Invisible Children’s Kony 2012 campaign — a campaign to bring indicted war criminal and Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) Joseph Kony to justice — struck a chord this week to the tune of more than 63m YouTube video views with more than 500,000 comments and an additional 14m Vimeo views (as of this posting). Invisible Children’s Facebook page has grown to almost 3 million likes, the Twitter hashtag #kony2012 is off the charts, and thousands of article references in Google News searches.
Invisible Children’s campaign has been hailed as both brilliant and inspiring and has been criticized as being oversimplistic, with some arguing that the campaign doesn’t dive into some of the most pressing issues around the LRA, including the need for real economic development in northern Uganda if the horrors of the LRA’s atrocities are truly to be consigned to history. But there’s no doubt that the campaign has brought the story of the LRA to enormous audiences that had never heard Kony’s name before. And Invisible Children has responded to criticisms of their campaign video on their blog with a thoughtful and credible response.
For a deeper examination into the LRA, the International Crisis Group offered a compelling analysis of the Lord’s Resistance Army titled, “LRA: A Regional Strategy beyond Killing Kony”. In their 2010 analysis, the ICG recommended “a regional problem that requires a regional solution” and suggested a strategy that covers civilian protection and national ownership for what they term as a “twenty-year-old cancer.” Learn more on ICG’s website.
You can also read more from Washington Post columnist and Senior ONE Adviser Michael Gerson’s latest piece titled “The controversy over Kony 2012.”