A non-profit organization has started a movement to make the world more aware of Joseph Kony. Kony, the Ugandan guerrilla group leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, is now one of the top trending topics in the world. After the Invisible Children organization released their new documentary film, “KONY 2012,” the video has gained more than four million views.
The LRA group has reportedly abducted more than 66,000 children to fight for them, and has displaced more than 2 million people since their wars began in 1986. Invisible Children seeks to “make Joseph Kony famous, not to celebrate him, but to raise support for his arrest and set a precedent for international justice.”
Yet, as compelling as this documentary has been, it does include some misleading information, and not everybody is happy with the picture it paints. From the blog of award-winning Ugandan journalist Angelo Izama:
“To call the campaign a misrepresentation is an understatement. While it draws attention to the fact that Kony, indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court in 2005, is still on the loose, its portrayal of his alleged crimes in Northern Uganda are from a bygone era. At the height of the war between especially 1999 and 2004, large hordes of children took refuge on the streets of Gulu town to escape the horrors of abduction and brutal conscription to the ranks of the LRA. Today most of these children are semi-adults. Many are still on the streets unemployed. Gulu has the highest numbers of child prostitutes in Uganda. It also has one of the highest rates of HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis”
Also, according to ForeignPolicy.com, the video glosses over two important facts.
1. Kony hasn’t been in Uganda for (at least) six years
2. Today, the LRA’s membership ranks in the hundreds, not the thousands
Still, the film is powerful and moving, and has compelled Russell Simmons, MC Hammer, and Diddy to tweet #StopKony on their timelines. With the heightened awareness about Uganda the viral campaign has created, does it matter that the video itself may not be completely accurate?