Since March 5, Kony 2012 got over 40 million views on YouTube alone – the number that by the time you will be reading this post might as well have doubled already. The tweets are pouring in, Facebook group rose to millions, and people finally started to talk.

The video might not be a traditional documentary per se but a loud call for action to stop Joseph Kony, a Ugandan guerrilla group leader – head of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), and one of the most vicious criminals in the world with arrest warrant issued by International Criminal Court (ICC) itself all the way back in 2005.

Joseph Kony is said to have abducted and forced an estimated 66,000 children to fight for the LRA, as well as force an internal displacement of over 2 million people since its rebellion began in 1986. Furthermore, the charges brought against him by the ICC talk about a number of other atrocities committed against the civilians including but not limited to murder, mutilation, and rape.

As one of the most wanted men in the world, the case of Kony is not new. Time and again you might have seen an article, a quick news segment about LRA on TV, or maybe even a volunteer passing you a pamphlet on the campus. Those sporadic appearances, however, do not reach us all and are far away from sparking a real movement – a movement that is crucial in order to bring the attention of politicians and governments around the world, a movement necessary to make them act.
This is exactly why this short 30 minute video was made. As explained by the creators “KONY 2012 is a film and campaign by Invisible Children that aims to make Joseph Kony famous, not to celebrate him, but to raise support for his arrest and set a precedent for international justice.”

And from what we see, it is succeeding.

The film is said to ‘expire on December 31, 2012’ a time when Joseph Kony must be brought to justice. Before that happens, however, a direct action is needed.

In order for Kony to be arrested this year the Ugandan military has to find him, in order to find him they need technology and training to track him in the vast jungle, that is where the American advisors come in. But in order for American advisors to be there the US government has to deploy them. They done that, but if the government does not believe that people care about arresting Kony the mission will be canceled. In order for people to care, they have to know. And they will only know if Kony’s name is everywhere.

To make him visible the Invisible Children is proposing to make Joseph Kony a household name, not to celebrate him, but to bring his crimes to the light. They are targeting 20 culture makers and 12 policy makers (whose names can be seen on the official website) people with a loud voice so the message spreads even faster. Furthermore the charity printed thousands upon thousands of stickers, posters, and other signs that will be put by people just like you on April 20 in the cities around the world.

Ever since the release of the Kony 2012 a number of individuals have came out to raise concerns surrounding the Invisible Children, the organization behind the film. As stated in an article by the Guardian, only 32% of the money the organization spend last year went to direct services. However, we need to understand that there are multiple different types of NGOs out there. There are those, for example, that focus on work on the ground (‘direct services’) as providing care, education, food and medical services and then there are those like IC, whose purpose is to effect change through movement. More recently the charity have posted an official response to all of the criticisms and comments circulating the web on their blog, so if you would like to find out more be sure to check it out here.

I am not here to judge, especially since like most of you I have not yet reviewed all the details and have not been really following the work of IC prior to this. Taking the criticisms aside, take a second to remember that it was this short film that reached tens of millions of people in just three days. This type of movement does not come around often and we do not need to buy the official merchandise from its producers to embrace it. Just spread the word, that does not cost anything yet is priceless.

Related Links:
Kony 2012 on YouTube
Kony 2012 on Vimeo
Kony 2012 Official Website
Invisible Children Official Website
Invisible Children on Facebook