A video on YouTube has gone viral with over 15 million views within 48 hours; and it’s still on the rise. The video, entitled “Kony 2012″ was produced by Jason Russell, the founder of the Invisible Children, Inc. (IC). The video, above, is intended to take advantage of the mass media of Facebook and Twitter to reach millions of viewers around the world by Dec. 31, 2012 when it expires.
Kony, the #1 most wanted criminal by the International Criminal Court, leads the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), an organization that abducts children in Central Africa and uses them for horrific crimes of murder and prostitution. There are rumors that he may already be dead and that his capture would not end the organization. However, IC intends to expose and make “famous” this crime lord in order to ensure his capture in 2012 by way of the recently published video.
What makes the video seem like a “scam” is the solicitation of donations and purchase of the action kit which includes two bracelets, t-shirt, stickers, buttons and posters for $30. IC has made almost $14 million dollars with approximately 31% going towards helping anyone, according to news site The Daily What, and backed up by the organization’s own financial records.
A blog called “Visible Children” also holds a laundry list of criticisms levied against Invisible Children from the blog’s writer, Grant Oyston, and links to various pieces written by news outlets such as Foreign Policy, The Telegraph and the Washington Post.
What some refer to as “emotional porn,” this video grabs the viewers and implores them to support actions that can help apprehend Kony. On April 20, 2012, the IC wants everyone to put up posters across the world from dusk until dawn to make a point to US Congressmen and Senators that the people “care.” However, these posters must be purchased at a cost to each emotionally moved viewer.
Use judgment and proceed with caution. The LRA is a real organization and the fight to destroy the organization is real. However, IC might be using the opportunity to take advantage of people’s emotions for financial gain.