BY LAURA CLARK, Staff Writer
Social media has been buzzing this week about a new video that has gone viral and is quickly raising awareness amongst the online community.
In a 30 minute presentation, KONY 2012 explains the horrific events occurring in Uganda because of a man named Joseph Kony and his mission to capture children and bring them to fight for him in his Lord’s Resistance Army.
The video, which currently has over 70 million views, was created by the non-profit advocacy group Invisible Children in order to raise awareness about Kony and his crimes. The video was created and narrated by Invisible Children co-founder Jason Russell, who encourages people to make Kony’s name known and visible to everyone, especially politicians who have the power to deploy forces, arrest him, and stop the army.
The atrocities of Kony’s crimes are described in the video through Jacob, a friend of Jason’s who grew up in Uganda. Jacob witnessed the horrors firsthand when he was forced to become part of Kony’s army, where he saw the murder of his own brother by Kony’s forces. Children in the army are treated brutally, Russell says in the video.
Young boys are given guns and turned into miniature soldiers, young girls are turned into sex slaves, some children’s faces are mutilated, and they are forced to kill their own parents.
Invisible Children encourages everyone to spread the word and make Kony notorious, famous, and well-known. The video asks that everyone donate money to the cause and receive a Kony 2012 Action Kit, which includes a t-shirt, a Kony bracelet, an action guide, stickers, a button, and posters.
However, the due to the video going viral, the Invisible Children site currently can not accept orders for the kits because they do not have enough products to fulfill the demand.
Although the KONY 2012 video was only released several days ago, it has already been subject to media backlash from several sites regarding its spending practices. It received harsh criticism from a blog, Visible Children, in which blogger Grant Oyston suggests that if people want to take action against Joseph Kony, they should definitely be doing their research before deciding to donate to Invisible Children or to any other charity.
Oyston mentions that Russell and the Invisible Children team have been appreciative of his criticism. However, Oyston also questions Russell and the rest of the Invisible Children team’s spending practices in regards to their donation funds on his blog.
In one of his blogs, Oyston says, “As an aside, Jason offered to fly me out to San Diego to meet with IC, and later in the conversation, offered to fly me to visit their projects in Africa. It would’ve cost Invisible Children at least $3,000 in flights alone. I would’ve loved to go, but said no only because if I donated to IC, I wouldn’t want my money going towards flying a blogger to Africa.”
Invisible Children has fired back at the criticism of misuse of funds, saying, “There have been hundreds of thousands of comments in support of the arrest of Joseph Kony and the work of Invisible Children.
There have been pieces written that are putting out false or misleading information about these efforts. Invisible Children’s mission is to stop LRA violence and support the war-affected communities in East and Central Africa.” There are the three ways we achieve this mission; each is essential.”
To view the video, visit www.kony2012.com.