MUSKOKA - A growing group of Muskokans have embraced a cause made famous to 25-million people in the last few weeks.
Kony 2012 captures attention in Muskoka.
BRAVE NEW VOICES: Huntsville’s Holly Nunn is encouraging Muskokans to join a global social networking campaign to stop an African warlord.
A 30-minute video from non-profit group Invisible Children has gone viral making their Kony 2012 campaign news around the globe.
The campaign is a social media phenomenon that supporters like Huntsville’s Holly Nunn, 24, hope will lead to the arrest of Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, a rebel army that has been terrorizing parts of Central Africa for 25 years.
Nunn has a Facebook page that invites people in Muskoka to take part in an event that will take place over night on April 20, starting at midnight. This is the date the Kony 2012 campaign hopes to hit the streets around the world.
About 50 people have confirmed their attendance at the Muskoka event, even though the location and nature of the event are yet to be determined.
The video suggests that people around the world spend that night putting up posters around their towns and cities, creating awareness of Kony.
“We are going to make Joseph Kony a household name,” it states on Nunn’s Facebook page.
“When people wake up the next day it will be there in front of them,” she said, adding that she hopes the event brings people across Muskoka together for a united cause. ”We as a community can come together to help bring awareness and make a difference in stopping this man Joseph Kony from harming children,” said Nunn.
But the young woman said the event is symbolic of more than just the Kony campaign; it’s a chance for the youth of Muskoka to lend their voices to an international cause.
“As a community as a whole we don’t always have the opportunity to get out in the front line in these types of awareness events. Here’s an opportunity an organization is giving smaller people … our plan in Huntsville is to create our own little spin off.”
She said she plans to talk with local government and see how they want to get involved.
“Right now the numbers are growing – in Muskoka right now we’re up to about 800 people that are going to be involved in this,” she said.
Nunn said social media is a new approach to activism that can work much faster than anything that has been experienced before.
“People who have tried to do these things before, spread awareness, nothing has grown or spread so quickly as through social media … People are reaching out – people I’ve never spoken to before.”
But there has also been criticism of Invisible Children over the past week. The founder of War Child appeared on CBC radio on Friday, suggesting that while the video has elicited a powerful response, some of the facts in the video are questionable.
War Child issued a statement saying that while a campaign to capture Kony may be good publicity, the region’s problems are complex and any solutions must come from Ugandan people themselves.
The video shows the Ugandan army in a favourable light, suggesting that with the support of American soldiers, they will be the ones to finally arrest Kony.
“In many of the areas where we work in these countries, local people are just as scared of the army as they are of the rebels,” states the War Child release. “There have been many allegations of violence and rape committed against women and children by government armies in the region.”
While they say that Kony’s army is still attacking towns and villages, the film is five years too late.
“The number of children being kidnapped and used as child soldiers is now relatively small. Much needs to be done to help the thousands of former child soldiers and abductees to reintegrate back into their communities.”
Critics have also been vocal in the last week about how quickly Kony 2012 has spread and have urged caution until relevant information can be sorted through.
“Critics say we can’t keep up with it. They don’t have the experience of the young people today. These are the faces of the future,” said Nunn.
She said the younger generation uses social media for more than just entertainment, but to access news and political information.
Nunn said that young people have seen how things have happened in the past with traditional media controlling the message and that people want a greater voice than they have had historically.
“There’s always going to be negatives,” she said of the criticism of Invisible Children, their message and the medium. “If it’s something that can be changed for the better and bring the world together, I don’t see how that hurts anyone.”
To see the video visit www.kony2012.com or Nunn’s Facebook page at KONY 2012 - Cover The Night, Huntsville Muskoka.