Among the top U.S. and worldwide Twitter topics trending overnight were several hashtags related to a new documentary called “Kony 2012.” Pop diva Rihanna and other celebrities helped boost the video’s profile. Who is Kony?
Joseph Kony is the brutal Christian militia leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda. Filmmaker Jason Russell of the humanitarian group Invisible Children explained his goal:
The ultimate dream for KONY 2012 is that it becomes a tipping point for conversation, and that people will make a commitment to stop at nothing by making sure Kony is known in their circle of influence, whether it’s their family or office or school. The dream would be for Kony to be captured, not killed, and brought to the International Criminal Court to face trial. The world would know about his crimes and they would watch the trial play out on an international level, seeing a man face justice who got away with abducting children, raping little girls, and mutilating people’s faces for 26 years.
The short film, uploaded two days ago, is going viral on YouTube. Watch:
While most Hollywood celebs lean left and assail military invention, they’ve embraced President Obama’s decision to send troops to Africa to capture Kony.
Food for thought: Would they be so supportive and active in spreading the word about Kony on social media if he had been an Islamic terrorist?
MAKE KONY FAMOUS 2012 http://t.co/qyQltMFx
— Nicole Richie (@nicolerichie) March 7, 2012
— Kristen Bell (@IMKristenBell) March 7, 2012
— Big Boi (@BigBoi) March 7, 2012
So exciting how much improvement we've made for #KONY2012!! 🙂 this morning hardly anyone knew tonight? EVERYONES KNOWS!
— Chloë Grace Moretz (@ChloeGMoretz) March 7, 2012
— Deena Nicole Cortese (@DeenaNicoleMTV) March 7, 2012
Not all young people are on board with the KONY2012 director’s goal of bringing Kony to justice in the international criminal court system:
Joseph Kony of the LRA does not need an international criminal court he needs a bullet through his head.
— Justen Charters (@JustenCharters) March 7, 2012
Here’s another perspective:
— John Tabin (@johntabin) March 7, 2012
While it’s true that the fight against the LRA is not at the indispensible core of our national interests, it’s not irrelevent to our national interests, either. Aiding in our allies’ security shores up American hegemony and promotes American values. In the absense of an alliance with the US, a semi-democratic regime like Uganda’s would most likely turn to China (which has certainly been courting Uganda and other African countries), and it would likely move in the direction of Beijing’s values rather than Washington’s — in other words, it would likely backslide into autocracy.
Maybe you don’t think the US should care about that at all, but when the footprint is small, the risk of casualties is low, and the potential humanitarian benefit is high (it’s hard to overstate how horrifying the LRA is), this sort of action — as the overwhelming support for this mission in Congress indicates — tends to be fairly uncontroversial. As it should be.
Update: The blogosphere and mainstream media have picked up the story.
Twitchy at 3:01 am
Huffpo at 9:41 am
Washington Post at 11:49 am
CNN at 1:03 pm
Entertainment Weekly at 2:05 pm