Unless you are Amish or have been avoiding Facebook in order not to see your ex do stupid things online, youâ€™ve heard about the KONY2012 campaign created by Invisible Children. The campaign is presented through a 30-minute video of Jason Russell, one of the founders of Invisible Children, interviewing his four-year-old son about Joseph Kony, the war lord who has been abducting children ages 5 to 12 to fight in the Lordâ€™s Resistance Army (LRA) for the past 26 years.
The idea of the campaign is to make Joseph Kony the most famous man in the world in order to bring attention to the atrocities he is committing and help the International Criminal Court (ICC) capture and imprison him.
The goal of the video was to get 500,000 views by the end of 2012. However, by the end of the first night, there were 7 million views. And now, two weeks later, there have been more than 100 million views. For people like me who have been a part of this movement for years, this news has been overwhelmingly emotional and exciting. If, however, you are not a supporter, then the constant tweeting, Facebook updates and media coverage are probably driving you up the wall, and youâ€™re ready to punch someone. (I donâ€™t suggest doing so.)
With all the good press KONY2012 has been getting, there are of course the critics â€“â€“ as there are with all good things. The biggest controversy has been the distribution of funds from Invisible Children.
Yes, 30 percent of all their proceeds go to the mission in Central Africa. However, this is not because the employees are pocketing it. (The IC Lawyer Jedidiah Jenkins doesnâ€™t even own a mattress. He sleeps in a sleeping bag on the floor with his stuffed shark â€¦ a very cool stuffed shark!)
IC wanted to create a new way of activism, which is a three-fold approach: Mission, Movement and Media. One third of the funds go toward the mission in Africa. This includes education for children, employment for former LRA sex slaves and rehabilitation to former LRA child soldiers. Another third goes towards the movies they make to educate people, the products they sell in their stores and so on. The final third goes towards the movement. This is all about us, traveling to educate Americans about what is going on and what they can do to help make a change.
I personally am friends with the founders and employees of Invisible Children and have been working alongside them for years. A lot of the criticism during the past two weeks has been hard, but I understand that youâ€™re all entitled to your opinion. Let me just say that no non-profit organization is fool-proof. There will always be problems and room to grow.
IC is not perfect, and there is a lot to be done to make it better. After all, poverty and the issues in Central Africa are not simple but severely complex, and therefore will take a complex solution.
However, this is a start. This is educating the masses and bringing people together from all over the world into a global community. Liking or disliking Invisible Children is irrelevant. Wanting to stop a war lord from abducting children and forcing them to kill their families and live as sex slaves, we can all agree, is not acceptable. The great thing about this movement is that, with all the different people learning about the issues, more creative ideas will be drawn up to end this war and to make a change.
We will not be the generation that sits idly by as human rights violations increase and poverty and disease make a more prominent name for themselves. We WILL be the generation that comes together, ignoring race, religion, ethnicity and gender to stand together as one and say that we have dreamt of a better world. And we will not rest until that dream is our reality.
Katie Leigh Hutt is a sophomore art major who works in creative services for the Rocky Mountain Student Media Corporation. More of her writing can be read at Katieleighblog.blogspot.com.