A new video has been circulating around the world and has many people talking about one man. The 30 minute video, Kony 2012, has already hit 58 million views and is increasing awareness about Ugandan war lord, Joseph Kony, and the atrocities he’s been committing in Uganda and surrounding countries. But viewers and people just learning about this human rights crisis should watch the video with a discerning eye and not that the film was created to cause awareness and bring about action, rather than state the cold hard facts.
Although Kony 2012 is an inspiring and moving short documentary about Joseph Kony and his Lords Resistance Army, the film does not always present the whole story. For instance, in the 30 minute film, there is only a passing reference to Kony and his army’s whereabouts now. In 2006, Kony fled with his army from Ugandan military forces. They are no longer established in northern Uganda but operate and continue to torture and kill civilians in neighboring countries. If you are just learning about this and watching the film for the first time, you may still believe that Kony is operating in northern Uganda and has a franchise of army troops in surrounding countries. But this is not the case.
Also, the film, which was created by the non-profit group Invisible Children, really focuses on Kony’s victims and states that his army is made up of 30,000 mindless children who have been abducted. Although Kony has abducted upwards of 30,000 children in the past 25 years, which is horrible, this statistics makes it seem as if these 30,000 children are still under his control and in captivity, which is not true.
In addition to presenting moving facts about Kony and the LRA, the film asks viewers to take action. For 30 dollars, people can sign a pledge to spread awareness about Kony and his atrocities, and they also receive a wristband and other items. However, these things alone are not going to help catch Kony this year. Instead, the main purpose of the video (which you may not know) is to keep pressure on the US military that’s already stationed in Uganda, to support Uganda’s efforts in hunting for Kony. Do not be fooled into thinking that signing a pledge and a wristband will bring justice in Uganda.
And one more point to think about. It’s already complicated enough that Obama has sent troops to aid a country that is not necessarily a democratic state. This could become a slippery slope for us, as we’re also trying to navigate the situation in Syria. And, by supporting the Uganda’s efforts to hunt down and capture Kony’s LRA we must remember that many of these soldiers are brainwashed children. Are we going to simply storm in and massacre an army of children because through fear and brainwashing they’ve been forced to commit atrocities of their own?
There is no doubt that the Kony 2012 film raises awareness about this horrible man and will help educate the world about his crimes. But when watching the documentary, one must have the whole story.