What is 'Kony 2012'?

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by KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on March 7, 2012 at 12:56 PM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 14 at 3:38 PM

Perhaps you've seen it popping up in your Facebook or Twitter feeds -- "StopKony2012" or "Kony 2012," "Invisible Children" or "Cover the Night."

It's gone viral online -- topping the Twitter trends list for Seattle and the greater USA.

So what the heck is Kony, and why should you care?

Kony is Joseph Kony, a mad warlord who's been leading a rebel army fighting the ugandan government for decades. His Lord's Resistance Army is a documented menace, guilty of brutal war crimes and kidnapping thousands of children and using them as soldiers, forced laborers and sex slaves.

INTERACTIVE: History of Joseph Kony

The LRA bills itself as a Christian force, with Kony believing he is a voice for spirits that possess his body to communicate their demands to the LRA's followers. International Christian charities and human rights groups, however, consider the LRA a cult and are part of the growing coalition urging action to stop Kony and the LRA once and for all.

Kony is such a bad guy that President Obama has deployed American troops to Uganda. The troops -- fewer than 100 in all -- arrived last fall and are focused on training and providing other support to the armed forces of Uganda and other bordering countries.

But Kony was able to operate with near impunity for so long because, in the grand scheme of Africa's wars, he was small potatoes. That's where Invisible Children comes in. 

Invisible Children is an international campaign to solve the Kony problem and help its victims. To that end, Invisible Children produced "Kony 2012," a 30-minute film and campaign its says "aims to make Joseph Kony famous, not to celebrate him, but to raise support for his arrest and set a precedent for international justice." (Watch below.)

Part of the campaign is a series of rallies planned in cities across the globe on April 20. The plan is for supporters of the anti-Kony and -LRA movement to gather and demonstrate public support for the campaign. (BTW, Invisible Children has its own critics, but no one doubts how awful Kony and the LRA are.)

KONY 2012 from INVISIBLE CHILDREN on Vimeo.

Resources

Seattle's "Cover the Night" group has a Facebook page.

Invisible Children's Facebook page and website.

TED Talk: Natalie Warne and Invisible Children.

War Child describes its work to assist child soldiers in Uganda.

Foreign Affairs article on Obama administration police on Kony and LRA.

What do people in Uganda think of the Stop Kony documentary?

 

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