Thursday 08, March 2012
Who is Joseph Kony?
UGANDAN war criminal Joseph Kony has become an internet sensation overnight through a campaign on Facebook and Twitter.
From a position of relative global obscurity, the Stop Kony 2012 campaign has now alerted millions to the devastating war crimes he is said to have committed.
Quays News took to the streets of Manchester to find out how many
people know who Joseph Kony is.
The hashtags #stopkony and #kony2012 were among top trending topics on Twitter today and celebrities including P Diddy and Rihanna tweeted links to a viral video.
That video on YouTube from the Invisible Children movement has now been seen by millions.
Last night at around 10.30pm, the video had around nine million hits. Today at just after 2.30pm, the video had leapt to nearly 34 million hits.
The campaign is set up by American filmmaker, Jason Russell, with the intention of making Kony’s name famous in order to bring him to justice.
In his video, Russell claims that the US Government would not do anything to bring Kony to justice simply because it did not affect national security or financial interests.
However, the movement’s efforts have forced the government to take action, sending a small number of US forces to Africa to help regional forces working toward removing Kony.
Younger people who use Facebook and Twitter seemed to recognise a picture of Kony.
But older people appeared clueless about his identity.
When shown a picture of the Ugandan war criminal most elderly people did not recognise him, even when told he was Joseph Kony.
One woman said: “I’ve never heard of him. If it had been in the papers, I probably would have recognised him.”
Another pensioner even said: “Is he the Premier of the Congo?”
Most students at the University of Manchester who were surveyed recognised Kony and some were even able to demonstrate a competent knowledge of the man.
When asked how they knew him, they all said they had seen him on Facebook or Twitter.
Joseph Kony is in the top five of the list for the International Criminal Court’s most wanted and has been evading capture for six years now.
He is the head of the Lord’s Resistance Army, a rebel group against the government, known for killing, kidnapping, rape, looting and enslaving.
Kony is known to kidnap children and recruit them into his army.
He forces them to kill their parents and trains them to become child soldiers of which there are around 30,000.
He has been doing this for nearly 20 years but until recently there have been few people who know of his atrocities.
By Sanjay Dove
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