It provides a crucial meeting point for activists across the world, and was involved in both the Occupy movement and the so-called ‘Arab Spring’. It reunites long-lost friends from across the world. Anything can be shared, whenever, wherever, with everyone. Is there anything social media can’t do?
Not according to the teens across Australia and the developed world who are involved in the Kony 2012 campaign.
For those of you yet to stumble across Joseph Kony, he is a Ugandan warlord who heads the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), and is ninth on Forbes’ World’s Most Wanted Fugitive List. His group is allegedly responsible for widespread human rights violations, murder, rape, enslavement, abduction, mutilation, cannibalism and the displacement of over two million people. These atrocities have continued for 25 years.
Over these past 25 years, he has been pursued to various degrees by the governments and militaries of Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan and the Central African Republic. Uganda had also been fighting a full-blown war against the LRA up until 2008, when a ceasefire was declared. His group has been the subject of various UN reports. He has an outstanding arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court, which has been in place since 2005. He is also wanted by Interpol.
US President George Bush Jr. placed the LRA on the list of 25 most dangerous terrorist groups in the world. President Obama sent a force of over 100 soldiers to help the African militaries hunt him down. All these efforts have been to no avail.
Optimism and public support can only go so far. No number of teenagers from the other side of the world are going to be able to bring him to justice, no matter how hard they try. Facebook and Twitter may be great communication tools, but in the ongoing global manhunt for terrorists they can’t get us very far.
The Kony 2012 movement is still in its infancy. It will be interesting to see, as the movement gains momentum and legitimacy, how its leaders propose that a bunch of teenagers, armed only with internet connections and mobile phones, can succeed where 100 soldiers, armed with the latest weaponry and the backing of the world’s greatest superpower, have failed.