Viva La KONY 2012
In an age of technology, trends come and go within minutes of each other. One such incident happened in 2012. It started with a YouTube video titled Kony 2012. Incidents such as these show just how much power the general public has over affairs. The Kony 2012 issue was brief, but effective while it lasted, and although the problem is unfinished, the solution to capturing Joseph Kony is for the people to take action, as they have before.
What is Kony 2012?
The problem surrounding Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army has been going on for over 30 years. Kony has been deemed responsible for over 100,000 deaths and thousands of people being displaced from their homes. He kidnaps children, brainwashes them, and then forces them to join his army and kill for him. In 2012, a video documenting the horrors that follow Joseph Kony was published on YouTube by The Invisible Children. The Invisible Children is a non-profit organization dedicated to stopping Joseph Kony and providing relief for those that have been affected by him and his army. Within a week the video went viral on the Internet. It was showed on news stations, talk shows, and discussed about over the entire country. The video called for people to purchase a kit that included shirts and stickers, where the money would go towards stopping Joseph Kony. The video also asked those that watched it to contact those involved in the government, such as senators, governors, and House Representatives, in order to gain support.
To some, the movement was considered a success. The Invisible Children raised over $20 million for their program. It also gained global awareness, and many government officials commented on the issue. For instance, President Obama was quoted saying:
“Well none of these decisions are easy, but those who are familiar with the Lord’s Resistance Army and their leader, Mr. Kony, know that these are some of the most vicious killers. They terrorize villages, they take children into custody and turn them into child soldiers, they engage in rape and slaughter in villages they go through. They have been a scourge on the Uganda and that entire region, eastern Africa.”
In addition, several United States Senators signed a resolution put forth by Senators Jim Inhofe and Chris Coons that said they would back “the effort of Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic and the newest country, South Sudan, to stop Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army.” The reason that this movement was successful is because it gained so much attention. The government began to offer rewards for the capture or information of Joseph Kony and this reward aided in the capture of some of Kony’s right hand men. It gained so much attention that many people had incentive to become involved and the reward encouraged people to become involved. The government took notice because the people took notice. The reason it was not successful it because the people lost interest. When the issue of Joseph Kony’s capture fell out of the public’s attention, the government lost interest as well. Joseph Kony has yet to be captured.
This incident shows just how much power the general public has over the affairs of the government. If the Kony 2012 video had never gone viral, most people in the United States would be completely unaware of who Joseph Kony is, and the United States government would not have been nearly as involved as they were. The people were highly influential during this brief moment, and then as fast as the moment came, it left. If the general public was as involved in all issues of government as they were in the brief case of Kony 2012, there would be far fewer complaints about how the government is run. People tend to forget how much power citizens hold in government. The reason that most people feel powerless is because they feel that their voice is not heard. If citizens united, as they did for the Joseph Kony movement, their voice becomes much louder and their needs and wants are heard by the government officials.
If people genuinely wanted to see change in what the government does, they would take a stand and address their representatives directly, as they did for Kony 2012. For this idea to work, though, the people have to continue to be active in the government. The reason Joseph Kony was not captured is because the public lost interest. Similarly, if the people lose interest in their government, they no longer have input or control over it. It is vital that citizens remain involved and aware of their government. They need to speak out when they want something to change or want something accomplished instead of nervously waiting for it to happen. In this world of technology it is easy to spark a conversation about a political topic, but it is difficult to keep a topic in the spotlight long enough to create a drastic change. Our government is important enough to keep it as a headline subject for a long time.
The solution to the capture of Joseph Kony and many governmental issues is to speak out and make people hear you. If the Kony 2012 movement can raise over $20 million in four months through the public, it can certainly become a popular topic again. If enough people called for the capture of Joseph Kony, it is certainly a possibility he would be captured. The government needs to be reminded that this is a genuine issue and needs to be taken very seriously. If the citizens of the United States began taking a stand and expressing that they want Joseph Kony to finally be captured, the government is much more likely to reevaluate the situation and send support to do so.
The government needs to be constantly questioned and pushed to change the way the citizens want it to. People need to be actively involved in the government to solve not only the Joseph Kony issue, but all issues in the government. The technological age makes staying involved in the government very simple. It is very simple to contact government officials to express your feelings and desires. It is a simple matter of motivation that we now need. People need the motivation to press the government for what they want. They need to be resilient and headstrong. Technology can be extremely helpful when used correctly, and in the instance of Joseph Kony, it is a powerful ally. Citizens need to remember that they do hold the power, although it may not seem like it. It they want change, they are fully capable of making it happen as they have done so many times in the past. Joseph Kony is a person that needs to be stopped soon, and the public has the power to make that happen. The people have the capabilities to have exactly what they want as long as they have the drive and the tools to achieve it.
Invisible Children. Invisible Children. 2004. Web. 09 May. 2016
The Invisible Children. “KONY 2012.” Online Video Clip. YouTube. YouTube,05 March , 2012. Web. 09 May, 2016.
“The Resolve.” The Resolve Key Statistics Comments. The Resolve: LRA Crisis Initiative. Web. 09 May, 2016.
“Wanted: Joseph Kony.” U.S. Department of State. U.S. Department of State. Web. 09 May. 2016.