A Straight Account of the Happenings of KONY 2012

The charity known as Invisible Children recently created a video surrounding the inhumane deeds of Joseph Kony, an infamous war criminal that has kidnapped around 20,000 children from their families for his so-called Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).

The thirty minute film became immensely popular almost immediately, developing into the most viral video in history. Facebook and Twitter news feeds lit up with KONY 2012 propaganda, and many YouTube videos were plastered with comments declaring only the campaign’s title. The fact that the video lasts half an hour, rather than two or three minutes is interesting to note as well.

According to their campaign website, Invisible Children has two purposes for creating the video: 1) That Joseph Kony is known as the World’s Worst War Criminal. 2) That U.S. and international efforts to stop Kony are bolstered with a more comprehensive strategy for disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR).”

Joseph Kony has been accused of drugging young boys he kidnaps and forcing them to kill their family, so they would have nothing to come back to, should they try. He also turns young girls into sex slaves, besides murdering dozens more. Since 2005, he has been sought by the International Criminal Court.

Many felt they were part of something great by sharing the video, which calls supporters to cover their hometown in KONY 2012 advertising on April 20th. But, as with every movement, controversy almost immediately arose.

In Lira, Uganda, one of the worst sites of Kony’s massacres, a screening of the film was met with boos and throwing objects, due to its spotlight on the organization, rather than the brutal reality of the killings. In fact, much of Uganda is appalled that the movie only fleetingly mentions that Kony is no longer active in their country. The film is also seen as over simplifying a very complicated matter.

Consideration was taken on the Invisible Children budget. Roughly eighty percent of their income is spent on so-called “programs,” which is a word that entails filming costs, production and professional services, office rent, travel, and entertainment. Charity Navigator dropped their rating from the maximum four stars to two, just this year.

Even more recently, Jason Russell, the filmmaker behind the campaign’s video, was thrust into the limelight when he was nearly arrested for lewd behavior. According to reports, Russell was heavily drunk, running naked publically while masturbating and vandalizing parked vehicles. He was hospitalized, rather than handcuffed, due to malnutrition, exhaustion, and dehydration.

Regardless of the storm of resistance, KONY 2012 has successfully integrated North Americans into a cause that doesn’t immediately concern them, and was previously little-known. What are your thoughts surrounding the campaign? Post your comments below.