Kony 2012: The Movement That Was

In with a bang, out with a sputter? That seems to be the motto of Invisible Children Inc., the non-profit organization that created the infamous Kony 2012 video. Since the 30-minute viral video was first uploaded on March 5th it has garnered over 85 million views on Youtube and has been featured on national and international news. While the campaign has been wildly successful based on its simple goal, “to make Kony famous,” recent weeks have shown that it takes more than a viral video to bring the most wanted man in Africa to justice.

While the Kony 2012 campaign brought the atrocities committed by the Lord’s Revolution Army to millions American computer monitors by early March, Invisible Children Inc. founder Jason Russell has been lobbying against the child army since his return from Northern Uganda in 2004. Since then, Invisible Children Inc. has used its assets to raise awareness of the situation in central Africa and pressure US legislators to bring solutions to the house floor. Although the movement was met with support from many spiritual leaders (except probably Scientologists) and college students (all sociology majors no doubt…), cries for meaningful legislation fell on deaf ears in Washington. That is, until Kony went viral.

Within days of the Kony 2012 video’s initial uploading, millions of Facebook and Twitter users were cluttering each other’s newsfeeds with links to the video and countless celebrities –notably Oprah Winfrey, Justin Bieber, and Ryan Seacrest- had posted the video on their  blogs. It was not long before distinguished news programs (and Fox and Friends) also took notice of the Kony 2012 campaign. This network publicity helped raise awareness for the movement among older Americans who don’t bother with Twitter. With millions of Americans backing their movement, Invisible Children Inc. is now waiting for Washington to take the next step: passing legislation to help the world bring Kony to justice.

So far, the government’s response has been tentative to say the least. While March 21st saw a resolution presented that, if passed, would condemn Joseph Kony for his crimes against humanity and pledge financial aid to central African countries in their fight against the LRA, it only has the backing of 37 senators. It also seems that despite the rigorous lobbying of Invisible Children Inc., many senators are still unaware of the LRA and its terrible human rights violations. Furthermore, they are wary to commit American soldiers to a conflict which has little to nothing to do with American interests.

In contrast , the African Union pledged to send “5,000 troops to hunt down rebel leader Joseph Kony and neutralize him.” The African Union later stated that the search would last “until Kony is caught.”

In a world where one message can be spread so fast to so many different people, it is no wonder why the Kony 2012 video was an instant hit. Although the critics may call it a vague, oversimplified, and dumbed down version of the truth, there is no doubt that the campaign has achieved it’s goal; Joseph Kony is famous.

It will be a few months before it is possible to ascertain whether Americans will follow the motto of Invisible Children Inc.: Do More Than Just Watch.

 Mac Zech, Staff Writer

Posted by on March 28, 2012. Filed under World News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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