Saturday, 21 September 2013

Scam or Truth?: the controversy behind KONY 2012

An almost thirty minutes film and campaign, entitled as “KONY 2012”, which being uploaded on Youtube by the Invisible Children Inc (American charity non-profit organization) account on March 5 2012 has reaching its successful publication by gaining more than 70 million viewers worldwide by only six days. KONY 2012 has been dominating people’s discussion especially in the social media. On twitter, even celebrities talked about it: Oprah Winfrey, Justin Bieber, Kim Kardashian, and many more. The film itself talks about Joseph Kony, an Ugandan guerrilla group leader, Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The LRA kidnapped tens of thousands of children and youth for use as soldiers and sex slaves. As quoted from the film: “Kony stands accused of overseeing the systematic kidnapping of countless African children, brainwashing the boys into fighting for him, turning the girls into sex slaves and killing those who don’t comply. His forces are believed to have slaughtered tens of thousands of people and are known for hacking the lips off their victims. Kony has been wanted by the international criminal court since 2005 on charges that include crimes against humanity. He has been living in the bush outside Uganda since that time.” As provided on the film’s information, the goal of the campaign is “…to make Joseph Kony famous, not to celebrate him, but to raise support for his arrest and set a precedent for international justice.” The Invisible Children also encourage people to support them by donating via website that they had provided.

However, before you spread your awareness by supporting #KONY2012 or #stopKONY2012 campaign just like your favorite celebrities did, you had better check out the other viewpoint regards to this whole KONY thing. As a non-profit organization, the Invisible Children Inc gained critics from many sides that also questioning where the big fund would go. For instance, Rosebell Kagumire, an Ugandan girl who lives in the US made a response video against KONY 2012 on  “KONY 2012 Video is misleading”, she said that KONY 2012 film is misleading because people of Uganda already knew that Kony either has been dead for five years or has not been living in Uganda anymore. The Army itself formed 22 years ago and they have not struck again in 6 years. She also emphasized that she is defending for neither Kony’s side nor the Invisible Children Inc’s. Kony’s crimes absolutely cannot be denied, indeed. On the other hand, isn’t global campaigning for the past crimes considered as vain since Kony is no longer active? Meanwhile, there is a real humanitarian crisis in Syria where the situation is more severe than Uganda and deserves world’s urgent attention.

The Invisible Children Inc has a good sense of business. They know whether social media is a very powerful media to collect the mass globally. Along with their fancy film that easily took the viewers’ sympathy, they must have gained many cash from donation and the sales of KONY bracelets ($30 USD each). I am not going to write down their profit calculation since I did not find any trusted source. However, I admit that this campaign is a big success; it is not easy to attract people’s attention to watch a thirty minutes semi documentary campaign. Thus, I encourage you to do a further research if you interested on this KONY 2012 issue therefore you won’t be misled by rumours.

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