Within the last 2 days, a video entitled "Kony 2012" has gone viral and netizens are buzzing with excitement as to what the phenomenon signifies. To help us gain a better understanding of what it is all about, I am posting the following articles for info.
According to Wikipedia / Joseph Kony:
初期，科尼的組織命名為「聯合聖靈救世軍」(United Holy Salvation Army)。隨後，科尼開始綁架平民兒童加入戰爭，男孩被迫戰鬥，女孩則淪為軍妓和性奴。科尼經常在綁架他們後殺掉他們的家人和鄰居。 據統計，自1986年以來，被科尼強行徵募的兒童約為66000人。1992年，該組織更名為聖主抵抗軍。科尼更神話個人形象，煽動仇恨。多年來，該組織頻繁襲擊平民，造成至少數萬人喪生，200萬人無家可歸。
"Kony 2012: An Unlikely Viral Video Starts A Discussion About Human Rights In Africa"
By George Stroumboulopoulos, CBC March 7, 2012
It's not every day that a campaign against human rights violations in Africa becomes a worldwide trending topic on Twitter and a viral video phenomenon.
This surprising development is the result of efforts by U.S. NGO Invisible Children, an organization dedicated to bringing to justice Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army rebel movement that has been waging a guerilla war against the Ugandan government since the 1980s - largely through the use of child soldiers it has abducted, abused and forced into service.
Two days ago, Invisible Children released a video called "Kony 2012", a half-hour long account of Kony's murderous impact on the lives of children in northern Uganda and a plea to viewers around to help efforts to bring him to justice. Tied to the clip was a large-scale social media campaign, urging people to watch, share and promote the video with their friends and followers.
As of today, against all expectations, a half-hour-long video about a conflict obscure to many North Americans has turned into a bona fide phenomenon, with more than 15 million views and counting.
Kony is a deplorable figure: He has been accused of kidnapping untold numbers of children from the LRA's territory in northern Uganda, turning young boys into drugged and brainwashed killers, young girls into sex slaves, and many children into victims of torture and murder. He has been sought by the International Criminal Court since 2005 for crimes against humanity, and he remains a fugitive at large.
Many people would be happy to support efforts to bring him to justice, but it's rare that African war criminals are widely discussed on the Twittersphere, and the degree to which "Kony 2012" has captured attention is an incredible accomplishment.
Of course, like any sudden phenomenon, "Kony 2012" has attracted critics as well as supporters. While virtually nobody has tried to defend the reputation of Kony or the LRA (although Rush Limbaugh did attempt it recently), there have been some concerns expressed about the video, the campaign and the organization behind. These are just some of the discussions that have been taking place - mostly in the blogosphere - around Invisible Children's campaign:
1. It overly simplifies a complicated situation. While many in the human rights and development communities stated an appreciation of efforts to draw attention to Kony's horrific history, some were concerned that it the video reduced the situation in Uganda to an easy, good-guys-vs-bad-guys narrative, when the reality is far more complex.
2. It does not include the people of northern Uganda themselves. A post on theJustice in Conflict blog, written by a Canadian human rights scholar, provided a thought-provoking summary of this viewpoint. It points out that very few voices in the movie come from the people who the makers of "Kony 2012" are ostensibly trying to help - those living in northern Uganda who have suffered from the civil wars between Kony and the government. That is partly because it is their own children who make up the LRA, and partly because they blame the government as much as the rebels for the violence in their lives. There is widespread support for an amnesty process that would allow LRA members to return home to face a form of "peace justice" - an idea that might not fit neatly into a campaign to "Stop Kony."
