Kony campaign leads to upcoming event

by Caitlyn Starkey

Kony 2012, an awareness campaign by Invisible Children, has lit up the media over the last few weeks, and on April 20 they plan to “Cover The Night.”

In early March, Invisible Children launched a campaign called Kony 2012 centering around the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) Joseph Kony.

Senior Elizabeth Guthridge said the LRA abducts children and forces them to fight.

The Kony 2012 campaign strives to bring Kony to the forefront of people’s attention in order to prevent people from forgetting about the LRA or the horrors of central Africa.

“The whole point is to make Joseph Kony, himself, famous, so a lot of people know about him. Not like a celebrity or anything, but so people know how bad he is,” said freshman Hanna Kim, club president of Invisible Children on campus.

Whitworth’s Invisible Children Club and other organizations around Spokane will be participating in the nation-wide event “Cover The Night” on April 20. Many community and school groups, not only across the nation, but also around the world, will also be participating in “Cover The Night” events on April 20. The events seek to be a final movement that raises awareness of Kony by hanging posters throughout various communities. For more information about the Spokane event, contact Invisible Children or Kim.

Invisible Children has faced controversy about the organization and how the situation has been approached, leading to segregation of public opinion.

With the wide range of opinions, Invisible Children added a section to its website labeled Critiques.

“Invisible Children is built on the values of inclusiveness, transparency, and fact-based discourse,” according to the website. “We ask no one to just take our word for it. We WANT you to see everything we are doing, because we are proud of it. But we also want to motivate you to act — not just watch. If encountering something you disagree with, suggest an alternative to what we are doing, and we will absolutely take heed. If it’s a matter of opinion, taste, humor, or style: we apologize if people take offense, and will have to agree to disagree. As the poet Ke$ha says, ‘We are who we are.’”

Junior Katherine Rahn felt confused and uneducated about the issue, especially after seeing a debate between strangers about the credibility of the campaign in the Hixson Union Building.

Sophomore Graeme Lauer said he sees arguments like that as noisy and uneducated. He still hopes to participate in “Cover The Night” but  said he hopes people will step back and evaluate the position and actions.

“What I’ve been seeing is, a lot of people who are uneducated about the situation being very outspoken,” Lauer said. “I have done more research on this than I typically do in situations like this. I think it’s really good [that] people did say, ‘Hey, wait a minute. Take a step back and look at what you are actually doing and supporting.’ But I think those people were actually uneducated, a lot of them, in what they were saying.”

Arguments have been erupting not only on campus, but also over facebook and across the Internet, as to the validity and ethics of the Kony 2012 campaign and its claims. Lauer said because of that, people should be careful to educate themselves on the issue.

Awareness and education about Kony are the immediate goals of the Kony 2012 campaign. It is as a step toward encouraging the U.S. government to continue to seek to stop Kony after 2012, since the U.S. military is currently scheduled to leave Africa at the end of the year.

“Joseph Kony needs to be stopped. And when that happens, peace is the limit. This is the beautiful beginning of an ending that is just the beginning. We are defending tomorrow. And it’s hopeful,” according to the Invisible Children website.

Contact Caitlyn Starkey at cstarkey14@my.whitworth.edu.

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