On March 5, 2012, the organization Invisible Children released a 30 minute documentary as a call to action for the youth of the world in order to terminate the use of child soldiers mandated by Joseph Kony in Africa. The documentary took a sentimental approach in divulging the horrors that have been occurring in Uganda since the rise to power of Joseph Kony. This documentary, posted on YouTube and other virtual mediums, immediately went viral. Within two days, the documentary had over 66 million views and had millions of supporters. However, this did not occur without opposition.
Since the video was released about three weeks ago, the craze about the campaign seems to have died down. This makes many curious about the maintenance of strength of the overall movement. Regardless, the credibility of the campaign is still widely debated.
One major controversy surrounding the Kony 2012 campaign is the lack of financial transparency of the Invisible Children organization. Being a non-profit organization, Invisible Children is required to have all of its financial information accessible by the public. However, those who have analyzed the financial information given by Invisible Children have found many holes. For many, this reduced the credibility of the movement.
Additionally, the finances clearly state that the majority of the donations have not been spent in the way of the effected children. Two-thirds of the funds are in fact being used to raise awareness (making posters, bracelets, videos etc.) and other tasks while only one-third of the funds are spent directly toward the effected children. This is one of the biggest controversies that have split the supporters from the opposition.
As a result of his actions, Kony made it to the number one spot on the International Criminal Court’s World’s Worst Criminal list in 2005. In their documentary, Invisible Children emphasized that no action had been taken against Kony by the International Criminal Court. Despite the effort that Invisible Children has put in to this cause, Kony is still out there. However, many argue that Kony has been in hiding for many years and that the information that was provided in the documentary was outdated, as much of the footage was from 2002. Many believe it is unnecessary for the Kony 2012 to gain such momentum in 2012, because of the lack of movement of Kony.
In a local high school classroom, students debated about this campaign. Many students supported it while others were against it. The financial uncertainty was the largest debated topic. “Money needs to go to Uganda,” one student said, “I think it would be better to build schools than to pursue a war criminal in the jungle especially if he is no longer active.” Other students responded by saying that the awareness was an integral part of the campaign and that the purpose of Invisible Children was to raise awareness in order to create action to stop Kony.
The documentary targeted youth, such as these students, for support and called on them to ‘Cover the Night’ on April 20th 2012. On this night, Invisible Children hopes to cover the entire world with campaign posters in order to increase awareness about the issue.
No one disagrees about the inhumanity of Kony’s actions. However, the question emerges of how many supporters will remain fired up long enough to ‘Cover the Night’. Was the video successful in gaining long term supporters or was the Kony 2012 campaign a short term fad?
For more information about Invisible Children, visit their website invisiblechildren.com and to learn about the Kony 2012 campaign, visit www.kony2012.com