KONY 2012: Faces behind the video

By Jessica Johnson-Petty
March 29, 2012

Photograph of Joseph Kony, head of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a Ugandan guerrilla group. The LRA operates in Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic and South Sudan. (credit: MCT)

KONY 2012, the viral video that has over 55 million hits and counting, has the world speaking, tweeting and recording.

With a large following, the campaign to make Kony famous gave power to the people.

The issue at hand is that people believe the documentary before digging deep into the truth.

The documentary was 10-years of research put into 30 minutes for people to watch.

The history of it all begins over 20 years ago. A rebel group lead by self-proclaimed prophet, Alice Lakwena, The Holy Spirit Movement, lost momentum as quickly as it was gained beginning in 1986. The Lord’s Resistance Army was formed to maintain the common goal to continue to fight the harshness and oppression of the National Resistance Army.

Leading the LRA, Kony twisted the mission and tactics of the HSM: following the same rituals of Lakwena in terms of protection for the war.

Kony lead the group through various parts of Africa during this time. Uganda is where he began the journey and made the loudest noise. During his ventures, he disturbed families across Africa as he abducted children, both boys and girls, mutilated, raped and killed innocent citizens.

In 2003, Jason Russell, Lauren Poole and Bobby Bailey, the co-founders and filmmakers of the Invisible Children, went to Africa in hopes they’d find a good story.  However, when they learned about the children of Uganda affected by Kony and the LRA, they realized it was more than just a simple project.  It meant something to them. As a result of the completion on the film, a non-profit organization, Invisible Children Inc. was born.

The organization exists to spread awareness, educate others, support and aid the children of all parts of Africa who are affected by the war crimes of Kony and the LRA.  This organization, headquartered in San Diego, Ca. is successful in its mission from the help of staff, volunteers and activists around the country.  Invisible Children now has offices in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Not only does this organization spread awareness, they also work oversees by providing programs to the children of Uganda that aim to give the children successful and independent futures.  The programs provide children with education and mentorship.  The organization also redevelops schools and provides financial stability.

Invisible Children also travels the country, visiting schools to educate the next generation of the United States’ leaders and people with a voice of the conflict happening in Uganda. Even if you are young, you have the opportunity to have the loudest voice.

Invisible Children Inc. started the 2012 campaign.  Although Invisible Children has existed for nine years, the recent urgency is due to the fact that U.S. troops are in Africa on a “time-limited” mission.  This means that the armed forces deployed in central Africa must capture Kony and disarm the LRA within a specific time frame. If the U.S. forces do not capture Kony within the allotted time frame, Kony will continue what he is doing.  This means Kony needs to be captured before the year is over.

The 2012 official website includes vast amounts of information and ways you can spread the word about the campaign.  As you scroll down the page, you will see icons for “The Culture Makers” and “The Policymakers.” If you click one of the icons, it provides you with a message you can tweet to the public figure of your choice including Taylor Swift, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Clinton, John Kerry, Tim Tebow, Ryan Seacrest and many more. The point of this is to make public figures aware of the 2012 movement so in turn they can use their public image to give the movement a bigger, louder voice.

“I support the movement because he’s been doing this for over 26 years and since no one in Africa or in other countries are helping, it’s best we do anything we can here to help stop the abductions and try and end Kony as best as we can,” Brooke Famous, freshman communication major, said.

“When we look at the broad scheme of things, we are beyond Americans and broader than North Americans,” Brandon Mazepa, sophomore history major, said. “We are all humans. Having that one thing in common makes me willing to support the cause. I don’t think I should be more privileged just because I was blessed that I was born in America. It’s not the children in Uganda’s fault they were placed in a rough situation.”

“Although I am not yet a parent, I share the same fears of the parents of this generation: What type of world are my children going to be born into?” David Maples, freshman political science major, said. “Why, in 2012, have we not ended such horrible atrocities? I support the movement because I wouldn’t be able to sleep soundly with my family knowing that somewhere in Uganda a child was just abducted and is now being forced to kill. That is just sickening and indicative of the worst kind of crime; it’s like hell on Earth. The problem then becomes not if we can do something about it because we surely can, but will we do something about it? I for one pledge complete alliance to the cause and urge everyone else to as well.”

“I was very touched by Jacob’s story of how he watched them slit his brother’s throat and how he lives in fear of being kidnapped while he sleeps,” Muse Massaley, freshman biology major, said. “He said at one point that he would rather die and be with his brother once more than to live in a world where he could be kidnapped at any moment and forced to kill and hurt others. I couldn’t imagine the despair he felt or the pain. I want those children to live freely as I did at that age. Being a child soldier should be the least of a child’s worries.”

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Jessica Johnson-Petty

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