In the past week, social media has facilitated the rise in awareness of the atrocious acts of Ugandan guerrilla group leader Joseph Kony.
Likewise, awareness of the nonprofit group, Invisible Children, behind the movement to bring down Kony has grown and along with it, gained opponents who claim the organization isn’t using it’s legitimate as it says it is.
People are rallying by the thousands behind this cause. The video that went viral four days ago has already has 57,733,541 views.
But this isn’t news. Kony didn’t start kidnapping kids and reigning terror over Ugandans last week.
In October of last year, President Barack Obama said troops will act as advisers in efforts to hunt down rebel leader Joseph Kony and sent 100 troops to combat the LRA in Uganda.
An article by The Guardian states, “Long considered one of Africa’s most brutal rebel groups, the Lord’s Resistance Army began its attacks in Uganda more than 20 years ago but has been pushing westward.”
20 years ago.
“Kony is wanted by the International Criminal Court under a 2005 warrant for crimes against humanity in his native Uganda,” writes The Guardian.
So why is everyone suddenly up in arms?
Don’t get me wrong, I think it is a great and noble quest to bring down a man and army reeking devastation all over Uganda.
But what about the other parts of the world up in arms trying to defend themselves who aren’t receiving any of our likes, tweets and shares in support?
When Kony 2012 made it’s debut, I spent hours reading everything I could find about the issue online. It was the phenomenon of the mass reaction that hooked me in. After reading what I deemed was enough to form an opinion on it I was appalled by what people on my social network streams were saying about it. I read things that were blatantly wrong about Invisible Children and the state of Uganda–things a simple Google search would have cleared up.
I was also surprised by the sheer number of people I knew suddenly wanting to play Superman and outraged with people who “weren’t caring enough” about the ordeal.
This made me think, and realize about myself, that we all are guilty of not caring enough.
With torrents of information bombarding us day in and day out, it is unfortunately too easy to glaze over world tragedies. I’ll be the first to admit, until today, I only knew what the headlines told me about the events in Syria.
So I did some research and I hope you will give it a read.
In December of 2010, Tunisia security forces shoot a protester dead during a demonstration that took place in the central town of Menzel Bouzaiene, a region that was reportedly in tension over youth joblessness.
BBC reported, Agence France-Presse news agency quoted an unnamed interior ministry official as saying: “The groups involved in these acts of violence and trouble encircled and attacked a national guard post by throwing fire bombs and stones.”
This was only the beginning of the Tunisian Revolution that led to the downfall of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in January of last year and democracy for the country.
Then same thing happened in Egypt last year in January sparked by the success of the Tunisian Revolution. This is currently on-going. But do a search in Google for Egyptian Revolution and you will find almost nothing new written about it.
After Egypt started their revolution, Libya followed suite. This actually became a proper civil war and not just a revolution because the forces loyal to the then ruler of the Libyan Arab Republic, Muammar Gaddafi fought back. Hopefully you see the news enough to know how that one ended.
Now we turn our attention to Syria. Protests happened, the government fought them and so did the army. The Arab League and the UN Security Council are trying to intervene, but Russia and China are blocking resolutions because of their better interests–mainly economical. Sounds like a massacre now doesn’t it.
The New York Times reports, according to the United Nations, more than 7,500 civilians have been killed in the year-long uprising against President Bashar al-Assad. And you want to know the craziest part about this whole thing, the Assads and much of the nation’s elite, such as the military, belong to the Alawite sect which is a small minority in a mostly Sunni country.
CNN reported, “At least 39 people were killed in Syria on Tuesday, as government forces took aim at citizens across the country.”
The same day the Kony 2012 video made its way to households everywhere.
The bloodshed in Syria doesn’t have an ending in sight. The oppostion, composed of mainly Sunni Muslims, the majority of the population in Syria, still exhibits disunity on many issues.
Today the Associated Press reported, “A high-profile international mission to end the Syrian crisis stumbled Friday before it began as the opposition rejected calls by U.N. envoy Kofi Annan for dialogue with President Bashar Assad as pointless and out of touch after a year of violence.”
I feel we as humans have the power, now more than ever, to help each other across continents. I hope that the way Kony 2012 spread only encourages more people to become better informed about events all over the world and how we can lend a hand to those in need. We have all these amazing tools starting with a little thing called the Internet that we are taking for granted. This isn’t a time to be petty about who cares more based on Facebook shares, it’s a time to use these resources to better our lives and those of others.