The film’s purpose is to promote the charity’s ‘stop kony’ movement to make indicted Ugandan war criminal joseph kony internationally known in order to arrest him in 2012.The film was released on March 5, 2012 on the internet, directed by Jason Russelland produced by Kimmy Vandivort, Heather Longerbeamm, Chad Clendinen, and Noelle Jouglet.
Jedediah Jenkins, the director of idea development for invisible children, explained that the video itself was a “tipping point” that “got young people to care about an issue on the other side of the planet that doesn’t affect them
The film has spread virally. As of 12th March 2012, the film currently had over 74 million views on video-sharing website YouTube, and over 16.6 million views on vimeo, with other viewing emanating from a central “kony2012” website operated by invisible children
The film documents the invisible children inc’s plans and efforts to arrest kony. It describes kony’s guerrilla warfare tactics with his lord’s resistance army and the regions (northern Uganda, democratic republic of Congo, and south Sudan) in which they have been employed.One of the main people featured in the film is a Ugandan named Jacob, whose brother was killed by the lord’s resistance army. The video also has clips of Jason Russell’s son, Gavin. Gavin is a young child and many children his age are subject to kony’s regime. Gavin shows that even though he’s young he wants to help and wonders why no one else does. He also says innocent, childlike things – when told that kony forces people to kill family members and fellow countrymen, his response is “but they’re not gonna do what he says, ’cause they’re nice guys… right?”
According to the directors of the film, their action is to ensure two things:
- That Joseph Kony is known as the world’s worst war criminal.
- That U.S. and international efforts to stop kony are bolstered with a more comprehensive strategy for disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (ddr).
But big question is ; who is Joseph Kony?
JOSEPH KONY is the world’s worst war criminal. In 1987 he took over leadership of an existing rebel group and renamed it the lord’s resistance army (LRA).
The LRA has earned a reputation for its cruel and brutal tactics. When joseph kony found himself running out of fighters, he started abducting children to be soldiers in his army or “wives” for his officers. The LRA is encouraged to rape, mutilate, and kill civilians–often with blunt weapons.
The LRA is no longer active in northern Uganda (where it originated) but it continues its campaign of violence in democratic republic of Congo, Central African Republic, and south Sudan. In its 26-year history, the LRA has abducted more than 30,000 children and displaced at least 2.1 million people.
The video has also seen a number of celebrities endorsing the campaign including Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Christina Milian, Nicki Minaj, Bill Gates and Kim Kardashian.
The invisible children charity has been focused on obtaining the support of a select group of individuals in order to “help bring awareness to the horrific abuse and killing of children in the east and central African countries at the hands of Kony and his leadership”. The list featured 12 “policy makers” that have “the power to keep U.S. government officials in Africa” in order to work toward the capture of Kony. This list includes former U.S. president George W. Bush and his secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, and U.S. senator and former presidential candidate John Kerry.
The 29-minute video’s very simplicity has provoked abundant complaints: among them, that it exaggerates the threat posed by a warlord who was driven out of Uganda six years ago and now has only a few hundred followers; that it promotes a “white man’s burden” view of African problems; and that its focus on capturing Mr. Kony this year is misplaced
On April 20, 2012, as part of the campaign, supporters will put up posters promoting kony 2012 in their home towns. Invisible children offer posters from an online shop in an attempt to gain wider recognition on the issue. They have also created action kits that include campaign buttons, posters, bracelets, and stickers to help spread awareness.
Several questions crossed my African mind after watching the documentary;
- Can’t we as Africans tell our own story better?
- Is capturing Kony a priority considering the fact that most of his victims just need money to resettle and get back their lives?
Brian Dzidefo Dzansi