military is trying to take action against Kony.
On March 6 a video teaching about Kony and the injustice happening in Uganda went viral. The video was produced by the charity Invisible Children, which is aiming to ‘Make Kony Famous’ and take him down. The few days after the video was released it was shared over most social networking sites, gaining 55 million views.
Invisible Children gained hundreds of new supporters, many of whom bought the Action Kit which includes posters, stickers, buttons, a T-shirt and a bracelet. All of the items had ‘Kony 2012’ on them are are supposed to be used to help cover the streets in Kony’s name to make him famous. As Invisible Children were able to gain these new supporters, bad press about the company started to surface.
Jason Russell, co-founder of Invisible Children, said on the “Today Show” that more of the money donated to the charity goes into raising awareness than to Africa for aiding efforts. Around 25 percent of the nine million dollars Invisible Children received in 2011 were put toward travel expenses and film making.
Although Invisible Children isn’t the most trustworthy charity, it is a great thing they made and distributed that video. Not all Americans watch the news, or seek out information about all the events in the world, and this video helped show millions more people what is going on in Uganda because this video was powerful enough to make people watch it and understand what is going on.
For many people this war is new news, but it has been going on for years and there have been efforts to help citizens of the countries it is affecting and to stop it. This isn’t just affecting Uganda. The U.S. has been training Ugandan forces and sent military to assist them to find Kony and stop the LRA.
This is too important to let it be a trending topic for only a week and then be shoved into the crowded corners of the internet. The more people who know about Kony the better.
The most important thing is that we can’t forget about all the other problems and news in the world just because Kony and the press around Invisible Children are hot topics. We have to pay attention to the other wars and tragedies in the world without forgetting Kony.
If you truly want to help fight against Kony and the LRA, spend time researching what is happening. Learn about different charities you can donate to and which ones are focused on what you believe needs to be done. Don’t think that a 30 minute video taught you everything you need to know.