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Kony 2012 comes to university

Published: Thursday, March 15, 2012

Updated: Thursday, March 15, 2012 09:03

Jason Russell, founder of the nonprofit Invisible Children, makes a promise to a young Ugandan boy in his latest film, “Kony 2012,” “We are going to stop them,” promises Russell as the boy’s sharp, piercing cries ring out over a black screen.

He has just told the boy that the man responsible for his brother’s murder will be arrested by the end of this year.

“If we succeed we can change the course of human history,” he said in the film.

It is a big promise to make, and Invisible Children is banking on its latest film and campaign to help fulfill it. Joseph Kony has been leading a rebel group called the Lord’s Resistance Army in central Africa for 26 years. Invisible Children estimates he has kidnapped over 30,000 children, forcing boys to become child soldiers, even forcing them to kill their own parents. He forces girls into sex slavery, according to “Kony 2012,” the latest of 10 movies the nonprofit has released to build support for children in Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic, areas where the LRA operates.

“Make Kony famous not to celebrate him, but to raise support for his arrest and set a precedent for international justice,” says the film.

The group’s goal is to have Kony arrested before the end of the year. To help with the campaign, the group is showing the movie throughout the country.

The film comes to Loyola March 20 at 7 p.m. in Nunemaker Hall, presented by the Invisible Children project under LUCAP. Cardinal Seawell, religious studies junior, is the project leader and alumna of Invisible Children. She spent last semester working with the organization, touring with the group’s ninth movie, “Kony.”

Seawell has been involved with the LRA’s impact on central Africa since high school when she traveled there. It was about two years after the LRA had moved out of Uganda and into the surrounding areas. She said she remembered being told how, two years before, people could not travel without security forces. She could see the child soldiers hiding in the trees, she said.

“It just kind of hit me at that point, how real the whole situation was. It didn’t matter that I lived in America. This was a human issue,” she said.

This experience motivated Seawell to stay involved with the issue. She started Invisible Children on campus her freshman year with Samantha Montano, psychology senior and current LUCAP president.

There will be Invisible Children representatives as well as a native Ugandan who lived with the LRA at a question and answer session after the film.

Seawell said the organization alternates between fundraising tours in the fall where it raises money for programs in Central Africa, and advocacy tours in the spring in which it discusses the LRA’s atrocities.

The organization came under fire after “Kony 2012” went viral. They were criticized for misspending money and simplifying a complex issue. In response, the organization addressed critics on its website and released its financial information.

In the official response to criticism, the organization’s officials described their approach as “comprehensive,” “intentional” and “effective.” They spend roughly equal amounts on advocacy, documentation of the abuses and on-the-ground programming to stop the LRA and support war-affected communities.

It’s a three-fold method, Seawell explains.

“Its about the mission, the movement and the movies,” she said.

“Kony 2012” has over 16.8 million views on Vimeo and over 77 million views on Youtube. There will be more events on campus this semester.

J. Karin Curley can be reached at jkcurley@loyno.edu
 

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