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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: kony 2012, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 5 of 5
1. Read a book: change the world - Lily Hyde


Anyone remember Joseph Kony?

The Ugandan recruiter of child soldiers was one of the most famous people in the Western world for a week or so in March, when the film Kony 2012 went viral. Then Kony was overtaken by Katniss as the name on everyone’s lips. 

Kony is a real person; Katniss is fictional. Fame is one thing they have in common. Another is age. Katniss is the heroine of The Hunger Games, first in a trilogy of novels (now a film) for young adults; Kony 2012 was made for school kids. And another is that they have both become linked to social activism.

The narrator of Kony 2012 turned his documentary subject into a children’s story he was telling to his young son. In the process, key facts were left out or glossed over, and the film was heavily criticised for simplifying its subject. 

The film-maker’s response (taken from an interview here)was that
We make films that speak the language of kids. We say, "You may live thousands of miles away from these problems in Uganda, but those kids are just like you, and you can do something to help them by getting your government and your self involved." 
 It may be underestimating, not to mention patronising, children to assume they can’t understand some background and context to the world’s problems. But it’s a laudable aim, to encourage young people to be interested in social injustices, empathise with those who are suffering, and desire to change the world for the better. Kony 2012 was intended to get viewers directly involved in a campaign to bring Joseph Kony to justice.

The Hunger Games is fiction, but with its themes of violence as entertainment and entertainment as social control, it also encourages readers to think about what’s wrong with the world now, and what it might become. And activists are trying to harness the popularity of this and similar books to effect real social and political change. Imagine Better is a project getting fans of Harry Potter and Katniss involved in real-world campaigning. It’s not alone; this article gives an excellent overview of the growing phenomenon of fan activism. 

As a writer for children and young people, I'm fascinated by this spill-over from fiction into reality. Kony 2012 took fact and turned it into a children’s story. Here the opposite is happening; young literary fans are being asked to take the ideas and ideals contained in the

4 Comments on Read a book: change the world - Lily Hyde, last added: 5/20/2012
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2. Ypulse Essentials: New Reality Shows Feature Tech Start-Ups, Students Apply To More Colleges, Pinterest Board Covers

Randi Zuckerberg — yes, the sister of Mark Zuckerberg and former Facebooker — is partnering with Bravo for a reality TV show (about finding the next young star of Silicon Valley. It also has a show in the works with Ben Huh who runs the... Read the rest of this post

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3. Millennials Want To Make Kony Famous In 2012

Social activism via social media is nothing new, but as yet in the U.S. it’s never reached the scale of the Kony 2012 campaign organized by the non-profit Invisible Children. Almost overnight, Millennials are helping to make Kony, an African... Read the rest of this post

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4. Child Soldiers: Justice, Myths, and Prevention

By Mark A. Drumbl


Because of the Kony 2012 campaign, everyone is talking about the Lord’s Resistance Army, its deranged leadership, and its many victims in northern Uganda, notably child soldiers. Talk is intense.

Amid the constant chatter, however, two crucial issues remain neglected. First, what does justice mean for child soldiers? Second, what contribution does Kony 2012 make to the prevention of child soldiering world-wide?

The Kony 2012 campaign encourages LRA leader Joseph Kony’s capture and transfer to the International Criminal Court in The Hague to face a slew of charges. Included among these charges is the war crime of unlawful recruitment, enlistment, or active use of children under the age of fifteen in hostilities. Coincidentally, last week the ICC entered its first conviction. The defendant, Thomas Lubanga, is a rebel warlord from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Notwithstanding his implication in systematic killings and sexual torture, Lubanga faced only one charge, namely, unlawful recruitment of child soldiers.

Although it remains a war crime to recruit children younger than fifteen, international law increasingly understands child soldiers as being under the age of eighteen. Most child soldiers, after all, are not young children. Most are adolescents, with many aged between fifteen and seventeen. The very young child soldier is an extreme case. Focusing on the extremes, however compelling, also sensationalizes.

Criminally prosecuting and convicting commanders who unlawfully recruit children into armed forces or groups is a step towards justice. But it is only a small step. It is easy to blame a handful of crazed commanders for child soldiering. But the ease of blame fails to uproot the many factors that conspire to facilitate child soldiering. These factors include the small arms trade, state political alliances, poverty, and illegal export of pilfered natural resources. The criminal law presents the allure of the quick-fix — if a couple of evildoers are convicted, the job is done, and justice has been achieved. Such closure, however, is premature. Justice entails much more. It requires reintegrating child soldiers into their communities and supporting local actors. It requires listening to former child soldiers and their priorities, which often include education, reconciliation, and jobs — not distant trials. It requires restoration for persons affected by the violent acts of child soldiers. At times, ironically, long-term justice may depend on short-term injustice. In Uganda, generous use of amnesties from criminal prosecution has helped weaken the LRA by encouraging fighters to abandon the group.

The Kony 2012 campaign and the Lubanga conviction are catalyzing events, to be sure. But these catalyzing events also have a shadow side. The image of child soldiering that they communicate to the public is not representative of the complexities of child soldiering as a whole.

The image du jour of the child soldier is Africanized. Yet only about 40% of child soldiers world-wide are in Africa. Child soldiering is a global phenomenon. The image du jour is of the abducted child soldier barely able to carry automatic weaponry and ammunition belts slung across shoulders and waists. Although this may be the case for LRA child conscripts, world-wide most child soldiers are neither abducted nor forcibly conscripted. Overall, approximately two-thirds of child soldiers exercise some initiative in coming forward to enroll. Frequently, this volunteerism is chimerical. But, at other times, it is quite real. Young people sign up to achieve political goals, topple dictators, acquire training, achieve economic gains, serve their community, and make the best of a bad situation. They suffer terribly in conflict, but it can be counterproductive to stylize child soldiers as dehumanized tools of war. Treating them as automatons programmed to k

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5. Ypulse Essentials: The White House Gets Millennials, Tablets For Kids, Millennial Spending

Michelle Obama will be making her first appearance on Nick’s Kids’ Choice Awards this weekend (presenting Taylor Swift with the Big Help Award. The First Lady won the award herself in 2010 for the Let’s Move! Campaign. In other... Read the rest of this post

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