Will The Viral Video Campaign Against Joseph Kony Work?
Viral video introduces world to Ugandan guerilla warlord
Over the span of two days one viral video has introduced the world to Joseph Kony, an Ugandan guerilla warlord who has killed and kidnapped thousands. The "Kony 2012" project launched by Invisible Children, a charity organization that has helped rebuild the villages destroyed by Kony, can been viewed more than 7 million times and is trending worldwide.
Almost ten years ago one young man learned of the atrocities being committed in Uganda by the hands of Joseph Kony and his Lord's Resistance Army. Kony is the #1 most wanted war criminal for his abduction of young children, forcing them to fight in his decades long battle to overthrow the Uganda government. This film is the testament to what we can do to help stop war and crimes against children.
In 2005 Kony was indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court at the Hague and with the work done by the Invisible Children organization and with the help of the US government finally offering assistance, the hope is that Koy will be taken down in 2012.
The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), was founded to establish a theocratic government based on the Ten Commandments throughout Uganda. However, Kony and his soldiers have traveled across central Africa attacking and killing thousands. It's estimated that Kony has kidnapped more than 65,000 kids, often times killing their entire families, and enlisting them into his war. [Learn more about Uganda's child soldiers.]
Kony is believe to be possessed, claiming to speak with God and to be doing the work of the lord. His soldiers are told that rubbing oil on their chests will protect them from bullets. As he hides in the bush, the folklore that surrounds him grows.
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Formed in 1987, Kony's group represented the Acholi tribe who felt they were being overlooked by the then centralized government. Decades later the mission or wants of the LRA are unclear, with several attempts at peace talks falling apart. The LRA now operates in Uganda, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic.
Now, you may be thinking, "Why haven't I heard of this man before? Why hasn't the US stepped in?"
Uganda was considered to be one of the most corrupt countries in the world. The country's President Yoweri Museveni has been in office for 26 years and was once a rebel leader who overthrew the then leader. People live off of $1.25 a day and with limited natural resources or an economy its just another country we don't care to think about. There was no reason for America to get involved. We've been waged in the 'War on Terror" for over a decade and that means unless a country is a threat to us either physically or financially we sit on our hands. This means often times humanitarian crisis, especially in Africa, go ignored. Why do you think we've taken so long to begin talking about getting involved in Syria. When President Bill Clinton left office he was candid about his biggest regret while in office -- not stepping in to stop the Rwandan genocide. There was no money to make with Rwanda or political ties. Just lives that could have been saved.
Then oil was discovered.
Five years ago, an oil reserve was located in Uganda that sent the world rushing to do business with Uganda. The poor country was now profitable, or soon would be. As international attention grew over the oil, which is roughly estimated as "billions of barrels worth" things began to change. The country wanted to start cleaning up its act, build infrastructure and get rid of Kony. Late last year, President Obama finally agreed to send 100 US troops to help assist the Ugandan government with tactics to help track and capture Kony.
To learn more about the Invisible Children movement or to pledge your support visit their website.