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Filed under News

Stop Kony now

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KONY 2012. It’s a phrase that I’m sure nearly everyone at this school has heard. At the beginning of March when I logged on to Facebook, 90 percent of the posts on my news feed referenced it. I wasn’t quite sure what it was, so I clicked on a video someone had shared. After watching, I felt the same as the mass of Facebook statuses:  Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), was evil and needed to be stopped.

In the weeks following Kony’s “public consciousness” debut, though, I became increasingly disappointed. Not only did most of the talk, tweets, and statuses stop, the majority of the things I heard about the Kony 2012  group, Invisible Children, were negative.

Probably the biggest rumor was only 20 percent of the money went to direct relief inAfrica. While this percent is false, the true statistics don’t necessarily sound much better.

When their budget is broken down, it shows around 37 percent goes to direct relief, not even half.

That doesn’t sound like a lot and I can see why people may be critical. The problem (like much of the current “outrage”) is the group’s budget has to be examined in context of its purpose to fully understand.

Direct relief receives by far the most money of all categories, and it is not as if the rest goes to things like salaries and vacations. Together Media and Film Creation, Awareness Products, and Awareness Programs receive 43.41 percent. These sections all aim to let people know what is happening and to “make Kony famous.”

It is directly stated in the Kony 2012 video that the goal of the Invisible Children is to make Kony famous. They don’t mean famous in the sense of celebrity, but more like infamous for his awful actions. I believe that this justifies their budget.

If the video claimed their purpose was to raise money to help the African children then I could see something wrong with it, but that is not their goal.

Of course they want to help these children, but they want to help them in a more permanent way than just a meal or a blanket. They want to eliminate the man that has made their lives so terrible.

The intent of the organization and the video was to spread awareness. Very few people knew about Kony, even though he is the world’s most wanted criminal and has been ravaging centralAfricafor over two decades. The campaign have been very effective. The video hit over 40 million views in just three days.

When I first heard Kony 2012, I thought they were talking about a Sonic commercial. My mind went straight to the Cheese Coney I serve way too many of at work. To me, that illustrates just how successful this campaign has been.

For this video to continue its success though, it needs help. As the video says, the Invisible Children enlists the help of 20 celebrities and 12 policy makers, but they are also enlisting every viewer.

Help spread the awareness by telling friends and family. “Paint up” your city with posters. Call or write letters to your senators like the video asks. The point is do more than just give a Like on Facebook.

Sure, statuses help, but contacting the policy makers on this issue is a lot more effective. I wrote a letter before writing this article and it took maybe ten minutes–you don’t even have to walk out to your mailbox because you can submit them online.

Call one of ourSouth Carolina’s senators’ offices. Dial Jim DeMint at (202) 224-6121 or Lindsey Graham at (202) 223-5972.

To submit a written letter type this link into your address bar or go to the Chapin Claw website to click on it: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm?State=SC. Once there click on the web form link and follow the steps.

I think that it is wonderful that so many students at Chapin want to stop Kony, but it disappoints me to see this issue being treated as just a trend. Prove that you actually want to see Kony stopped and didn’t watch the video just because everyone else did. It doesn’t take long but it can make a difference.

The atrocity needs action- not just reaction.

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