Invisible Children heads up the Stop Kony campaign, which is a global effort to bring Joseph Kony to justice. The promotional video is about 30 minutes long, and with so many people pressed for time, I decided to write a summary of the main points of the film.
First, I think the film is very self-aggrandizing, and it is odd that the creator is prompting his own son to give an opinion about a sadistic murderer. The kid has plenty of time to grow up and think about these things when he has the maturity level to understand the issues. But with those complaints aside, it is a well-produced film with a fantastic stated purpose.
In short, Joseph Kony is the leader of the LRA, which is a group of rebels that kidnaps children in Uganda and forces them to act as LRA soldiers. The girls are forced to act as sex slaves. They have also killed some of the children for not obeying orders. According to the film, there have been 30,000 such victims since this LRA reign of terror began 26 years ago. Forced acts have even included forcing kids to kill their own parents.
As an aside, stopping Osama bin Laden did not stop terrorism. And this is part of the problem. You can’t just take out Joseph Kony. Someone will just take his place. So this issue is much bigger than one man.
I also found it bizarre to say that the film will expire on December 31, 2012. You certainly can’t rush justice, particularly international justice. It is unrealistic to think this problem will be solved on a specific timeline. Once again, the creator is passionate but unrealistic at the same time. But that does not take away from the fact that the cause is very admirable.
Now, some may be wondering why the US government is not doing anything to stop this. Well, the movie explains that all those in Washington (both major parties) do not see this as an issue in the national interest. Political arguments aside, both parties have consistently refused to get involved in several travesties like this in Africa (similar atrocities happened in Rwanda, and the UN turned its back).
Invisible Children then goes into a self-promotional campaign about the good that it has done to raise money for charity and build schools and do other good deeds. This has nothing to do with Kony and the LRA, so I have no idea what it is doing in the movie except as additional self-aggrandizement.
By the way, Kony is under indictment. But Uganda either has not tried or at least tried hard enough to capture him. And as stated above, other governments don’t feel the need to get involved.
However, Obama eventually sent a small number of 100 or so troops to advise and assist in the pursuit of Kony. This is the equivalent of military lip service and nothing else, but the show makes it sound like some grand accomplishment.
The show then says Kony has “changed his tactics” to avoid capture.
This brings us to the call to action given by Invisible Children. In short, it says we need to spread the word about Joseph Kony to avoid having the advisor group’s mission cancelled by the president. The campaign also involves going to the website to send emails to 40 influential people. The idea is to get these people to support the cause. You can also donate money and get an action kit with Kony 2012 items that are meant to help spread the word. The plan is to hang all these posters in every street corner in America on April 20, 2012.
Although I am critical of the movie, I am not critical of the cause. Let me make that as clear as possible. And I support the cause of getting the word out. The guy lives to torture people, and he needs to be stopped. But I think the job of doing that lies with the Ugandan government and army at this point. The pressure should be on them to use all legal measures necessary to hunt this guy down. I also support having the advisory group, but it is not a solution by itself. Sending a group of advisors with no military authority is more of a political move than an action to affect real change.
Click the link below to watch the Stop Kony video. You can visit the website for this Invisible Children campaign at Kony2012.com.