Yes, the campaign should be celebrated. It's not easy to engage people to the magnitude that Kony 2012 has done. In fact, it's incredibly difficult. Unfortunately, the campaign has also attracted a plethora of detractors who take aim at Invisible Children's depiction of Uganda, its financial transparency, and what the group actually funds overseas. However, I would encourage these critics to take a step back and recognize the primary intent of the video . . . to engage people in setting a new precedent for international justice. Kony 2012 is intended to get a man topping the international most wanted list onto the public's radar in order to motivate world leaders to get the job done in finding and arresting Joseph Kony. While it remains to be seen whether Kony will be caught in the near future, there can be no doubting that the campaign has been an absolute success in doing what it set out to do.
I'd be lying to you if I said I didn't wish the campaign were focused on eradicating world hunger or eliminating poverty rather than taking aim at Joseph Kony. However, I recognize the positive impact that such a campaign can have on other causes. The more that people become accustomed to getting involved, having a say in important issues affecting the world, the better. At the end of the day, I much rather have people mobilize to put heat on Kony and the LRA than not be mobilized at all.
Don't think for even a moment that this campaign is only about raising awareness to catch one bad guy. It's much, much more than that . . .
- It's about achieving justice for tens of thousands of kids and their families who were cruelly tormented and had their lives destroyed. I have worked hands on with former child soldiers in Sierra Leone, West Africa and it meant the world to them to have their tormentor, Foday Sankoh, brought to justice. Talk to victims of violence or sexual abuse and you will hear how important it is that their tormentor face ramifications for the wrongs bestowed on them and others.
- It's about giving notice to those who would partake in such abuses that the world is watching, and the public will no longer stand idly by while injustices are committed. This engagement translates directly into political will . . . giving leaders a "green light" to apply resources to bring the accused to face the consequences of their actions.
- It's about creating renewed awareness regarding the plight of child soldiers, and harnessing public energy to better address this terrible practice. About 12 years ago, I was involved with raising awareness about children affected by war, and the Kony 2012 video reminded me very much of the realities of children that I witnessed first hand.
I'm grateful for the Kony 2012 campaign, despite its warts. I just hope that it will translate into paving the way for increased involvement by more and more people in addressing a variety of other issues that will better OUR world.
A COUPLE OF IMPORTANT NOTES:
- If you haven't seen the Kony 2012 video, you can check out by clicking HERE.
- This is by no means an endorsement to give money to Invisible Children. I encourage everyone to research organizations they wish to support financially. There are many organizations around the world doing great work on a variety of issues . . . find the one you would like to support.
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