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KONY 2012

Sammie Spector

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The world has been swept away by a new charity campaign called Kony 2012. The organization behind the campaign is Invisible Children, which raises money and awareness for Africa. This phenomenon has gone viral with a stirring video involving the kidnapping and raping of children, murder, and terrible conditions in Africa. The campaign’s target is Kony, the rebel leader of The Lord’s Resistance Army. The main goal of the campaign is to “make Kony famous,” not to celebrate him but to make him notorious enough that government action must be taken to stop him as well as sending a message to other cruel leaders.

The Pine Crest high school community became aware of the half-hour video through Facebook, and immediately took up arms to help the cause. The organization sells an array of bracelets, t-shirts, and action kits, as well as setting up certain days to “cover the night.” The community service board was underway with ideas to get the whole school involved in helping. However, there are many voices within the Pine Crest community who do not support the cause, including senior Matt Arkin.

Matt wants everyone to be aware of the organization’s facts before Pine Crest jumps in to save the day. “While I applaud Invisible Children, creator of the Kony 2012 video, for their efforts in raising awareness of an important issue that is happening in central Africa, I must condemn them for over simplifying the issues and possibly misleading viewers. Before anyone decides to assist or donate to an organization of any type, they should be aware of where their money will be going. In the case of Invisible Children, only about 30% of their expenses went towards “Direct Services,” while they spent nearly a million dollars on transportation and owned nearly a million dollars in computers and camera equipment.”  He also enlightens us on the fact that those IC is trying to help may not want to be helped in the first place. The video was condemned by the Prime Minister of Uganda as it paints an incomplete portrait of what is going on. “It is as if Kony is still in Uganda, as if Uganda is still at conflict and yet of course we all know this is not true,” stated the Prime Minister.  “It gives impression that Uganda is still at war, people are still displaced, those many children are still out sleeping on the streets in Gulu and of course this not true.” While the government does not condone the campaign, neither do the masses apparently. When the film was screened in front of 35,000 Ugandans it ended with people throwing stones at the projector.

Since this campaign started in February, it has almost fizzled out, at least within the Pine Crest community’s scale of enthusiasm. But maybe that’s a good thing- especially if not all the facts are known. Kony’s army has fizzled out as well. It’s true that since 2005, Kony’s movement has terrorized less and less and lost the majority of its followers. Still, IC wants Kony found. The only issue with his capture is that the US government is only providing help for a short amount of time and will only look for him in Uganda, and there is not much that the Ugandan army will do.

Still, the biggest problem Matt Arkin sees with Kony 2012, is that it addresses a relatively small issue, while there are many other serious problems, even involving the same types of victims and terror. “The video and Invisible Children don’t make mention to any of the other issues going on in Africa or with children soldiers. Capturing Kony will not stop the hundreds of others that are doing the same thing throughout Africa and South America.” If we look at the facts, the Democratic Republic of Congo is at the top of the list of countries where armed forces and militia groups use children as soldiers, sexual slaves, and laborers. There are other organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, which work to protect human rights around the world, with better fiscal records as well as reputation than that of Invisible Children, which Matt suggests the Pine Crest community should focus on.


The Student News Site of Pine Crest School
KONY 2012