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Kony 2012: Hype or Help?

Going viral on Twitter, Facebook, and within the blogosphere seemingly overnight, Kony 2012 has made a huge impact, but retained a mysterious quality. You might be thinking, what is Kony 2012? Well, according to Jason Russell, the narrator and director of this 30 minute long video, Kony 2012 is the campaign sponsored by Invisible Children, a non-profit organization that is aiming to bring attention to Joseph Kony.

Kony is the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, a rebel force in Uganda. Kony 2012 is aiming to pressure the United States government to send aid to Uganda and for twenty ‘culture makers’ and twelve ‘policy makers’ to advocate for this cause. The viral video has been viewed approximately 79 million times on YouTube and is continuously being spread through various social media outlets. 

 As the view count continues to climb, responses are being voiced and ranges of emotions are being felt. Recently, The Washington Post reported that a screening of the film in Uganda was meet with anger. Rocks apparently were thrown at the screen and The National Post published that other screenings in the country were cancelled. Many different critics accuse Invisible Children of oversimplifying a complex issue and catering to only a Western audience.

There have also been charges that facts in the video have been manipulated or altered to adhere to Russell’s vision. The video, while astoundingly popular, has not been viewed without controversy. 

So what can we do? Well for one—and this is my own opinion—watch it. You have literally nothing to lose. It’s thirty minutes of your time and at the very least, you’ll learn something new and be more informed about current events around the world. Perhaps you’ll even be motivated to sign the petition on www.kony2012.com or even order an Action Kit to begin raising awareness, as Russell urges viewers to do in the video. But I must give you this pieceof advice: make an informed decision about Kony 2012 and the issues surrounding it. There is no doubt in my mind that it is more complicated than we can understand but we must educate ourselves about this issue and then through with an action. Write to one of the policy makers or your Congressman or Congresswoman; make them aware, or even tweet about it! There is nothing to lose. You’ll only be contributing to the dialogue that’s being formed about Kony 2012 and you might even find a newly discovered passion. 
As Russell suggests in the video, this is a human rights issue. Remember that we are part of a global community and while we may often feel small or insignificant in that context, we can still make a difference for our fellow humans. 
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