Jason Russell, along with friends in the U.S and Uganda, created the current, global phenomena Kony 2012- The origins of which lie within the Invisible Children organisation. Through online support Invisible children achieved for the first time in History a political movement that demanded the U.S Government sit up and take action, “simply because the people demanded it and not [for] self-defence.” (Jason Russell)
Joseph Kony is (as Russell’s viral video on YouTube will tell you, with 76,568,103 views, at last look.) the head of the Lord’s Resistance army, and has been for twenty six years. His methods for control include abducting children, in some cases forcing them to kill their parents, and then assigning them to his army or the sex trade; as the video will also tell you awareness of him is stunted. Originally beginning his slaughter in Uganda, Kony has now moved to surrounding nations, with an estimated 30, 000 kids abducted to date. The aim of Russell and friends is to have Kony arrested by the end of this year before he strengthens his army to a greater level.
Unlike the name of his army suggests “he is not fighting for any cause, but only to maintain his power.” Having already gauged Washington’s attention Russell is now plaguing the internet to ensure that support for the cause remains high until Kony is finally brought to The Hague and sentenced. America has no personal stake in his arrest so it is paramount to the cause that the people remain invested.
I know that everyone is hearing about this, and I’m not trying to preach about the cause here, but just like with rage against the machine this kind of thing shows just how much social media has evolved. Facebook over the past year has lost users, just because it was a lot of the same thing again and again and again. There comes a point when no one cares about your location and how you burned dinner. Finally Facebook is being used to draw attention to something more than nights out; this cause is caring and compassionate but as far as I see it, it’s showing that from now on, Facebook is real- it has a function above stalking and networking. It can get stuff done.
The ripples the video has made is incredible, if you go onto the invisible children website to get an action kit they’re completely out of stock with demands so much higher than expected, this I think is truly amazing. The affect social networking is making is great but that’s the thing, I’ve spoken to friends about Kony 2012 but we comment on the amount of hits or how great it is that someone can soundboard an idea to the entire planet without leaving their flat, not to mention how cute Russell’s kid is, (yes he uses a child to get his point across.). No one is telling me their donating; no one is ‘covering the night’ that I know.
I really hope if you’ve read this you will watch the video and some of the reaction videos too, as always there are two sides to the coin. I think it’s worth spreading the word just because we can, if I was American (and I had a say on whether the ‘advisors’ remain in Uganda,) I may’ve considered getting involved, but as a Brit I simply think it is the ‘World Wide Web’ at its best.
Since I wrote this Kony 2012 has created some enemies, and again I just think this shows what exactly FB and YouTube are capable of- this is the lesson to take from Kony 2012. If people are affected by this cause I fully think you should stand by that decision, oppression is oppression, The new thing to tackle with this kind of campaign strategy is to give a cause more staying power- as the most viral video in history Kony is still likely to become another fad, one day I really hope new media makes the right headlines, the beauty of that however is that it’s down to us to do that.
Charley Brooker sums up the opposition nicely…