3. It advocates a disempowering approach. Variations on this argument invoke uncomfortable words such as "paternalism," "colonialism" and even "racism" to summarize Invisible Children's approach to helping people in Africa - that the message being sent is that only rich, white North Americans can do something about the problems in places like Uganda, in spite of the fact that a lot of work has already been done on the ground to deal with problems such as Kony - such as the amnesty process mentioned above. This argument has been articulated by a number of writers, including Grant Oyston, whose Tumblr feed Visible Children is dedicated to presenting an alternative view to Invisible Children's take on Uganda, and other bloggers such as Unmuted, Siena Anstis and
Of course, bloggers are notoriously willing to take down even the most worth of causes when given the chance, and there is no shortage of people who have been rightly inspired by the "Kony 2012" campaign, and who have become involved in an issue that they may have otherwise never learned about.
What's truly amazing is that a group of young filmmakers has been able to start a major public discussion about a seriously important issue that many North Americans were completely unfamiliar with just days ago. Invisible Children and their video campaign could be said to have attracted more attention to issues affecting northern Uganda in two days than had been accomplished in the last 20 years. Now it remains to be seen if it will be translated into long-term action.++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
According to YouTube: "KONY 2012 is a film and campaign by Invisible Children that aims to make Joseph Kony famous, not to celebrate him, but to raise support for his arrest and set a precedent for international justice."
"Ugandan Warlord Joseph Kony Under Spotlight Thanks To Viral Video" by Mark Memmott
The hashtag term #stopkony has been trending on Twitter all day, Reddit.com has been deluged with posts about Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony and he's suddenly the subject of a quickly growing number of blog posts and news stories.
All, apparently, because of an activist group's quite successful effort to have its latest video about atrocities done by Kony's Lord's Resistance Army go viral.
The organization is Invisible Children, and the 30-minute video is indeed a powerful piece of work. It skillfully tells the tale of Kony's army, which as NPR's Michele Kelemen has previously reported, "has been terrorizing Uganda and surrounding nations for decades ... [and] has specialized in kidnapping children and forcing them to fight." Last October, President Obama announcedhe was sending 100 U.S. troops to central Africa to train and advise militaries that are trying to track down Kony and his fighters.
According to The Daily Dot, on Tuesday night Invisible Children's video "exploded across multiple Web communities," with millions of views on Vimeo and YouTube, and hundreds of thousands of "likes" on Facebook.
"Invisible Children has been canny about marketing the film through social media via the use of Twitter hashtags (#kony2012) and celebrities. Rihanna, Stephen Fry, and The Onion's Baratunde Thurston have all tweeted about the film. In addition, Invisible Children is organizing a celebrity pressure campaign to get, among others, Oprah Winfrey, Mark Zuckerberg, and Lady Gaga to publicize #kony2012."
Now, there is some needed context, according to the Council on Foreign Relations' Foreign Affairs magazine. It reported last November that Invisible Children and some other organizations involved in the KONY 2012 campaign:
"Have manipulated facts for strategic purposes, exaggerating the scale of LRA abductions and murders and emphasizing the LRA's use of innocent children as soldiers, and portraying Kony — a brutal man, to be sure — as uniquely awful, a Kurtz-like embodiment of evil. They rarely refer to the Ugandan atrocities or those of Sudan's People's Liberation Army, such as attacks against civilians or looting of civilian homes and businesses, or the complicated regional politics fueling the conflict."
The activists have rejected such charges, saying "we've done our utmost to stick to the facts" and have tried to highlight "atrocities by the Ugandan government."
It also adds that while awareness is good, "these problems are highly complex, not one-dimensional and, frankly, aren't of the nature that can be solved by postering, film-making and changing your Facebook profile picture, as hard as that is to swallow."
But no one seems to dispute that Kony is evil. And Invisible Children's Jason Russell, who made the video, tells AllAfrica.comthat the point of the video and the campaign is to get viewers to:
"Make a commitment to stop at nothing by making sure Kony is known in their circle of influence, whether it's their family or office or school. The dream would be for Kony to be captured, not killed, and brought to the International Criminal Court to face trial. The world would know about his crimes and they would watch the trial play out on an international level, seeing a man face justice who got away with abducting children, raping little girls, and mutilating people's faces for 26 years."