KONY 2012: Sensation or Starting Point?
Published: Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Updated: Thursday, March 8, 2012 12:03
One year. So much can and does happen in one year. In my own life so much has changed. I am no longer a freshman, I am studying abroad in a different country and it has been one year since I wrote my first article for The Suffolk Voice. Looking back, everyone always laughs at their first submitted piece of writing. We view it as an awkward starting point and not the best we have to offer. I always looked fondly upon my first piece simply because I was so passionate about the article. But now, given the current circumstances, I am looking back on it with a different perspective.
One year ago I wrote an article entitled "Abuku Speaks About Conflict In Northern Uganda." I attended a Mirembe On My Mind meeting to hear Lina Zedriga Waru Abuku speak about the conflict in Uganda and the children involved. These children have now become known as "invisible children" based off of the KONY 2012 video that has now gone viral. With everything on the news and social media sites about Kony 2012 I went back and read that first article and I have to admit I was disappointed. Disappointed in the fact that this article could be reposted right this second and nothing would have to be updated. The same conditions are occurring in Uganda and the same people are responsible for them.
Whether it is Taylor Swift or the boy from your morning math class, everyone seems to be re-tweeting or reposting KONY 2012. For those of you who are unaware of what KONY 2012 is, or what is currently occurring in Uganda, I shall do my best to fill you in on what is truly a heartbreaking and tragic story. KONY 2012 is a video, available for viewing on YouTube, which was made by an organization called Invisible Children. Its purpose is to educate the viewer on what is going on in Uganda and make the man responsible, Joseph Kony, a household name so action will be done. The country has become the site of a war led by Joseph Kony and the Lord's Resistance Army in conflict with the Ugandan government. Since 1986, Uganda has been the home of rapes, mutilations, sexual enslavements, murders, abductions, infection and massive misplacement. For 26 years, over 30,000 children have been abducted into the LRA, creating child soldiers or sex slaves out of innocent children who had no control over when or where they were born. Kony is "not fighting for any cause, only to maintain his power." The horrors committed by Kony are unthinkable and have been acknowledged. The International Criminal Court has Kony first on their list of wanted criminals because of the pure evil of his crimes including murder, rape, sexual slavery, abduction and mutilation. But as KONY 2012 points out to us, "the problem is 99% of the planet doesn't know who he is."
That fact could not be truer. Just as the narrator of KONY 2012 explains the situation to his young son, he is also explaining it to a countless amount of individuals who up to this point knew nothing about it. No one knew so nothing was done. But because no one knew, more questions still need to be answered. Just as the death of Osama Bin Laden did not end terrorism the arrest of Joseph Kony, which is completely necessary, will not end all of the issues in Uganda. More people still need to be held accountable or pressured into action such as Uganda's president Yoweri Museveni. Musa Okwonga, a writer for The Independent Blogs brings up his concern for the video when he states how in a 30 minute video not once did it "ask its viewers to seek diplomatic pressure on President Museveni's administration."
In 2011, 100 American advisors were sent to Uganda to assist in Kony's arrest so progress is being made. But so much more is needed. How many more years do we have to wait before we see an end to Kony's terror? How many more children have to become victims? And how many more campaigns need to be created until we succeed? We are forced to wonder what it will be like in another year. True, so much publicity is going towards this conflict and hopefully it helps significantly but what will happen when this video becomes ‘old news.' When another cause comes along that takes the spotlight? Will these "invisible children" become invisible yet again after their five minutes of hope?