On March 5, 2012 Invisible Children launched their most recent film “Kony 2012.” This film was created to bring the crimes of Joseph Kony to light and demand his arrest. Within four days, the video had over 55 million hits on YouTube, the definition of a video going viral.
Invisible Children began with a film created by three young men who “stumbled upon Africa’s longest-running war–a conflict where children were both the weapons and the victims.” The film focused on a group of Ugandan children who walked miles every night to safe places of refuge to avoid abduction by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The LRA is a guerrilla group, led by Joseph Kony, who has terrorized Uganda since the 80s and now has moved to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, South Sudan and Sudan. In 2005 the International Crime Court (ICC) announced the arrest of Joseph Kony and four other LRA members for crimes against humanity.
When the three young men returned to the states, they were inspired to spread awareness on the issue. Over the past nine years IC has focused on rebuilding schools, scholarship sponsors, job creation, rehabilitation for past LRA solders, and most recently the Early Warning Radio Network which warns communities of LRA movement and provides real time updates.
Though it is exciting to see such immediate public awareness through social media, there have been some criticisms of the video. It has been said that the film over simplifies the issues surrounding the LRA, which is inevitable in a 30 minute film. Within four days there were over 55 million views, that alone is insane! Yes the film may not tell the whole story, but at least people are watching. What is important is that Invisible Children is encouraging people to care about global issues and they’re not the only ones. If you are interested in learning more about the ICC, a great documentary to watch is “Darfur Now” it follow six stories, one of which is Prosecutor Louis Moreno Ocampo who is featured in “Kony 2012.”
Regardless of the controversy surrounding the video, the most important thing to take away is how a global issue can spread so quickly. We’re excited about the opportunity for organizations like Anchal to be able to spread awareness on global social injustice.