07
Mar
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Kony 2012

WHERE YOU LIVE SHOULD NOT DETERMINE IF YOU LIVE ~Invisible Children

If you are one of the millions of people on Facebook or Twitter, no doubt you have seen this video “shared” or “retweeted”. Some of you have taken the time to watch the video, but many of you have not.

We live in a fast paced society these days, one where reaching out to someone takes seconds instead of days. Information is processed effortlessly and is always at your fingertips. A half hour to sit and pay attention to a video clip may seem daunting, but it’s nothing compared to the travesty going on in Uganda. So please, get yourself something to drink, maybe a snack, and watch the video I’ve embedded below.

KONY 2012 from INVISIBLE CHILDREN on Vimeo.

For those of you who just can’t bring yourself to watch it all the way through, I understand. I watched with a friend of mine last night, and I was thoroughly transfixed on the information I was being given. As soon as the 30 minutes was up, the first words out of my mouth were “I’m in.” Right then and there I knew I’d be writing this very post. What was it going to say? I didn’t plan that far ahead, but this post HAD to be made.

The information below I have gathered from Wikipedia. The specific pages will be linked at the bottom of this post, if you are interested in more information.

WHO IS JOSEPH KONY AND WHAT DOES HE DO?

Leader of the guerrilla army Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in Uganda. The LRA works for no cause other than for Kony’s power to hold fear over Africans. He builds his army in the most horrific of ways; he abducts children and forces them to fight and kill and strike terror on their families, friends, relatives.

The number of children he has abducted is estimated to be in the 30,000 range since 1986. These children are forced into truly senseless combat, killing innocent people because Kony believes God is telling him to. Their first kill is often their families. They are forced into sexual slavery. Young girls are abducted for “rewards” to his commanders. Night after night, children walk miles to city centers to avoid abduction. The children of Africa live in fear of the LRA, and then live in fear IN the LRA.

Kony is moving, swarming countries and areas near Uganda, getting stronger by the minute as he abducts more and more child soldiers and child slaves.

WHAT HAS BEEN DONE?

2001– After September 11, the United States declared the LRA a terrorist group.

2003– After visiting Uganda to document genocide in Darfur, three young filmmakers stumbled on large groups of children traveling to avoid capture by the LRA. Knowing they could not stand idle, the 3 film makers jumped into action and created a documentary about these children to gain awareness. The film was called Invisible Children. From the film stemmed a non-profit organization of the same name, dedicated to stopping Kony, the LRA, and helping victims.

2005October 6th: The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued arrest warrants for 5 key members of the LRA for crimes against humanity. Those members were Joseph Kony (Leader), Vincent Otti (Deputy), Raska Lukwiya (Commander), Okot Odiambo (Commander), and Dominic Ongwen (Commander).

2005October 13th: Indictment details are released. Kony is indicted for 12 counts of Crimes Against Humanity (including murder, enslavement, sexual enslavement and rape), 21 counts of War Crimes (including murder, cruel treatment of civilians, intentionally directing an attack against a civilian population, pillaging, inducing rape, and forced enlistment of children). 33 counts total.

2009– Invisible Children Inc. organizes supporters to lobby senators and representatives to gain their support for the “Lords Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act”. This is the largest lobbying ever on sub-Saharan Africa to date. Organizations “Resolve Uganda” and “The Enough Project” supported Invisible Children in coordinating the event.

2009 November 18th: “Hometown Shakedown” is initiated by Invisible Children Inc. Supporters were asked to attend meetings with local government reps to co-sponsor the LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act. Hometown Shakedown succeeded in 15 members of Congress adding their support within 48 hours of the meetings. In the end 65 Senators and 202 Representatives would co-sponsor the Bill.

2010May: President Barack Obama signed the LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act into law. The bill was passed unanimously in the Senate on March 11, then unanimously again in the House of Representatives on May 13th.

2011 October: As apart of the LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act, President Obama authorized deployment of combat-equipped troops to provide assistance, information, and advice to regional African forces. Obama states in a letter to Congress that U.S troops “…will not themselves engage LRA forces unless necessary for self-defense”

When first approached after the 2003 documentary, United States officials originally told members of Invisible Children Inc. that they would do nothing, because it simply did not affect the best interests of our citizens. Invisible Children Inc. did not give up, and for the first time in history, the government took action, only because the people demanded it. They took action because it was RIGHT.

