Joseph Kony is a name that has surfaced across the United States via the media, which has brought about considerable interest.
Kony is a war criminal and the leader of the guerrilla group, Lord's Resistance Army, which is responsible for taking the lives of thousands and committing horrific, inhumane crimes.
All of this attention arose when the 30 minute video "KONY 2012" went viral. This video, which was produced by the Invisible Children organization, discusses Kony and the horrible crimes that he has committed in Africa.
According to the video, "For 26 years, Kony has been kidnapping children into his rebel group, the LRA, turning the girls into sex slaves and the boys into child soldiers. He makes them mutilate people's faces and he forces them to kill their own parents."
According to Foreign Policy, Kony has abducted 30,000 kids over nearly 30 years.
"Kony 2012" did an excellent job raising awareness about Kony, which was one of its main focuses; the video has been all over Facebook, Twitter, and right now, it has had more than 81.5 million views on YouTube.
Sheng Lor, a senior at Granite Hills, said, “I find it annoying that everyone is on the bandwagon, because of Facebook. One day I woke up and there was so many likes for this Kony thing, and they don’t even know what it’s really about.”
The way that this video challenges others to make Kony known absolutely amazes me; making him famous is definitely an effective way to spread awareness. The sense of unity between everybody coming together to make a difference was also very inspiring.
"KONY 2012" does, however contain some very misleading information. Let me clarify some of this information before I proceed with my opinion on Kony.
For starters, the area which this video was focused on, Uganda, Africa, is no longer "at war" with Kony and the LRA. In fact, Kony and his forces were driven away from Uganda six years ago.
Secondly, “KONY 2012" addressed the issue that the US sent 100 American advisors to help find Kony, and that "international support could be removed at any time." This brought about a sense of urgency in making sure that the advisors were not sent home.
This is not so, however. According to msnbc, "The State Department on Thursday dismissed any suggestion that the United States might pull its advisers out of Uganda..."
The LRA, which was created in 1987, along with Kony, has also been terrorizing Africa for over 20 years. Why wait until 2012 to bring about all of this attention to Kony when he is in hiding, why didn't they share it when the battle was in full swing? It does not make sense to me why they waited so long to share the video.
According to the Guardian, Arthur Larok, Action Aid's director in Uganda commented, "Six or 10 years ago, this would have been a really effective campaign strategy to get international campaigning. But today ... I'm not sure that's effective for now. The circumstances in the north [Uganda] have changed...Kony has been around for 25 years and over. I don't think in the north at the moment that is really what is most important. It might be best on the internet and the like but, at the end of the day, there are more pressing things to deal with. If the Americans had wanted to arrest him, they would have done that a long time ago."
We could have done something about Kony and the LRA when they were a huge threat to Africa but sadly, we decided to sit idly by and let Africa suffer. This goes back to my question, why now; what is so special about 2012 and stopping Kony?
Do not get me wrong, I am all for stopping Kony; I just think that we should have done it a long time ago. I guess it is better late than never, though.
The LRA is currently spread across the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic, and Sudan. Even though Kony and the LRA are on the run, they still continue with their vicious crimes.
Also according to the Guardian, Simon Rawles, journalist/photographer/film-maker, commented "...the LRA number little more than a few hundred and are scattered over an area the size of the UK. No one knows where Kony is, and most of his band operates independently. It'll be a hard nut to crack..."
It will indeed be difficult to find Kony. Should the U.S. even involve itself with finding Kony though; should we not deal with our own problems first before getting involved in other countries' issues?
"I think that the United States is in danger of being the world police," stated Teresa Garcia, English teacher at Granite Hills. "I am worried about our resources and where we are going to draw the line on who we help."
There are people all over the world who are suffering from one thing or the other and everybody can use some help, but the U.S. can only help so many places before it depletes its resources and gets itself into trouble.
I believe that we should nonetheless help find Kony. Just because it is not necessarily in the U.S. economic interest to involve itself with finding Kony, it does not mean that it should not help out Africa. We are all human beings, and just because we are not suffering from Kony's wrath does not mean that we should just sit idly by and not concern ourselves with those who are.
I hate that whole "it is not my problem" mentality that some people have. People should not be selfish and only worry about themselves; if we are not willing to reach out and help others, then how are we ever supposed to advance in society? It would no longer be a society, and we would be doomed to live in a world that does not work because everybody would only be concerned with their own interests. Simply put, we have to work together.
Despite the misleading information, "KONY 2012" definitely ignited a spark in the world. It is a step towards doing something not because it is in someone's best interest, but because it is the right thing to do.
This raises ideas about a complex issue however; will stopping Kony really stop the LRA's atrocious crimes for good? Will there be that magical, fairy tale ending where everybody lives happily ever after?
No; just taking out Kony will not solve anything. Only stopping Kony is like putting a band aid on a broken ankle; it does not make a difference.
If we want to stop all of the vicious attacks of the LRA, the whole organization must be taken out, not just its leader. If we just take out Kony, then there will be more people in line to take his place.
It is just like the deal with Osama bin Laden; we took him out, but did Al-Qaeda disappear for good? Nope, the organization is still there.
But how exactly are we going to deal with the LRA if a substantial amount of its soldiers are still children? How are we going to stop the LRA? Only time can tell.
Should we send more troops to help find Kony and the LRA? I do not think it is necessary to send in more troops because they are not going to be fighting against the LRA unless in self-defense. The 100 advisors that were sent are not responsible for going head to head with the LRA.
According to abcnews, President Barak Obama "said that 'although the U.S. forces are combat-equipped, they will only be providing information, advice, and assistance to partner nation forces, and they will not themselves engage LRA forces unless necessary for self-defense.'"
One thing is certain, millions of people are now aware of Kony and the LRA. Let us see if 2012 really is the year that Kony is put to justice. Hopefully Kony is found and the LRA stopped for good.
"After reviewing the facts on the Kony campaign I believe that the United States should give aid to Africa and draw awareness to this issue," stated Isabel Perez, senior at Granite Hills.
This will not stop all of Africa's problems, but it will definitely be a step in preventing other parts of Africa from suffering by the LRA's hands and making this continent a safer place to live in.
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