Kony 2012 is a film created by Invisible Children, Inc. The film's purpose is to promote the charity's 'Stop Kony' movement to make indicted Ugandan war criminal Joseph Kony internationally known in order to arrest him in 2012.
The film has spread virally. As of 19 March 2012, the film had over 83 million views on video-sharing website YouTube, and over 16.6 million views on Vimeo, with other viewing emanating from a central "Kony2012" website operated by Invisible Children. The intense exposure of the video caused the "Kony 2012" website to crash shortly after it began gaining widespread popularity. A number of celebrities have endorsed the campaign, including Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Christina Milian, Nicki Minaj, Bill Gates and Kim Kardashian. On April 20, 2012, as part of the campaign, supporters will put up posters promoting Kony 2012 in their hometowns. Invisible Children offers posters from an online shop in an attempt to gain wider recognition. They have also created action kits to help spread awareness that include campaign buttons, posters, bracelets, and stickers.
The film documents Invisible Children Inc's plans and efforts to arrest Kony. It describes Kony's guerrilla warfare tactics with his Lord's Resistance Armyand the regions (northern Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, and South Sudan) in which they have been employed. One of the main people featured in the film is a Ugandan named Jacob, whose brother was killed by the Lord's Resistance Army. In response, director and founder of Invisible Children, Jason Russell, "promises Jacob that he will help stop Kony." The film advocates curtailing compelled and coerced youth military service and the restoration of social order. The video also has clips of Jason Russell's young son, Gavin, reacting to the information about Kony.
For over 20 years this man Kony has slaughtered the people of Uganda. In a nutshell, because most people may not watch this 27 minute video, he kidnaps children, makes them murder their parents, rapes and mutilates the girls and trains them to be soldiers. Not for political reasons but for his own power.
Uploaded by invisiblechildreninc on
"Culture and policy makers"
The Invisible Children charity has focused on obtaining the support of a select group of individuals in order to "help bring awareness to the horrific abuse and killing of children in the East and Central African countries at the hands of Kony and his leadership". This list included 20 "celebrity culture makers", such as George Clooney, Angelina Jolie, Taylor Swift, and Ryan Seacrest.
The list also featured 12 "policy makers" that have "the power to keep U.S. government officials in Africa" in order to work toward the capture of Kony. This list includes former U.S. President George W. Bush and his Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and U.S. Senator and former presidential candidate John Kerry.
Criticisms of U.S. military assistance
In October 2011, U.S. President Barack Obama announced that he would send 100 American military advisors to Uganda, South Sudan, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to help the regional forces remove Joseph Kony "from the battlefield". However, they were not authorized to fight unless they were fired upon. Human rights advocates have reported that both the Ugandan army and the former Sudan People’s Liberation Army, which forms the core of the new South Sudanese army, have exploited children as soldiers. They criticized the U.S. decision to provide military assistance for armies accused of using child soldiers: "Countries that keep using child soldiers aren’t going to get serious about ending the practice until they see the US is serious about withholding the money,” said Jo Becker, child rights advocate at Human Rights Watch. Further criticism has come from the campaign's lack of accountability towards the Ugandan government in the conflict. There has also been a more realist analysis of President Obama's decision to send military advisers to the region, with some suggesting that the assistance was a reward for Ugandan assistance in Somalia. Some have argued that U.S. interest in Africa is mainly due to Uganda's recent discovery of oil. Author and human rights advocate, Adam Branch asks, 'How are we, as US citizens, allowing our government to militarise Africa in the name of the "War on Terror" and its effort to secure oil resources?'
A March 2012 showing of the film in Lira, a town in northern Uganda, was met with jeering and thrown objects. An estimated 35,000 people jeered at the showing, and some threw rocks at the screen and at the group African Youth Initiative Network, which screened the film and provided translations. The screening prompted angry calls to local radio stations. Ugandans were upset that the film devoted so much attention to the filmmakers and Kony while spending relatively little time on the conflict's victims, prompting complaints that the film was "more about whites than Ugandans." Others objected to being reminded of the horrors Kony brought to Uganda. Despite the negative response, the organization still plans on showing the film in other towns, hoping to avoid this response by providing context for the film and its message of advocacy.
Invisible Children's response
On March 8, 2012, Invisible Children released an official response addressing the criticisms directed at Kony 2012. As an explanation for the simplicity of the movie, they stated that "in [their] quest to garner wide public support of nuanced policy, [they] sought to explain the conflict in an easily understandable format". Jedediah Jenkins, the director of idea development for Invisible Children, responded to the new criticisms by saying that they were "myopic" and that the video itself was a "tipping point" that "got young people to care about an issue on the other side of the planet that doesn’t affect them." In response to concerns about working with the Ugandan government, Invisible Children explained that they "do not defend any of the human rights abuses perpetrated by the Ugandan government or the Ugandan army" and the reason why they are working with the Ugandan army even though Kony is no longer in Uganda is because the army is "more organized and better equipped than that of any of the other affected countries (DRC, South Sudan, CAR) to track down Joseph Kony" and that they want all of the governments in the region to work together to arrest Kony. Jenkins stated that "There is a huge problem with political corruption in Africa. If we had the purity to say we will not partner with anyone corrupt, we couldn’t partner with anyone."
On March 15, 2012, two weeks after the Kony 2012 film had gone viral on the internet, Invisible Children, Inc. co-founder, Jason Russell was held by San Diego police after they received reports that he was running through the streets unclothed. The police said he was not arrested but detained and hospitalized for dehydration, exhaustion and malnutrition. His wife explained that he was adversely affected by criticism of the film, "because of how personal the film is, many of the attacks against it were also very personal, and Jason took them very hard."
|Jason Russell - Invisible Children|
‘Kony 2012′ filmmaker expected to be released from mental hospital soon
The wife of Jason Russell, the creator of the viral "Kony 2012" video, said her husband was suffering from "extreme exhaustion and dehydration," after police found him last week nearly naked and incoherent in his San Diego neighborhood.
But good is now happening due to the efforts and bravery of this beleaguered filmmaker:
Uganda to head new military force to hunt for Kony
Uganda will head a new four-nation military force to capture Joseph Kony, the fugitive warlord whose global profile has soared in recent days due to a celebrity-backed internet campaign to bring him to justice.
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