WKU seeks to make KONY famous in 2012

Tyler Prochazka

During spring break, WKU’s Invisible Children Co-President Megan Murphy sat down at her computer to discover her Facebook newsfeed covered with the “KONY 2012” video featuring Joseph Kony.

Kony, the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, a rebel militant group in Uganda, is finally famous.


Murphy said she hopes this means justice can finally be served.

“The only reason he’s continued to be powerful is because people don’t know who he is,” Murphy said.

Invisible Children is a national campaign that began in 2004 to help aid in the capture of Kony as well as to provide awareness of the situation in Uganda. Kony, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court, is accused of forcing children into his army, sexual slavery, and terrorizing Uganda and the surrounding region.

The latest video production from the group, “KONY 2012,” was uploaded March 5 and has already been viewed nearly 80 million times. The stated goal of the video is to ensure that the United States maintains its presence in Africa until Kony is captured.

“(The troops) are only going to stay there if Americans show an interest in what’s going on in Africa,” Murphy said.

Murphy said she has seen a dramatic surge in interest in Invisible Children at WKU. She said she expects the group’s next meeting to be a “packed house.”

As with almost any social media campaign, though, “KONY 2012,” and Invisible Children have not gone without criticism. Some have been critical of the way that Invisible Children spends its donations, while others, including many Ugandans, have said it oversimplifies the issue.

Chris Ford, WKU’s Invisible Children co-president, said these criticisms should not stop people from volunteering for the group.

“You shouldn’t dismiss Invisible Children out of hand just because someone posted something taken out of context,” Ford said.

The criticism has not stopped Ford from continuing to appreciate Invisible Children. The group has helped him to broaden his horizons about global issues, something many other organizations on campus do not provide, he said.

Ford said he believes that the “KONY 2012” campaign is critical because it “provides a face” to the ongoing conflict in Uganda and the surrounding region.

“That’s the only time you get change to happen, is when everyone’s talking about it and when people can’t ignore it anymore,” he said.

In order to further the goal of raising awareness, WKU’s Invisible Children plans to participate in the international “Cover the Night” event, which will begin April 20 at sundown.

Murphy said the group will cover Bowling Green with flyers and materials about Invisible Children and Joseph Kony.

“When the public wakes up they’ll see it and they won’t be able to avoid it,” she said.

WKU’s Invisible Children Vice President Val Farsetti said that if Kony continues to feel pressure from these campaigns, he will be more likely to make mistakes that will lead to his arrest.

However, she said interest in Invisible Children must continue for its ultimate goal to be achieved.

“After nine years, we are finally getting the awareness spread that Invisible Children deserves,” she said. “I’m hoping we can keep the excitement going so we can finally catch Kony.”

The group meets every Thursday at 6 p.m. in DUC 341.