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Kony who?

By Tatiana Jean Noel and Luke McLaughlin
On December 5, 2012

About a month ago, the name Joseph Kony surfaced on every social networking site before any major broadcast station or newspaper publication could present the story to the rest of the world. Twitter went viral with hash tags such as #StopKony #Kony2012 #MakeKonyFamous; while Facebook on the other hand had videos of major celebrities talking about this Kony character and how WE would come together as one to put this man to rest.
When the video went viral on March 7th, some students and faculty here at Massasoit were amazed to hear that this was resurfacing; while others were completely baffled as to who and when this sad news was regarding. Those who had never heard of the movement wondered why Kony had to be stopped, why they had to make him famous, but most importantly who exactly was Joseph Kony?
The infamous video entitled "Kony 2012" was created by filmmaker Jason Russell and uploaded to the web on March 5th. The video already has upwards of 84 million views on Youtube. Widespread exposure of the conflict in Uganda was Russell's goal when making the video; however his family has said that they only expected a few thousand views.
Now, just a few weeks later, Jason Russell and his organization Invisible Children Inc. have received an abundance of support throughout the country. Unfortunately, now that they are under the scrutiny of the public eye, both Russell and Invisible Children Inc. have become victims of criticism, threats, and speculation regarding the authenticity of the facts put forth in the video. Jason Russell has suffered immensely from the intense public attention and negative attacks on the video that contains many personal aspects of his life.
Recently, San Diego police officers discovered him acting erratically and sent him to a local hospital for evaluation. His family released a statement explaining that Jason Russell suffered from brief psychosis due to stress, exhaustion and dehydration. Russell's personal issues and any controversies surrounding the video does not negate the importance of its goal: to make Kony famous.
So, who is Joseph Kony? A legend or hero to few, but most everyone who has been exposed to "Kony 2012" sees him as the world's number one man to apprehend. According to the international organization War Child, Joseph Kony is the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) a guerrilla group based in Uganda. Formed in 1987, The Lord's Resistance Army began as a result of Uganda's disregarded Acholi ethnic groups frustrations against their government. But, after many failed attempts to be heard, they have since dropped their main agenda and now continue to strive for a new campaign which is labeled as "murder and terror".
The website for War Child explains that the LRA has kidnapped and forced thousands of children to join his rebel forces to fight in high-risk conflicts and commit human atrocities over the last two decades. Joseph Kony and members of the Lord's Resistance Army believe that there are "Holy Spirits" helping them along their path of destruction.
After viewing the Kony 2012 video and reading up on the Lord's Resistance Army, many of you may ask: What can I do to help stop this man? The answer may lie in how you view the movement as a whole and how much you trust the Invisible Children organization. The initial goal of the video was to make Joseph Kony famous, but not in a good way. Jason Russell wanted to spread awareness that will hopefully lead to the arrest of Joseph Kony someday. Joseph Kony and the Lord's Resistance Army are real. Invisible Children's message is sincere. Watch the video, simply recognize the conflict, and however you decide to help is up to you.

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