Have you seen this war lord?
Photo © 2006 AFP /Stuart Price
UPDATE: Watch the controversial film KONY 2012, commercial-free, tonight at 8pm on Ten. A Project special.
At 6pm on The Project: the controversies behind the film, and the online campaign that swept the world.
Ok, we got all your tweets, we saw your Kony-fication of our Facebook page, we heard you yelling #STOPKONY in our general direction.
So if we’re reading this right, you want us to do a story on Joseph Kony. Well guess what? We’re doing a story on Joseph Kony.
So who is Joesph Kony?
Well, for those of you without Facebook (and I believe there are some people!) the story in a nutshell is this:
A campaign to bring accused war criminal Joseph Kony, the fugitive head of Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army rebels, to justice has gone viral on the internet.
The campaign was launched by the non-profit group Invisible Children with an emotional 30-minute video which has been viewed close to 13 million times on YouTube and attracted more than 200,000 comments.
A number of celebrities have joined the campaign by tweeting links to the video and promoting the cause.
"Dear Joseph Kony, I'm Gonna help Make you FAMOUS ! We will stop YOU #StopKONY ! All 6,OOO,OOO of my followers RT NOW Pls!" hip-hop icon and fashion mogul Sean "Diddy" Combs said on his Twitter feed @iamdiddy.
"#KONY2012," tweeted singer Rihanna on her @rihanna account.
"Whoa! we need to #STOPKONY," said actress Zooey Deschanel on @ZooeyDeschanel.
Yes, Joseph Kony has made some powerful enemies in Diddy, Ri-Ri and the New Girl.
Born in 1988 from the frustrations against the government of Uganda's marginalised Acholi ethnic group, the LRA has since dropped its national political agenda for the narrow objective of pillage and plunder.
Kony, whose movement draws on Messianic beliefs and a smattering of Christian motifs, is wanted by the International Criminal Court.
The LRA rebels currently number several hundred, a fraction of their strength at their peak but still include a core of hardened fighters infamous for mutilating civilians and abducting children to act as soldiers and sex-slaves.
US President Barack Obama in October announced he was sending 100 special forces soldiers to Kampala to help Uganda track down Kony, and in December it emerged US special forces had set up a base in the Central African Republic as part of their regional effort to hunt the LRA.
The Stop Kony campaign by Invisible Children has not been without controversy.
The non-profit has come in for criticism for channelling a majority of their raised funds -- some 70 per cent or more according to some accounts -- to salaries, travel expenses and filmmaking, with charity watchdog Charity Navigator giving the group a low two-star rating for lack of financial accountability.
Some commentators have also questioned Invisible Children’s support for the ethically questionable Ugandan armed forces as well as their push for a military response that may end up costing even more children’s lives.
Be sure to tune in tonight for more details.
Oh yeah, and please stop Konying our Facebook page now.
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