Central Africa's Unseen Children - Kony2012
Web star born: Kony video gets millions of views
This was the March 8,2012 headline on Channel 12, Richmond, Va's NBC news outlet. The piece chronicles the spread of a 30 minute video exposing the atrocities of Joseph Kony, the Ugandan thug who leads what's called the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). Over the years he has abducted thousands of children from their homes in Northern Uganda and turned them into thieves and murderers. His atrocities are heinous.
The advocacy group, Invisible Children, has set out to publicize what otherwise has been a very hidden terror. It's video, Kony 2012, seeks to mobilize the world, particularly the influential and the powerful, to take out Kony. Indeed, within three days of release it had been seen by 32 million. By now I suspect that number has tripled.
See it for yourself
Following one of my favorite TV characters, Jethro Gibbs, Crane's rule #10: Zealous pursuit of a cause, no matter how valid, will attract an equally zealous push-back. Sure enough, a case can be made that Kony2012 is a misguided and misleading crusader. I have no reason to doubt Joshua Keating's article which offers facts that contradict some of the points in the video. But, to be fair, you'll want to take a look at Invisible Children's response to its critics.
Putting aside the controversy, I am delighted Kony is getting all this attention and pray the day comes soon when he is brought to justice and major relief is channeled to Northern Uganda and surrounding Central Africa nations who have also felt Kony's terror.
I have been to Uganda eight times over the past 12 years. The team I was part of worked with an orphanage in the southern part of the country, near Jinja. While there we learned of Kony in the north. The plight of children in Northern Uganda weighed so heavily on our leader, John Keltonic, that he arranged on two consecutive years to travel to Gulu to see for himself what was going on. He was able to bring back ten children who became residents of the well run orphanage known as Canaan.
I've seen these children myself. I've also seen how the tender care of the Canaan staff gradually restored their smiles and developed within them a new confidence and hope. Go to the Canaan website. Look for Bosco and Richard and Atoo. You'll see with your own eyes what I mean. These were among those rescued form the North. Their smiles tell it all.
As horrible as Kony's atrocities have been, the suffering in Central Africa will continue long after Kony is gone. I've been to a children's hospital in one of Uganda's major cities, Jinja, to see children dieing of malnutrition and lack of medicines we, in America, take for granted. John Keltonic comments as follows: "More children have died in the last three months in one children's hospital in Jinja due to lack of electricity than were allegedly abducted by Kony in the last six years."
As I write this hub, a truck container full of medical supplies is being prepared for shipment to Jinja Children's Hospital. This will be the third year in a row in which volunteers have gathered at a borrowed warehouse to pack supplies donated from around the country. Under John's leadership all the supplies, services and transportation costs are being provided by generous donors.
You too? You are welcome to contact me. I'll put you in touch with the right people.