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KONY 2012: a wakeup call for United Nations

Post by Brian O'Neill on March 9, 2012 at 2:16 pm with 9 Comments »
March 9, 2012 6:14 pm
KONY 2012 poster represents bipartisan support for Kony's capture/ en.wikipedia file

The brave new world of social media is buzzing with its latest paradigm shift. It is called, “KONY 2012.”

“KONY 2012″ is a Youtube video with 58 million views, and counting. It is also a plea for international help to right decades of injustice in Uganda and an attempt to use the massive power of the Web-connected world for a single-minded project: To arrest the Ugandan warlord, Joseph Kony.

Kony has been identified by the International Criminal Court as their most wanted fugitive. He was indicted in 2005 for actions as the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), including “12 counts of crimes against humanity and 21 counts of war crimes with regard to the situation in Uganda” (source Wikipedia).

“KONY 2012″ was created as a web-based documentary and fund-raiser aimed at stopping the victimization of Ugandan people, mostly children, who have suffered decades of slavery, rape, abduction and murder at the hands of Kony and the LRA. The 29 minute film is a compelling compilation of visceral images and heart-breaking testimony, especially for its intended target –  young people. Its creators were quick to recognize that, in the time of the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street movements, it’s hard to change the mind of a community, global or local, without reaching a youthful audience.

As a result, “KONY 2012″ has been viewed in numbers so great that the definition of “viral” falls short. Not surprisingly, I was introduced to the video by my two teenage boys. They had been overwhelmed by the tale – a generation of boys forced to commit unthinkable acts of violence as soldier-slaves of the LRA. My sons, unlike me, were shocked that politicians and the global community had been so unwilling to help.

But then their world view did not include other examples of massive injustive, such as the ethnic cleansing in Rwanda or the more recent atrocities in Darfur, Sudan, which were treated with a shrug of the world’s shoulders.

The horrific events in Uganda (and Darfur and Rwanda) should have been the consummate call to action for the United Nations. This entity is, after all, the first and last bastion for global cooperation and peaceful resolution. In fact, the very first line of the U.N.’s Human Right’s Mission Statement declares that it will, “Give priority to addressing the most pressing human rights violations, both acute and chronic, particularly those that put life in imminent peril.” The situation in Uganda was a textbook case.

When put to the test, however, the U.N. fell well short. Instead of getting immediate consensus of its member countries, launching an international police force, and arresting Kony for his many crimes (a move the Ugandan government has allegedly supported), it chose to make proclamations from committee.

In this and other instances, the world body (not to mention individual countries, including our own) has behaved much like the elected politicians in our republican style of government. In representation of their constituent nations, U.N. delegates seem incapable of raising their hand for a good cause for fear it will momentarily expose their backsides to personal risk. The emasculation of the U.N. has been shameful, and developing countries such as Uganda have suffered for it.

In response, the growing number of people uniting under the “KONY 2012″ posters has embraced the noisy democracy of ancient Greece, writ large on a global scale. Their direct action is not simply compelling, but the movement is also reminiscent of Abraham Lincoln’s description of democracy as being “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

Fortunately there are people, far removed from the desk bound bureaucracy of the U.N., who have made justice and freedom their life’s work. They have seen the worst that humans can do to one another and have exposed it to the world in the video, “KONY 2012.” Their message is inspirational. Perhaps it will be transformational.

But first things first. The world needs to arrest JosephKony.

Leave a comment Comments → 9
  1. Brian, there is no doubt the situation in Uganda is a tragedy. However, to call upon the UN to actually take action is naive. While such action is within their scope and purpose, the truth is that the UN is a corrupt and inefficient organization which takes money from the US and uses it to discredit the US, rather than to pursue its core mission. I don’t know what the answer is, but the UN is not the answer.

  2. Brian O'Neill says:

    Thanks for your comment, tukatz. I won’t pretend that I have even passing knowledge on the daily functions and politics of the United Nations, but I do know that some good does comes out of that entity. The only military presence during the tribal warfare in Rwanda was a handful of Canadians wearing the light blue helmets of the U.N. That force may have been a token few, but at least they were their as witnesses to the genocide.

    In my humble opinion, most of the problems that result in the U.N.’s inability to project force comes down to the squabbles between its members. It has essentially neutered itseslf.

  3. Objective says:


    Could you give a couple examples of good that comes out of the UN (Useless Nations)?

    I would like to see how they would operate if they moved their HQ out of New York to Rwanda, Congo, Eritrea etc..

  4. Objective says:

    Brian, Could you give us a couple examples of good things, that have come from the UN (Useless Nations)?

    People talk about the U.S. getting out of Afghaistan and so on. If there is one thing, that would impress me is if we got out of the UN. They can leave New York, and move to Rwanda, Congo, or one of those places. Then we will truly see if they can do any good.

  5. Brian, you’re about 4 days behind on this story. KONY 2012 has been exposed as a fraudulent fundraiser, and one that supports a brutal dictator. There is little about it that will hault Kony’s action. Do some more research before piling on this bandwagon.

    Invisible Children:

    -Only 32% of money raised went to direct services (if you support the issue you may want to choose a more worthwhile charity).

    -Their accountability and transparency is a 2 out of 4 stars on charity navigator.

    -The group is in favor of direct military intervention, and their money supports the Ugandan government’s army and various other military forces.

    – Foreign Affairs has claimed that Invisible Children (among others) “manipulates facts for strategic purposes, exaggerating the scale of LRA abductions and murders and emphasizing the LRA’s use of innocent children as soldiers, and portraying Kony — a brutal man, to be sure — as uniquely awful, a Kurtz-like embodiment of evil.”

    Military intervention may or may not be the right idea, but people supporting KONY 2012 probably don’t realize they’re supporting the Ugandan military who are themselves raping and looting away. Educate yourselves a little bit before supporting a particular nonprofit.

    Some good reads:

    Not saying Kony isn’t a horrible person. Just thought people might want the entire picture before they support an organization.

  6. Brian O'Neill says:

    Objective-I am trying to point out the U.N.’s current shortcomings, not attacking the premise of this organization. The premise of a world body in place to arbitrate peaceful resolutions for world conflict, or to stem or adjudicate the atrocities committed on a daily basis on our planet seem to be a worthy endeavour.

    There are enough voices in our country espousing conspiracy theories regarding the “socialist agenda” of the U.N. In reality, it seems to be a bunch of well-meaning bureaucrats attempting to speak out against injustice, despite its individual members being gagged by their respective countries. If you want to bet on who is at fault for neutering the U.N., I would put your money on the most influential countries in the voting blocs.

  7. Kony 2012 is being exploited by the western elite, to get U.S. & nato led troops on the ground. They want to get their hands on the 26 tillion in natural resources. Also the president on Uganda has killed millions of people. However, he is in bed with the U.S & Nato. he has also arranged deals for the resources, which the people of Uganda will see very little of the money. this is just another Libya!!! Theft,murder,exploitation & destruction, guised as a humanitarian effort. Heres a youtube link go research yourself.

  8. BlaineCGarver says:

    I would like to send our CinC, and the rest of the Hate America crowd over to one of these third world holes to live like the rest of the people around them….Methinks that a huge appreciation for the USA would be reborn.

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