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KONY 2012: It's 2013, Where's Kony?

Matthew Frank Kot for local2 sault ste. marie
February 22nd, 2013 at 9:59pm

This article is a column or editorial.
The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of LOCAL2.

KONY 2012On March 5th, 2012 (one year ago in less than two weeks), a video was posted on Youtube by an Organization called Invisible Children. This video describes the criminal acts, the cruel and inhumane acts, of the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda and the Republic of Congo, and their leader, Joseph Kony. The video goes on to explain Invisible Children's plan to capture Kony (alive) by the end of 2012. Well, folks, Kony's still walking, talking, and killing, and it ain't 2012 anymore! Their glitzy Youtube and social media campaign, it failed, miserably.

The Youtube video, it went viral within hours of the posting that cool March day. People all around Canada, and the United States, we paid attention. CNN, ABC, CBC, CTV, FOX, broadcast the video on millions of television screens. Heck, even I wrote an article about the movement. Right now, the hype is gone, the dust has settled, and the original video has just over 96 million views.

Why did this campaign fail? Why isn't Kony dead, or sitting in a jail cell? Why is the LRA still killing and raping children in Africa? Because, "making Kony famous" was a horrible idea. Jason Russell made this film to show the world who and what Kony and his ruthless army is. He also made this video with a plan to stop Kony from killing and torturing thousands of people.

The plan: "Cover the night", plastering posters on windows, on streetlight posts, on bus shelters, on everything. Kony was made famous. Jason Russells dream came true. Kony was famous for his criminal acts, and Jason himself was famous for successfully starting a gigantic movement with social media.

The whole campaign then went downhill. Russell himself, "overwhelmed" by the video and the response, ran through the streets, wearing nothing at all. This scandal alone lost Invisible Children many followers. People opened their eyes. We all realized that making Kony famous would do nothing.

A people-powered movement, however intriguing it may sound, is not a successful tactic to capture a terrorist. Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, and posters are not tools to stop children half-way around the world from being killed and tortured. Guns, bombs, and plenty of troops, that is how a terrorist threat is eliminated. This may seem like an over-reaction to a small army of a few hundred, but a military operation would largely eliminate the LRA threat, just as the French operation in Mali largely eliminated the Al Qaeda terror cells there.

Kony 2012 was a failure. The social media campaign backfired. Kony's army is more aware, more cautious, now that the whole world knows who they are.On the first day of 2013, Invisible Children vowed to have Africa cleansed of the LRA and Kony. They thought that right now, Kony would be in a jail cell, having been sentenced by the International Criminal Court. Wherever Joseph Kony is, we can all assume that on January 1st, 2013, he laughed.


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