UPDATE: When I started writing this blog yesterday there were just under a million views of the KONY 2012 video.
It's gone viral. More than 19 million people have watched on YouTube alone and this thing has taken over the internet. People are watching and they are moving to action.
Along with supporters, there are critcs — as is the nature of fast traveling movements. There is a lot of crazy information finding its way into the madness. Here are the facts released by Invisible Children regarding their movement, their purpose, their past and their plan: http://www.invisiblechildren.com.s3-website-us-east-1.amazonaws.com/critiques.html
Most people think of three things when they think about Africa: hot, far, and poor. I've been there — it's all of those things.
Africa is poor. It's the poorest continent on the planet.
Nearly half of all African children have lost at least one parent to preventable disease.The odds of contracting malaria is nearly one in one. One out of every six kids will die of preventable disease before the age of five.
AIDS affects nearly 14 million children — children.
But there is something happening in Africa that, even from thousands of miles away should cause us to stir and I would even say lie awake at night. More so than the poverty or disease or death.
The first time the words "Invisible Children" entered my realm of thinking was my sophomore year of college when I watched an hour and a half documentary put out by an organization by the same name.
It wrecked me.
The film documents the atrocities occuring in Northern Uganda and the survival of the youngest and most vulnerable victims forced to be part of a war they are too young to comprehend — not to mention have not been alive long enough to even know why they fight.
Invisible Children opened my eyes to the unseen battle in Central Africa that involves the enslavement and forced fighting of child soldiers in the longest running civil war in Africa.
For nine years this organization, based in San Diego and run by a bunch of kids in their 20s, has been working to end the civil war in Uganda and free the child soliders abducted to fight.
It's working. Since 2003, abductions have ceased in Uganda. Without the intervention of government agencies or short-term aid they have effectively rebuilt basic infrastructure and helped to secure quality education for the children of Uganda — a task the United Nations has spent the last 3 decades attempting and falling short decade by decade.
These aren't millionaires. They aren't powerful. They are kids. They give a few bucks at a time and devote their voices to making a difference in a way that has bent history for the country of Uganda.
Sometimes the miles that separate us from tragedy keep us from investing our time or our compassion in something that has the potential to give us the opportunity to be part of something much bigger than ourselves.
Well here's our chance to make up for that.
Over the years Invisible Children has accomplished goal after goal. They helped stop the night commuting of 30,000 vulnerable youth. They organized government peace talks. They got the backing of congress. Even the President.
Now they are out to stop leader of the Lord's Resistance rebel forces, Joseph Kony. Kony is the number one target of the Internation Criminal Court on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
He's a bad dude.
Invisible Children's Kony 2012 campaign is harnessing the power of social media to let the world know that this guy needs to be stop. If everyone knows about him he can't hide.
Here's the deal: Watch the video, but don't stop there. Pass it on. Get involved. Get everyone you know involved. Learn as much as you can so that you can be part of history.
AND....stay tuned for details on the Invisible Children crew making their way to the Brainerd area in early April.