When I think of activism and social media, the first thing that comes to mind is the 2012 Stop Kony campaign. It was only about a couple months ago that it was all over Facebook. The photo above is one of the many that flooded Facebook and Twitter a couple months ago.
Joseph Kony was once a Ugandan rebel leader. It is said that he has abducted, abused, and killed many innocent children for over twenty years. The idea of the campaign is to get Kony’s name out there, so that the government feels pressure to arrest him. The campaign is successful in reaching many. No one who had ever heard of Kony before this campaign definitely knows who he is now. For weeks, it seems like no one could talk about anything else. Everywhere I turned I would hear something about Kony. While being highly emotional and allowing people to take easy actions, such as liking and sharing posts, word of the campaign has spread like wildfire.
The video above is one made by an activist group called “Invisible Children.” This video explains that Joseph Kony has abducted over 30,000 children. He has been abducting them and forcing them to be soldiers in his “Lords Resistance Army.” The Kony 2012 campaign utilizes street art and face to face interaction as well as video and social networking sites, According to this video, last fall, President Barack Obama was convinced by “Invisible Children” to send military advisers to Uganda to try and persuade them to arrest Kony.
The photograph above is a poster for an event to rally support for the Stop Kony 2012 campaign.
Backlash came along with the campaign. African activists and scholars believe that this campaign is “a dangerous oversimplification of the real issues.”(Chris O’Brien, Mercury news Columnist). Many have said that a greater presence of U.S. military would be like supporting the current Ugandan government, which has been accused of violating human rights.
It’s hard to really know what the right course of action to take is. If supporting the Kony campaign means supporting an equal evil, then I’m not sure if it is really worth it. I feel like residents of Africa know a little more about what is going on. Kony has been apparently kidnapping these children since 1987. It’s strange that this issue has come up out of the blue. Kony has been hiding out for twenty years now. I trust that activists in Africa have tried to get him to pay for his actions. If they couldn’t do it, then what makes the Stop Kony 2012 campaign think that they will be successful? What if the outcome of his arrest wasn’t a good one? Who knows? Maybe Africa wants to handle this issue on their own terms, without being pressured.In a government there is this delicate balance between issues that should really be taken on and issues that could wait. If the Ugandan government chose to work on this issue, how many other issues would they have to turn their attention away from? There are so many issues in the world that it is hard to be selective. Does one equally major issue really rank over another? It’s something to think about.
I used information from these sites in my discussion: