Technology has changed the world we live in. Look no further then the site you are on right now to read this article, to realize that the way we communicate information, and the world, has fundamentally changed. Instead of needing to wake up to the paper, or turn on the radio or TV, you can instantly access almost anything through the various screens in which we are all so attached to. The Internet, and specifically Social Networking, has transformed the world into a “global village” where we can share our own messages, as well as receive messages from people & places which would previously have been invisible to us.
While social media can be fun, entertaining, and a great pass time (especially during a boring class), it holds a power which is far greater. Sites like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube have the ability to give people and issues from all over the world a voice. In the past, these issues or persons would need to have some sort of media appeal to get their messages out to to the public, but because of the Internet, anyone, anywhere, can easily share anything with the world, instantaneously.
A certain group of people, realized this, and are capitalizing on it right now. INVISIBLE CHILDREN is an organization which is fighting for the arrest of the rampant war criminal Joseph Kony. Kony is the leader of the Ugandan rebel group “The Lord’s Resistance Army“or (LRA). Kony and his rebel army have been terrorizing Uganda and surrounding African nations for over 20 years. The main task of Kony’s army is to kidnap innocent African children from their homes, and arm them with guns forcing them to kill whomever the army targets. The boys are recruited as soldiers-forced to commit vicious and brutal crimes, and the girls are taken as sex slaves. The LRA effectively grows their army by ripping away the childhood of these defenseless children and forcing them into a world of killing and despair.
The problem of the LRA and Joseph Kony has been on the radar of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and major government systems for the past 10 years. However, Joseph Kony is still a fugitive on the loose in Africa, continuing his sadistic mission. This has been largely ignored by the global public, not because it is not an urgent and important issue, but because it never received the platform to be exposed. This is where Invisible Children comes in. Invisible Children is using the power of technology & social media to bring exposure to the situation. Their mission statement reads:
“Invisible Children uses film, creativity and social action to end the use of child soldiers in Joseph Kony’s rebel war and restore LRA-affected communities in Central Africa to peace and prosperity.”
By using social media, video, pictures and more, they hope to spread the word about Joseph Kony, essentially “making him famous” in order to gain attention from policy makers in the government, and ultimately action. While the U.S. has currently sent over a group of soldiers to aid the Ugandan Army in finding and arresting Joseph Kony, the mission is not advancing as hoped due to Kony’s change in tactics. In order to strengthen and continue the mission, the issue must be kept in the spotlight, in both the media and politics.
The most recent endeavor from Invisible Children is a 30 minute video, which explains the entire organization, how it was created, and what they are planning on doing. Included in their plans is a campaign called Kony 2012, a movement to draw attention to the issue. The video ends with a call to action, most importantly to SHARE the video, and the message of Invisible Children through your own social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Etc.). This is the easiest way to spread the word. They also have a petition that you can sign, and an option to donate to the cause, on their website.
The Invisible Children organization has created schools and jobs in Uganda to help rehabilitate the victims of the LRA and give them hope for a future free from the fear of the LRA and Joseph Kony.
Think for a moment about when you were a child, tucked into your bed, about to go to sleep. You are feeling safe, secure and at peace. Now imagine that being ripped away from you as you are torn from your bed by a stranger, handed a gun or a knife and forced to kill, rape, or be raped. These are the nightmarish scenarios that innocent children are facing due to the LRA’s absolutely senseless evil mission.
This is not an article forcing you to agree or disagree. It is being written in the hopes that you at least check out the Invisible Children video to learn about the movement and the situation in Uganda itself.
As a society we have been given this medium. What we choose to do with it is going to be determined by our own actions. While you can easily exit out of this page and browse for 30 minutes through Facebook or Twitter, you can also easily spend those 30 minutes learning about something that has the power to change the lives of thousands of children, and possibly the world.
I urge you to spend those 30 minutes watching this video:
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