“KONY 2012,” the short film cre-ated by Invisible Children, Inc., went viral this March. The movie’s aim was to draw negative attention to Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in Central Africa. Kony has been accused of kidnapping children, turning them into LRA soldiers, and inflicting senseless violence on villages throughout the region.
On Oct. 4, representatives from Invisible Children, Inc. came to EMU’s campus to show a slightly older film, “The Rescue.” The 2009 film, which stated that 30,000 children had been abducted by the LRA, portrayed the journey of three young American men and their attempts to make peace with Joseph Kony. The climax of the film was a five day period in April of 2008, during which the United Na- tions waited for Kony to come sign a peace agreement to which he had supposedly agreed. Kony never showed up to the site and the LRA massacred 620 people that Christmas.
Immediately following the showing of “The Rescue,” a much shorter and more current clip was shown documenting the power and influence the new “KONY 2012” film has had. It also described the ways in which the mon- ey donated to Invisible Children, Inc. is used. Much of the donated money goes to funding more films about the issue, researching the movement of the LRA in order to warn citizens of Central Africa about their movements, and encouraging national and international leaders to use military force to capture Kony.
Additionally, the KONY 2012 campaign finances education of Northern Ugandan children. Roy Komaketch, a living example of an Invisible Children Scholarship recipient, spoke directly after the end of the films. Komaketch told his story of hiding in the jungles each evening from the potential abductions and massacres that could take place in his village. In the summer of 2005, however, Invisible Children came to Komaketch’s village and offered to pay his high school tuition, taking him out of the danger zone.
“I thought I couldn’t achieve anything in my life,” said Komaketch, who now is nearly finished with his college education. “Without [Invisible Children] I wouldn’t have achieved anything.”
Komaketch gets to tell his story nearly every night. “We have ascreening almost every day,” said Brianne Blaisdell, another volunteer with the KONY 2012 campaign. Blaisdell mentioned that the group would be back in Harrisonburg in a few weeks to show the same film to students at James Madison University.
Blaisdell, a student at Brigham Young Unviersity Idaho, said she first became interested in the Invisible Children movement when she saw a screening of “The Rough Cut” when she was fourteen. Now she is tak- ing time off to promote this cause by travelling around the country to different university settings. “We’ve gotten really positive responses and lots of questions,” Blaisdell said. “We’re trying to make sure people know us.”
Blaisdell also promoted a Nov. 17 event called MOVE D.C., a gathering to put pressure on the U.S. Government to take action. EMU Sophomore John Campbell plans to attend the event. Campbell shared his excitement about participating in a “true grassroots movement” that can “affect something far beyond our national borders.”
“It’s the power of personal action and responsibility in this grassroots-like effort that we are going to need much more of in days to come,” said Campbell, who has also pledged to give 35 dollars each month in support of the campaign and is looking into an internship opportunity with KONY 2012 in San Diego.
“This represents the greatest untapped power that we have as people in an evolving world,” said Campbell.
Ryan Eshleman, Staff Writer