Invisible Children's new 30-minute Kony 2012 video was placed on YouTube on March 5th and so far, the campaign has managed to get more than 4 million total views across the web in a little more than 48 hours. Everyone from Oprah to Rihanna to Ashley Judd has tweeted about this film, #KONY2012. It is intended to raise public awareness of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) conflict in Uganda.
In an interview with Enough, Jason Russell, the director of the film and co-founder of Invisible Children, expresses the goal: "The ultimate dream for KONY 2012 is that it becomes a tipping point for conversation, and that people will 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."
Watch the video HERE. Whatever your feelings may be about Invisible Children or their methods of transmitting the message, you gotta love awareness and appreciate those working to spread it.
3/9/2012 UPDATE: More information re: Invisible Children, Inc. They've been criticized by the Better Business Bureau for refusing to provide necessary information in the Bureau’s standards assessment; they've failed to disclose a list of sponsors (beyond the donations of American high school students) and also earned a low rating in accountability from Charity Navigator because they won’t let their financials be independently audited. In a 2011 financial statement, the organization disclosed that only 31% of all the funds they receive are used for charitable purposes, with the majority allocated toward travel expenses and employee salaries. Invisible Children has also been accused of fraud and voter manipulation in a recent charity contest sponsored by Chase Bank and Facebook.
Let's also be reminded that General Museveni abducted thousands of child soldiers to win his insurgency in Uganda in 1986 (launching the pattern of child soldier recruitment all over Africa) and his dictatorship and brutal military is also responsible for the atrocities committed against children in Uganda. Kony is not the only villain - although a villain he is. Why does Invisible Children only go after Kony (especially when he abandoned Uganda in 2006) while leaving Museveni alone and having their funds go to the Ugandan government’s army and various other military forces?
Again, gotta love awareness. Let's not get wrapped up in pro-war hysteria and rush to get behind pro-military interventionist foreign policy. Let's try and understand the complexities and interests involved.