Kony 2012: Research, Reflect & Act

BY CHRIS KERRMarch 14, 2012

If you haven’t watched the “Kony 2012” video that went viral in recent weeks, you are likely becoming part of a minority group.  As of March 14th the video has received more than 93 million views on sites like YouTube and Vimeo.   Video director Jason Russell (co-founder of Invisible Children) utilizes engaging video techniques and imagery to share Invisible Children’s campaign to stop Joseph Kony from continuing to use violence against people in Central Africa.

“Kony 2012”  offers viewers an opportunity to experience the emotion of this issue through Russell’s young Ugandan friend Jacob, while at the same time articulating the interconnectedness of our world, a reality he sees as a potential for a resolution.  Many people have criticized a number of facets of the video including the simplistic description of the situation in Uganda and the current actions of Joseph Kony, Invisible Children’s use of financial resources obtained through donations and the purchase of organizing materials,  and the call for continued U.S. military advising as a response to the apprehension of Joseph Kony.

The video certainly has the potential to engage individuals in the atrocities committed by Kony, especially young people who are fully engaged in the electronic world.  However, with any complex human rights issue it is important to consider and address concerns like those mentioned above.  As individuals and communities, inspired by the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola, we are called to research, reflect and then discern what action we will take in solidarity with those who are marginalized by injustice.

Below is a collection of resources that we will continue to develop that may serve as a starting point for research and reflection on “Kony 2012”.   We would invite you to share additional resources and the ways in which your parish or campus are responding to the video as well in the comments area below.       (UPDATED on 4/10/12 at 5:00 PM ET)

SOURCE: U.S. State Department


4/19/12 – Podcast with Fr. Orobator, S.J. (Provincial East African Province)
Source: U.S. Jesuit Conference
Fr. Orobator speaks directly to the Koney situation and the Kony 2012 video

3/28/12 – Statement from U.S. Jesuit Conference on Kony 2012
Source: U.S. Jesuit Conference
NOTE: In this statement the Jesuit Conference identifies the Jesuit’s position on the situation in Uganda and their recommendation of where to offer financial support (Ocer Campion Jesuit College in Gulu) that will have the most positive impact for people affected by Joseph Kony. 

2011 Ignatian Family Teach-In Presentation by Very Rev. Orobator, S.J., Provincial of the East African Province
Source: Ignatian Solidarity Network
NOTE: In this speech Fr. Orobator makes specific reference to the LRA & Kony that represent a clear call from the Jesuits,  stating: “And this is where the U. S. government and the rest of the world can help Africa – to train African children, not for war, but for peace, prosperity, and progress! The U.S. government can help African children beat swords and guns into pens and pixels; notebooks and textbooks; I-pads and Touch-pads.”  READ MORE…

“Arrest Joseph Kony and ensure no more like him!”
Source: Africa Faith and Justice Network

“Urging Nonviolence in Dealing with the Lord’s Resistance Army”
Source: Africa Faith and Justice Network

“Response to the Deployment of U.S. Military Advisors to LRA Affected Regions”
Source: Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiative – October 24, 2011

“The CRS Take on Kony 2012” and “The CRS Take on Kony 2012 Part 2”
Source: Catholic Relief Services


“Kony is Not the Problem”
Source: New York Times

Fact Checking The ‘Kony 2012’ Viral Video
Source: National Public Radio

How ‘Kony’ Clip Caught Fire Online
Source: Wall Street Journal

“Invisible Children: Using Film and Social Media to Advance Global Justice Advocacy”
Source: Sojourners Magazine

“Opinion: Criticisms Over Kony” 
Washington Post

“Kony: What’s The Real Story”
The Guardian

“The White Savior Industrial Complex”
The Atlantic


“Matu Oput”
Created by Creighton University students and focuses on the Catholic Church (including the Ocer Jesuit school) – 21 minutes
Note: This video contains graphic images
View here: http://vimeo.com/33414929 

“Bitter Root”
Documentary by Al Jazeera that focuses on traditional Acholi reconciliation practices and highlights former LRA commanders seeking forgiveness with their victims – 47 minutes


U.S. Department of State – Uganda Relations Website
Source: U.S. Department of State

11.10.14 – Letter from President Obama to Congress Regarding the LRA
Source: White House

12.03.07 – Statement by Rep. Roslehtinen (R-FL) on Joseph Kony & Crimes Against Civilians in Uganda
U.S. House of Representatives Sub-Committee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights

United Nations Office of High Commission on Human Rights – Uganda Information Page
United Nations


Invisible Children’s Response to Critiques
Source: Invisible Children

Amnesty International – Child Soldiers Site
Source: Amnesty International

Genocide Intervention Network-Democratic Republic of Congo
Source: Genocide Intervention Network

Capturing Kony
Source: Human Rights Watch

Lord’s Resistance Army Endgame
Source: International Crisis Group


Jesuit Refugee Service USA Action Kit (See “Advocacy 101” section)
Source: Jesuit Refugee Service USA

Ocer Campion Jesuit College – Jesuit school referenced by Fr. Orobator at Ignatian Family Teach-In
Society of Jesus

Members of U.S. House of Representatives Sub-Committee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights
Source: U.S. House of Representatives

Members of U.S. Senate Subcommittees on Foreign Affairs
Source: U. S Senate

“KONY 2012” VIDEO:

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