Joseph Kony is a Ugandan warlord who came to power through religious family ties. His aunt was her tribe’s mystic and started the Holy Spirit Movement. Kony asserts that he is a prophet sent from God to purify Uganda and to bring peace under the rule of the Ten Commandments. As the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), Kony has been engaged in a monstrous campaign to set up theocratic leadership in the African nation since 1986.
Over the last 26 years the LRA have abducted and enslaved an estimated 30,000 to 60,000 children, forcing them into sex slavery and into the service of a militant child army. Young boys are armed and taught to kill, often starting with the execution of their own families. The LRA has systematically terrorized communities not only in Uganda, but also the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, and Central African Republic. In 2005, Joseph Kony was indicted for crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court, but has since evaded capture.
And now, Jason Russell wants you to stop Joseph Kony. Russell is the co-founder of Invisible Children, an organization dedicated to informing young people around the world about the atrocities being committed by Kony and the LRA. What began as a small grassroots organization in San Diego, California is now hundreds of thousands members strong. Invisible Children believes that, through the connective power of social media, we are that generation that can make a difference.
As this issue swirls to the forefront, a myriad of counter-arguments have arisen. Objections range from scoffing at the thought that attempting to stop a warlord through twitter is naive, to criticism that asserts that capturing Kony is an oversimplification of the problem, and will not stop the LRA. There have been serious allegations that supporting the “good guys” means supporting a potentially equally corrupt and dangerous Ugandan military. There is no denying that the ongoing strife in Uganda is a deeply nuanced and complex issue.
The question is, which side of history do you want to be on? If we were to rewind seventy years to the era of the Third Reich. Had there been a facebook, twitter and youtube, would you have sat in silence when given the opportunity to raise your voice? Or would you have joined the movement condemning the massacre of millions of innocent Jews and to stop Adolph Hitler? War criminals tend to enjoy their anonymity so that their blood-letting can continue uninterrupted. At the very least the Kony 2012 campaign is a powerful tool to raise awareness of an intolerable situation which has existed for far too long. If successful in its mission, Kony 2012 can lead to an improved quality of life for thousands of children and an entire region.
The Kony regime is a disgrace that spans 25 years of violence, there will be no tidy resolution. So what are you going to do? Will you sit on the fence waiting for the perfect cause to support? There are no perfect causes, just like their are no perfect people. Nelson Mandela was not perfect, Jason Russell is not perfect, and neither are you and I. Before you support any cause, know what you’re supporting. Do as much research as you feel is necessary but, for goodness sake, do something. I am on the side of the argument that says evil prevails when good people do nothing. Let your greatness blossom. Use your clicks to take a stand. Please watch the 30-minute video, and visit Invisible Children to learn more.