Kony Craze Sweeps the Nation Via Viral Video

"Invisible Children" has made Joseph Kony a household name

By Emily Matthews

It’s for a good cause, but does it persuade us to help?

A 30-minute YouTube video and an Internet blow-up made Joseph Kony a household name.

On March 5, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter were swallowed up in a Kony 2012 frenzy with the goal to “make Kony famous” by a short film made by the Invisible Children, Inc.

The film, which spread virally, was made to raise awareness of the war criminal Joseph Kony from Uganda with the ultimate goal to arrest him.

The film dives into Kony’s crimes with his Lord’s Resistance Army, which kidnaps Ugandan children and trains them to fight. The LRA has been charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes such as murder, rape, and enlisting children for combat.

The film urges those within power, and influential people such as celebrities, to help raise awareness of the atrocities Kony has committed.

On April 20, the film encourages viewers to “cover the night” with Kony posters and stickers in order to raise awareness. Supporters can buy action kits which include posters, stickers, and shirts.

The goal of “cover the night” is to cover cities in Kony 2012 paraphernalia so that everyone can recognize Kony’s name and the crimes he’s committed.

You can order the action kit online at the Invisible Children website.

Junior Amanda Rutherford said she supports the cause and plans on attending “cover the night” in the Bay Area.

“[The film] really moved me. My class watched the documentary Invisible Children last year in English, so it kind of just expanded on that for me,” Rutherford said.

Rutherford also said that she supported the cause because awareness is the first step to success.

“Even though there are flaws in the plan I think it’s very important to participate in the cause,” Rutherford said.

Although Rutherford did not buy the action kit, she still plans to participate with other supporters on April 20.

Sophomore Tess Reichle said she supports the cause as well but is not as sure she will participate in the April event and will decide closer to the event.

“I support it, but I don't know enough about the campaign to say if I think it'll be effective or not,” Reichle said. “I do think people need to be proactive for it to work; drawing attention to it won't do anything if people aren't willing to do anything for the cause.

Although many support the cause and plan of action that the Kony 2012 video portrays, not everyone believes it will be successful.

Senior Devin MacCracken is not as supportive of the Kony 2012 cause.

“I stopped watching the Kony 2012 video after about a minute, because I don’t think that it’s something that could ever affect me or something that I could ever have an effect on,” MacCracken said.

MacCracken follows the view of many critics who believe that the situation is out of our hands.

“It seemed pointless for me to pretend like I was going to do anything to support the movement,” MacCracken said.

Junior Bryn Daniel said she does not agree with the Kony 2012 cause as well.

“A lot of what ‘Invisible Children’ put in their documentaries is exaggerated,” Daniel said. “They try to put their message in the public eye, but at the same time the withhold a lot of facts about the situation. They fail to mention that Kony isn’t even in Uganda anymore.”

Daniel said that she agrees that what Kony does is horrible, but that all the facts must be told to the public, and that is why she doesn’t believe in Kony 2012.

Emily Matthews is a junior at Piedmont High School, a staff writer for The Piedmont Highlander and a member of the varsity swim team.

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