(Video: Kony 2012, Part 2, Beyond Famous)
Over the past few days the Facebook and Youtube communities have proved that the power of social media is still quite overwhelming. A thirty minute documentary, known best as the Kony 2012 video, created by Jason Russell, is the source of all the internet mayhem and is a call to action against a rebel military group called the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), that has been fighting in Uganda since the 1980s.
The video names Joseph Kony as the main target, as he is the leader of the rebels in Uganda, and calls for American’s to “make him famous” by buying T-shirts, posters, bracelets, and making contributions to the Invisible Children organization that is behind the video.
Jason Russell promises that the American people will stop Joseph Kony and his rebel army, and starts the 20-12 campaign. He swears to target 20 policy makers and 12 Culture makers to help him spread the word about Kony and make the people care; in order to keep American military advisors in Uganda to train their forces, therefore furthering the movement to capture Kony.
However, there seems to be a few things wrong with the facts at hand. First, reports from various newspapers state that Kony has not set foot in Uganda since 2006.
The video depicts the children of Uganda to be paralyzed with fear, as the camera crews follow a group called “The Night Commuters,” a group of children who travel from their homes at night to avoid abduction. Of course, every scene is filled with tears and heart-wrenching stories about lost loved ones, but the video shows one of Russell’s interviewees, Jacob, first as a young child and later as a grown man, around his twenties or so. The time gap between the shots of young Jacob and older Jacob is significant, therefore can we really be sure what happened in that time frame?
Not to mention the interview conducted with Kony himself, found on worldstarhiphop.com, in which Kony denies that the LRA has been involved with any of the alleged abductions, rapes and other heartless acts so vehemently protested and covered by the Invisible Children’s video campaign. Not only are the soldiers who appear in the video adults, but they attest with Kony that they have not abducted any children in the past.
When asked about the brutal mutilating of children’s faces, the rebel leader appears shocked as he answers. “I have not cut the faces of my brothers. I would not hurt my brothers, kill my brothers,” Kony said. He made it clear that he has been fighting for the freedom of Uganda, and feels he has posed such a threat that the Ugandan government is raining propaganda down on him in order to shut down the rebellion.
If we lay the fact that Kony may actually be an innocent man aside, we still have to assess the Invisible Children organization. Research drawn directly from the organization’s website shows that only thirty two percent of the millions of dollars they are raking in is actually sent to Uganda.
A look at the federal tax information raises the question, where exactly is our money going? It is not specified anywhere on the website (invisiblechildren.com), yet contributions in the form of donations and purchases of the “action packs,” posters, and t-shirts continue to pour in at overwhelming rates.
It is clear that somewhere along the lines, the truth is not being told. Either Kony is a malicious killing machine who rapes young girls and recruits boys for his army of wrong-doers, or there is quite a mountain of propaganda and slander crushing an innocent man’s name.
--- Bridgette Gamble is the Photography Editor at the The Knight Times Online John I. Leonard High School in Lake Worth, FL. This article first appeared there.