With more than 32 million views on Invisible Children’s viral video, the Kony 2012 Campaign is definitely picking up steam. Invisible Children is a non-profit that uses film, creativity and social action to end the use of child soldiers in Joseph Kony’s rebel war and restore communities in central Africa to peace and prosperity. However, despite the traction the campaign is getting, many still don’t really know much about this important movement. Here are four things you should know about the Kony campaign:
1. Joseph Kony is the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), which he founded in 1987. He is one of the world’s worst war criminals and thinks of h himself as a prophet who claims to speak the word of God, prompting his followers to obey his every command and justify horrific acts such as the abductions and murder of children. The purpose of the campaign is intended to raise support for his arrest and to set a precedent for international justice.
2. Jason Russell of Invisible Children began the campaign after he and his friends met a young child soldier while on a trip to Uganda and they made a promise to him that they would help him and others like him, to hide from the rebels. The group named the children ‘invisible’ because if it had happened to one child in America there would be an uproar, but it has been happening to children in Uganda daily for nearly 30 years.
3. In the past 20 years, at least 30,000 children have been abducted and used as sex slaves and child combatants in Uganda and Kony is responsible for spearheading the brutal kidnapping and brainwashing of the children.
4. In May 2010 President Barack Obama signed into law the Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act in an effort to stop Kony and the LRA. By October Obama authorized the deployment of 100 U.S. troops to central Africa with a goal of removing Kony and LRA leaders from the field.
Many celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Rihanna and Lady Gaga have already spoken out in support of the campaign. We are all children of the global diaspora, and collectively our voices can be louder than that of any tyrant. Lend your support to the 2012 Kony Campaign and have your voice heard.