Over the past couple weeks, the campaign Kony 2012 became a political issue that swept the nation (and Wittenberg’s campus) by storm, with flyers of the Republican elephant and Democrat donkey pictured together and ads for merchandise supporting Kony 2012. An event was even planned on Facebook for Witt students to participate in the campaign on April 20th.
But what is Kony 2012, you may ask? Kony 2012 is a campaign to spread awareness of the dictator Joseph Kony: to make him ‘famous’ in the light of war crimes that he has committed in Uganda and to lead to his arrest for being a warlord against
the country of Uganda. Kony 2012 started with a video that went viral on YouTube made by Invisible Children, a nonprofit
group. The video demonstrates how the violence has impacted the lives of children and families in Uganda today. So far, quite a few celebrities have supported the Invisible Children film since it went viral on the internet.
Some Wittenberg students that study international and political issues have negative feelings about the Kony 2012 campaign, which has begun to catch on around campus. Sophomore Dan Tuke, a Political Science and International Studies Major, gave his opinion about the Kony 2012 Campaign.
“It indicates that this campus is full of un-informed people,” said Tuke. “We didn’t prosecute Hitler in the 1960’s or wait until 2010 to intervene in Bosnia. Meanwhile, in Syria, Bashar Al- Assad has continued his crackdown, and
over 300 Syrian civilians have died since Kony 2012.”
Senior Peter Jensen, an International Studies and Diplomacy Major had a similar view on the campaign.
“I think it’s an expression of guilt, saying that Americans and the government didn’t pay attention and so things happened,” said Jensen.”Invisible Children did a poor job, whether intervening or not, of communicating some of the facts in their video. Kony hasn’t been as active as I.C. would have you believe, and hasn’t even been in Uganda for 6 years. Instead of sensationalizing an African warlord who has done horrible things, but is essentially a has-been, I.C. should be raising advocacy and funds to build more schools and clinics, and addressing more recent issues like the current situation in Syria.”
Brian Di Giacinto, a senior, is in support of the KONY 2012 campaign. “For me, KONY 2012 is not about raising money for a cause. It is about using social networking to spread awareness of the deplorable actions of Kony himself. I acknowledge that there are other causes in need of our support and that the government that the KONY 2012 campaign supports is also guilty of great atrocities. However, it is impossible to address all of these organizations simultaneously, and taking down Kony’s institution is an excellent place to start.”
Betsy White, a sophomore, said that she was still making a decision about whether or not to support the campaign. “I like Invisible Children and I like that they are raising awareness, but at the same time, with everything that is being put out against the issue, I feel like I shouldn’t side with one side or the other until I have the facts straight.”
Kony 2012 is still gaining attention across the country and across campus. Witt will be participating in an event on April 20th designed to spread the word about Kony even more with posters, buttons, bracelets and survival kits supporting the cause.
(Breanne Ziegler / firstname.lastname@example.org)