You and This YouTube Video Can Stop A Warlord: KONY 2012

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Joseph Kony is one of world’s worst war criminals. By using the Internet to make him famous, he can be brought to justice. The Invisible Children project’s goal is to reach 20 culture makers including Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates and 12 policymakers including John Kerry and Mitt Romney with the message that Kony must be stopped.

It’s working. Currently four of the global Twitter trending topics are about the mission to prevent Kony from abducting more children and turning them into soldiers and sex slaves. The mission starts with watching this video:

If the video is too long to watch now, view this trailer and come back later.

Essentially, Ugandan military forces need advisors and technology to track Kony in the jungle. Obama has devoted resources, but they’ll be withdrawn if there’s not mass public support. As the project’s founder Jason Russell explains in the video “the problem is 99 percent of the planet doesn’t know who he is. If they knew, Kony would have been stopped long ago.”

Strife in Uganda is a more nuanced issue than the video explains. Uganda is in fact strategically important to the U.S., and there are people other than Kony responsible. Donations to Invisible Children support the Ugandan military which has its own problems, and the not-for-profit has received a fair amount of criticism for its practices. Still, raising awareness of the situation can lead to an improved quality of life for an entire region, be it through Invisible Children or great organizations like Enough Project. [Updated with more links to criticism of Invisible Children]

The effort to stop Kony is a technology story because it’s using modern connectivity to make the world’s leaders listen to the world’s people. While once the mainstream media had to get involved, now the combined power of millions through the Internet can have an even bigger impact. This is another coming of age moment for YouTube, for Twitter, and for society. It’s time to use our clicks to take a stand.

Visit Invisible Children to learn more. Always research any cause before donating. (Excuse the site if it loads slowly, the whole planet is getting involved.)