A documentary about a little-known conflict that has devastated Uganda since the early 1980s has set social networks ablaze, being viewed nearly 4 million times in two days. Kony 2012, named after the infamous leader of Christian terrorist group the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), is a film and campaign by humanitarian group 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”.
The film focuses on the issue of child soldiers, with Kony’s LRA reportedly having up to 30,000 boys and girls who are used as soldiers and sex slaves. Kony is alleged to have fathered over 200 children during his 26 years on the run from the Ugandan government.
Kony, who wants to implement a theocratic government in Uganda based on the Ten Commandments, is wanted on 33 separate criminal charges, including 12 counts of crimes against humanity, following his indictment at the International Criminal Court in 2006. Other charges include murder, enslavement and rape, while the US has named Kony as one of the world’s most wanted terrorists after being on the run for over 26 years.
However, progress on arrest and formal prosecution has been painfully slow as Uganda does not register on the foreign policy screens of most first world nations. If America’s national security interests are not at risk, why would we intervene? Popular support for such an effort would be limited as the overwhelming majority of people have no idea who this man is and what he has done.
Enter a small group of passionate individuals, armed only with social media accounts, who wish to bring the man to justice by telling everyone in the world of his crimes, presumably leading to a global demand for justice.
Invisible Children, an activist group that campaigns to end genocide and crimes against humanity, said the goal of Kony 2012 was to raise awareness about one of the world’s most brutal warlords in an effort to expedite his arrest.
The documentary has also called on supporters to act on April 20, 2012.
“This is the day when we will meet at sundown and blanket every street in every city until the sun comes up. The rest of the world will go to bed Friday night and wake up to hundreds of thousands of posters demanding justice,” Kony 2012 documentary filmmaker Jason Russell said.
If you’d like to get involved in the effort right here in Buffalo, click here to join the Facebook Group (2,000 members and growing) or share the documentary or images above on Twitter with the hashtag #Kony2012.