Last week I wrote a blog that highlighted the Kony 2012 campaign. Since then, many people have gone on to criticise the cause and the NGO Invisible Children behind it. However, over 100 million people have watched the video they created and now know the name Joseph Kony.
As a company, Web Applications fully supports the belief that Joseph Kony should be stopped. We understand the criticisms levelled at Invisible Children but without the Kony 2012 viral sensation such an important issue would not have been brought to light. The critiques have been aimed at Invisible Children as an organisation and their methods, not whether Kony is a war criminal; these are two separate issues. Regardless of the controversy surrounding Invisible Children the principle remains that Joseph Kony must be brought to justice. We know this will not be an easy feat; how to accomplish this is extremely complicated. However, the amount of awareness created means that Joseph Kony has been brought to the forefront of our minds. He has affected and continues to affect the lives of thousands of people; now the crimes he has committed over so many years are known across the world.
People have criticised the campaign as being too little, too late – but how can it ever be too late to stop the violence Joseph Kony has been responsible for over these past 20 years? It’s shameful the way the issue has been ignored for so long by the western world. We need to stop Kony and the LRA violence so that war affected communities can be given the help they so desperately need.
Kony may not be in Uganda anymore but this does not change the fact that he is still at large in other central African countries. By publicising the fight against Kony, pressure will be put on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to increase efforts to find and convict him of the terrible crimes he has committed for almost three decades.
This week saw the conviction of Congo warlord Thomas Lubunga, which was the first verdict from the ICC since opening in 2002. The case will have set legal precedents that could be used if Joseph Kony is captured. The International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor said on Thursday he would seek “close to the maximum sentence” for Thomas Lubunga. We hope Joseph Kony will be next to step before the ICC.
As I mentioned previously, our Chief Executive Craig Dean lived in Uganda from 2001-2004. This is the main reason we at Web Applications ardently support the campaign to stop Joseph Kony. Craig has passionately retold the stories of his time spent in Gulu. Seeing the children scared for their lives, without their family and looking for anywhere to hide has obviously had a profound effect on Craig; he more than anyone wants to see Kony convicted. Since hearing the first hand stories, we share this view. So it is essential that something happens, not to make him famous but make him infamous and ultimately see him stopped.