WHAT NOW?

Before this post was published, before the “retweets” and the Facebook “shares”, before the video was released, did you know who Joseph Kony was? Did you know about these Invisible Children? I didn’t. Most of you didn’t either.

The video embedded above is the latest campaign by Invisible Children Inc. to bring a stop to Joseph Kony and the LRA. The purpose?

IF THE WORLD KNOWS WHO JOSEPH KONY IS, IT WILL UNITE TO STOP HIM.
IT STARTS HERE.

KONY 2012 IS A FILM AND CAMPAIGN BY INVISIBLE CHILDREN THAT AIMS TO MAKE JOSEPH KONY FAMOUS, NOT TO CELEBRATE HIM, BUT TO RAISE SUPPORT FOR HIS ARREST AND SET A PRECEDENT FOR INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE.

~Kony 2012 Website

People cannot stand up against what they are not aware of. People cannot fight a war they cannot see. People cannot support a cause they don’t know exists. People cannot save invisible children if they don’t become visible.

In December of 2011, it became known that Joseph Kony was aware of the U.S. involvement to stop the LRA. A young boy who had managed to risk his life and escape advised that Kony would be changing his tactics to avoid capture. His new tactics are unknown, and now international support is in danger of being withdrawn, allowing Kony to continue his rein of terror upon Africans.

Kony is out there. He needs to be stopped, arrested, and held accountable for his crimes. We need to save these children, these families, and help them build a future beyond being child slaves to a senseless army. 2012 has to be the end of the line for Kony and his child army.

In order for the government to continue to allow the troops in Uganda to stay, officials have to be aware that the people DO care and DO want our troops giving their support. How will the government know? We have to tell them. We have to make Kony a household name, his face needs to be plastered everywhere. The more you know about Kony, the more prepared people are to take a stand against him.

Invisible Children Inc. is campaigning for the support of 20 Culture Makers and 12 Policy Makers.

Celebrities have long decided the trends of our culture. What we wear, who we like, and what we talk about. If we target 20 of these celebrities, and get them on board, they’re voices will carry, and Kony and the fight against him will spread.

Politicians have no choice but to fight for what we want. They take the issues we care about, make a stand, and use this to get our votes. Regardless of political party, we need to target these politicians and policy makers and let them know that we want Kony stopped. Remind them that this is what the people want, and they will take notice, and help us keep support in Uganda, using every day and every opportunity to get closer to Kony and stopping him. The more we call, the more we trend, the more we spread the word, the louder these policy makers will hear us.

If we can trend lyrics to Justin Beiber songs, if we can trend internet memes by the dozen, if we can make videos of people dancing go viral, then we can make Joseph Kony and his child army a topic we won’t ever forget.

WHAT CAN I DO?

Step 1: Visit these websites and educate yourself. The more you know, the stronger you are.

Step 2: Visit these Facebook pages and “like” them, and “share” them with your friends list. Follow these people on Twitter.

Step 3: Watch the video I’ve embedded above, and share it. Post it on Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, About.me, your blog, anywhere you can. Use #StopKony and #Kony2012 . The more people see this, the more curious they will be.

Step 4: When the list of 20 Culture Makers and 12 Policy Makers is released, target them. Tweet, DM, Wall Post, write letters, emails. And don’t stop at those 20/12 on the list. Contact your favorite celebrities, contact your local government representatives, get your friends involved. We need voices, we need to be loud.

Step 5: Visit the Invisible Children Shopify Store. Grab an action kit, or a bracelet, or a shirt, or just posters. Use these supplies to promote the cause.

You can also donate directly through StayClassy.com and for a minimum donation of $15 recurring monthly, you will receive an action kit for free.

The most important thing you can do is be dedicated to spreading the word. We cannot let Kony be forgotten, he can’t be a flash-in-the-pan trend. We need staying power.

2012 is the year that these Invisible Children will go home.

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