Friday, March 09, 2012

Kony 2012

I've been doing a lot of crying lately - what can I say, there's a lot going on - but today it felt good to cry about something that wasn't mostly or even partly about me. Since I'm not on Facebook I'm possibly the last person in the U.S. who hasn't heard of the Kony 2012 project, but here's what I learned in the past 30 minutes by watching this powerful video:
  • Joseph Kony has been committing unspeakable crimes against humanity for more than 20 years in Uganda and other African nations
  • Due to a massive group - primarily teenagers - started by Jason Russell, enough visibility was brought to the issue to sway American policy and deploy military advisers to help with the capture of Joseph Kony in 2011.
  • Kony is still at large, and visibility among Americans must remain high for the government to continue supporting his capture, hence the Kony 2012 campaign.
This has tremendous significance outside the scope of bringing justice to the hundreds of thousands of people terrorized by Kony over nearly three decades, though that unto itself would be well worth it. But what's especially powerful about this movement, to me at least, is that it highlights the technological revolution we're all a part of, one in which borders and nationalities are irrelevant and real change can be enacted by the majority - yep, that 99% everyone was talking about a few months ago. If this works, it will be a dramatic step toward yanking some of that power away from the few, the rich, the corrupt, and giving a loud voice to a population that is increasingly demanding one. I want to be able to say I was a part of that voice.

The teenagers who overwhelmingly comprise the support for this campaign already get it - not because they're young and idealistic, although that helps, but because they are the first completely internet-based generation. To them, using social media to spread a message for change is the most logical thing in the world. Older generations are struggling to keep up, asking questions like: How could you use the internet to enact global change? Meanwhile, the teenagers are staring them down in impatient disbelief, asking: How the hell else would you do it?

There has been speculation, especially since this video is gaining so much attention, that this whole thing is a scam. I did a fair bit of reading on the accusations and feel comfortable that this is a legitimate organization that is making real inroads toward global awareness, something we need to fight the Konys of the world. You can read the organization's response to the negative press here.

If you're interested in learning more or want to get involved, watch the video or go to And keep your eyes trained on the streets when you wake up on April 21... if this goes as planned, you should see Kony everywhere.

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