Yesterday several students entered school excited to share their discovery of the video “Kony 2012.” This 30 minute video has gone viral on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, with over 50 million views in less than a week. After our Project Citizen Unit and our current start to the Genocide Unit I am proud to see students engaged in news, with the a desire to understand what was happening.
--- This situation highlights the need to teach all citizens how to think independently. The movie is gripping and well done - yet remember one must cross check information and search to understand the situation beyond one movies tale. After cross checking the facts and the stories YOU, critically and independently should come to an understanding of what is happening. That maybe asking more questions, seeking more answers, or acting to help. But remember I hope to have all students leave the 7th grade social studies class with the skills to thrive as a citizen: being able to critically think, write, and act for oneself.
Today we are going to investigate the story of “Kony 2012” and you will draw your own conclusions and decisions on how to act. Be prepared to summarize the situation in your own words by being able to answer the basic questions.
The Site for Invisible Children: (the video is available here but must be watched outside of class)
Who is Joseph Kony?
- Joseph Kony is the world’s worst war criminal. In 1987 he took over leadership of an existing rebel group and renamed it the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The LRA has earned a reputation for its cruel and brutal tactics. When Joseph Kony found himself running out of fighters, he started abducting children to be soldiers in his army or ‘wives’ for his officers. The LRA is encouraged to rape, mutilate, and kill civilians -often with blunt weapons. The LRA is no longer active in Northern Uganda (where it originated) but it continues its campaign of violence in Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, and South Sudan. In its 26-year history the LRA has abducted more than 30,000 children and displaced at least 2.1 million people
- Invisible Children has been working for nine years to end Africa’s longest running armed conflict. US Military advisers are currently deployed in Central Africa on a “time-limited” mission to stop Kony and disarm the LRA. If Kony isn’t captured this year the window will be gone. We are taking action to ensure these two things 1) That Joseph Kony is known as the world’s worst war criminal. 2) That the U.S. military advisers support the Ugandan Army until Kony has been captured and the LRA has been completely disarmed.
Why are we making Joseph Kony famous?
- Invisible Children’s Kony 2012 campaign aims to make Joseph Kony famous, not to celebrate him but to raise support for his arrest and set a precedent for international justice. In this case, notoriety translates to public support. If people know about the crimes that Kony has been committing for 26 years, they will unite to stop him. Secondly, we want Kony to be famous so that when he is stopped, he will be a visible, concrete example of international justice. the other war criminals will know that their mass atrocities will not go unnoticed or unpunished.
- Invisible Children’s email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Random additional information - can you tie this information into one of ideas you learned about on block day?
- In 2005 Kony was indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, but has evaded capture
Article 1: Invisible Children's "Kony 2012" viral video stirs emotion and controversy”
Critics also say that Invisible Children's video simplifies an issue that is more complex than just eliminating Kony from Uganda.
Article 2: Source: The Telegraph: “Joseph Kony 2012: Obama administration congratulates success of campaign”
- NPR’s “Fact Checking The Kony 2012 Video”
- Guardian offers their point of view here "Kony 2012: what's the real story?"
- Reuters explains their side here "Kony 2012 video goes viral, big names line up in support"
- “Kony 2012 campaign: Oprah and bracelets won't solve problem”