A documentary film about the little-known conflict that has devastated Uganda since the early 1980s has become a surprise viral hit, being shared on Facebook over 3.6 million times in under two weeks.
Kony 2012, named after the infamous leader of Christian terrorist group the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), is a film and campaign by humanitarian group Invisible Children that aims to make Joseph Kony famous, "not to celebrate him, but to raise support for his arrest and set a precedent for international justice".
The documentary describes the plight of Uganda through the eyes of a former LRA child soldier, Jacob, and the director Jason Russell’s American son, Gareth, who doesn’t know who Kony is.
The film focuses heavily on the issue of child soldiers, with Kony’s LRA reportedly having up to 30,000 boys and girls who are used as soldiers and sex slaves.
Kony is alleged to have fathered over 200 children during his 26 years on the run from the Ugandan government.
The half-hour film has been so successful its makers have obliterated their target of 500,000 Facebook shares, already registering over 3.5 million. The growing interest has also caused their website to crash under the huge demand.
Invisible Children, an activist group that campaigns to end genocide and crimes against humanity, said the goal of Kony 2012 was to raise awareness about one of the world’s most brutal warlords in an effort to expedite his arrest.
The documentary has also called on supporters to act on April 20, 2012.
"This is the day when we will meet at sundown and blanket every street in every city until the sun comes up. The rest of the world will go to bed Friday night and wake up to hundreds of thousands of posters demanding justice," Russell said.
Kony, who wants to implement a theocratic government in Uganda based on the Ten Commandments, was indicted by the International Criminal Court in 2006 for war crimes but has evaded capture.
Viewers of the film have expressed shock and anger at the events taking place in Uganda and many have pledged to do what they can to help, including celebrities Rihanna, George Clooney and Ellen DeGeneres.
"I'm a high schooler and I haven't heard a thing about this, I want to help the fight. I'll gladly join you in St. Louis on April 20th," A YouTube user named amazingmano said.
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