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Joseph Kony 2012

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by Geraldine Massey (subscribe)
I'm an experienced corporate communicator and editor with an eye for interesting events and an attachment to my trusty Oxford dictionary.
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When Rihanna, George Clooney and Justin Bieber tweet, the world apparently takes notice. Although surely any moderately intelligent person should be asking themselves "Why?", that's probably a discussion for another day. The global assault that is Joseph Kony 2012 has been YouTubed, Tweeted and Facebooked everywhere over the past week, highlighting in an almost unprecedented way the power of social media and celebrity.

Kony 2012 Poster

Although American celebrities appear to have only just discovered him (interesting in itself since the congressional standoff over legislation to allow US forces to join the hunt for Kony in Africa was such a headline grabber in the US through 2011) Kony's diabolical Lord's Resistance Army is very well known throughout the international community. Their practice of child-kidnapping and killing in Uganda, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo has been drawing international condemnation and efforts to bring him to justice for twenty-five years.

Joseph Kony 2012 is in international campaign organised by Invisible Children Inc. In fact, raising awareness about Kony is the reason for the organisation's existence. Invisible Children's co-founder Jason Russell produced the emotional thirty minute film, which has received more than 50 million YouTube hits worldwide.

So now the whole world knows about Kony, what next? Invisible Children want concerned people to join in their Cover the Night promotion. The night of April 20 2012 will see activists around the world put up Kony 2012 posters anywhere and everywhere they can. You can get involved in your own local area, wherever you are in Australia.

Kony 2012 Poster

The success of the campaign so far isn't measured in just YouTube hits and social media chatter. Interest has been converted to action by many people.You can no longer purchase a $30 Kony 2012 Action Kit from Invisible Children's website because they've sold out, so you'll miss out on the T-shirt, bracelet, buttons and action guide if you join up now. You can still be an "advocate of awesome" by downloading the Joseph Kony 2012 Digital Kit here and getting out on the evening of 20 April so Australia will be awash with Joseph Kony's image on 21 April.

It's worth noting that there are many critics of Invisible Children and what some have called their "simplistic approach" to the highly complex problems of Africa. Alternative viewpoints can be seen here and here. If you think something worthwhile can be achieved through Joseph Kony 2012 then get out on the streets of your city or town from 20 to 21 April, but I'd like to propose something else as well. Before you stock up on your Easter chocolates this year take a look at the world's major chocolate producers who, despite many years of international criticism, still source the vast majority of their cocoa supplies from Côte d'Ivoire, where child slavery in the industry is endemic. Maybe we could all put our chocolate addictions, and not just posters, where our mouths are.
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Why? Take part if you think awareness raising will bring Joseph Kony to justice.
When: The night of 20 April 2012.
Where: Cities and towns all around the world.
Cost: Just exercising your conscience
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