Upon searching through the archives of The Badger Herald, one will find that the child abduction and child army atrocities in Uganda have had a decent amount of coverage; on average, they’re covered once a year, as they certainly should be. Obviously, there are many problems throughout the world that lack the news coverage they deserve, but few of them are as horrific as abducting children, in many cases forcing those children to kill their own parents and then sending them off to fight for a singular man’s cause.
This man is Joseph Kony. Strangely, though, the perpetrator of these cruelties had, up until March 5, only one mention in the Herald archives; as of March 7, 2012, thanks to the new documentary “Kony 2012,” his name has at least made an impact on the Herald shout-outs, receiving three mentions. With the release of “Kony 2012,” on March 5, 2012, now seems as good a time as any to put Kony in the spotlight.
“Kony 2012” is a 30-minute documentary about that man and the crimes he has committed against humanity. It was filmed by Jason Russell, one of the leaders of the Invisible Children charity, and utilizes intense, albeit not graphic, footage to get its point across. Powerful images are cleverly juxtaposed with scenes of Russell trying to explain to his young son, Gavin, who Jospeh Kony is and why he matters to the world.
After giving background knowledge on the atrocities committed by Kony and his backers, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), Russell goes on to explain what Invisible Children has accomplished so far, which leads him to relate the experiences of Jacob, a friend of Russell’s and a former child soldier in the LRA. This story serves to further ratchet up the emotional impact of the documentary. Finally, after Russell has the viewer completely emotionally wrapped up, Russell calls for action through an extremely creative directive: Make Joseph Kony world famous.
This mission may seem unorthodox, and perhaps even completely backward, since we in the United States generally interpret “famous” as a desirable status. Because of this, perhaps Russell would have been better suited to ask people for help making Kony infamous. Nonetheless, Russell’s plan is to make Joseph Kony a household name to all people. He asks everyone to share the video, to tell their friends and, especially, to give money to a charity and place “Kony 2012” posters and stickers anywhere and everywhere until April 20, 2012, comes around — a date that Russell has dubbed “Cover the Night.” Russell also hopes that those helping will tweet at certain celebrities and write letters to certain policy makers in an effort to coax them into using their significant spheres of influence for the purpose of forcing the U.S. government’s hand into keeping the 100 troops stationed in Uganda to help bring Kony to justice. This is Invisible Children’s endgame, and, with enough help, it just might work.
Unfortunately, there is a downside to Invisible Children. Like most charities, a portion of the money that is donated doesn’t go directly to the cause. According to the charity’s own financial statements from 2011, the three founding members received a salary of $262,287. They also have a few large sums of money invested in camera equipment, travel equipment and expenses and computer equipment. As a result, those seeking to take action may want to do so through a different avenue than by simply donating money. This slightly unethical spending does not and should not cloud the goodness of the charity’s message, however.
Take the time to watch “Kony 2012,” because my words truly do not do the film justice. This is a fight that is extremely easy to take part in, since people already share nonsense on Facebook all the time; perhaps this time it could be something worthwhile. Make Kony known to the world so he may be captured, and perhaps we can make just the slightest bit of difference in the world that will make all the difference to the worlds of the invisible children.