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Kony 2012: Movement of Justice or Controversy

A global movement of justice has recently gained momentum through the power of social media. An activist group called Invisible Children created a documentary about bringing peace to Uganda and other Sub-Saharan African countries. It has gone viral, getting over 100 million views in only 6 days. This documentary is a part of Invisible Children’s campaign to capture Joseph Kony known as Kony2012.

Joseph Kony is the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a group of rebels that has abducted over 30,000 children and made them soldiers. Kony indoctrinates these children, encouraging them to rape, mutilate, and murder civilians. The group began in Uganda. Since then they have terrorized the Congo, South Sudan, and the Central African Republic. For his crimes, the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for his arrest in 2005.

How did this movement of justice start?

Invisible Children (IC) began when three filmmakers, Bobby Bailey, Laren Poole, and Jason Russell, traveled to Africa to create the documentary in 2003. Since then their organization has grown with offices in Africa and the U.S. Led by CEO Ben Keesey, IC’s goals are: spread awareness, lead advocacy projects, and create assistance programs for those affected by Kony’s cruelty. They have funded a Crisis Tracker, scholarships, and rehabilitation centers.

Although the Kony2012 movement has raised international concern for these exploited children, it has not been without controversy.

No one denies that Joseph Kony is a war criminal, however many question the Kony2012 campaign methods. Some have argued that Invisible Children is “oversimplifying complex Uganda history” and providing outdated information. Many believe the campaign promotes the bigamist idea that Africans need to be saved by wealthy Americans. Others worry that Kony2012 is turning the struggles of Ugandans into a “fad” instead of an activist movement.

We are all a part of a global community and naturally, we want to support others. So what can we do now to help? Consider reading about current issues involving LRA and the facts behind Kony2012. Then decide for yourself whether to donate to Kony2012 or to donate to other Central African support groups listed on Charity Navigator. The most important thing we can learn from this campaign is that global awareness is essential for creating peace.

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