Jumping on the Bandwagon of Kony 2012

After nine years of work to raise awareness about Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army, Jason Russell found success on March 5 after posting a video, “KONY 2012,” which instantly attracted more than 50 million views on YouTube and Vimeo. In response to messages from the campaign’s supporters, celebrities like Oprah, Rihanna and Ryan Seacrest began posting about it. On its website, Invisible Children, Russell’s group, emphasizes the time-sensitive nature of the mission to stop and disarm the Lord’s Resistance Army, claiming that “If Kony isn’t captured this year, the window will be gone.”

In addition to the surge of publicity and donations the video has elicited, it has also attracted criticism for failing to mention until halfway through the video that the Lord’s Resistance Army left Uganda years ago; for failing to mention abuses by the Ugandan army; for implying that there are 30,000 child soldiers in Mr. Kony’s army today, when the army is believed to be down to hundreds of fighters; and for spending so much of its money on salaries and publicity efforts instead of programs directly aiding local people. In response, Invisible Children re-affirmed its goals to capture Kony and bring him to justice without defending the Ugandan army or providing it with any funds, yet recognizing that the only way to stop Kony is to coordinate efforts with regional governments.

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Opinion: The Dangerous Ignorance of Kony 2012

"In terms of activism, the first step is to re-think the question: Instead of asking how the US can intervene in order to solve Africa’s conflicts, we need to ask what we are already doing to cause those conflicts in the first place. How are we, as consumers, contributing to land grabbing and to the wars ravaging this region? How are we, as US citizens, allowing our government to militarise Africa in the name of the "War on Terror" and its effort to secure oil resources?"

Political science professor Adam Branch, an expert on Uganda, in an editorial criticizing the Kony 2012 movement for Al-Jazeera.

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