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Kony 2012 plans to ‘cover’ the city

Daniel Chi / Lantern photographer

Five representatives from the Invisible Children, Inc.- a nonprofit organization against the African child soldier crisis – traveled to Ohio State to promote its “Cover The Night” event.

The representatives discussed the controversy of the Kony 2012 video with OSU students Monday evening.

Along with the screening of IC’s second movie “Kony 2012 Part II: Beyond Famous,” the representatives, including a volunteer from Uganda, shared their stories and answered questions in the Great Hall Meeting Room of the Ohio Union.

Kony 2012 is a 30-minute online video designed to stop Lord’s Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony from abducting children in east and central Africa by making him a household name around the globe.

“You and I, and everyone in the world, need to help with this case,” said Richard Olunya, a full-time volunteer for IC who just moved from Uganda two months ago. “We need to be united, like O-H-I-O.”

The Kony 2012 video racked up more than 112 million views six days after being published on March 5, making it the fastest video campaign to surpass 100 million views in history, according to video analytics firm Visible Measures.

“It’s capable of causing such influence because it is a video that tugs at your heart strings,” said Katie Babcock, president of the Invisible Children OSU chapter, a second-year in psychology and human development. “It makes you want to take action, it’s inspiring and above all it is relatable.”

The OSU community will join the universal rally with the event Cover Ohio State with Kony to bring an end to LRA violence. Representatives from IC came to kick off a week-long program with different themes every day, leading to the action night this Friday. OSU students plan to join people around the world to cover their cities with Kony using provided posters, stickers and signs of Kony to make him famous.

“We serve locally to raise global awareness,” Babcock said. “There are already 300 kids in the group … We are having a planning meeting on Thursday to specify the ideas (of the event).”

However, some at OSU have questions about this event.

“The Kony 2012 video is very sparse on facts,” said John Quigley, professor of Moritz College of Law, specializing in human rights and international issues. “The video appears aimed more at organizing viewers through an emotional appeal. That said, there is good reason to accept the proposition that the LRA has committed atrocities as alleged in the film.”

Quigley said Kony and several other LRA leaders have been indicted by the International Criminal Court. The African Union is organizing a military effort against the LRA, and the United States is supporting this effort. Nonetheless, with a group that is mobile and operates in remote areas, apprehending them is difficult.

“There exists a dichotomy between the context of situation as presented in the video, and reality in regards to Joseph Kony’s involvement in the region as described,” said Evan Boylan, a third-year in anthropology. “Because of this, and for many other reasons, this campaign has been generally discredited.”

IC released the second installment of Kony 2012 campaign April 5. The video aims to respond to the criticism from general public and keep up the pressure to take action.

“‘Beyond Famous’ is an excellent way to refute criticism, and to showcase the great qualities in the organization,” Babcock said. “I hope it gets a lot of people out to support the cause on April 20.”

Quigley said he believes there is little factual evidence in the “Beyond Famous” film, just like the original video.

“It is not different than other cases that may be going on, but it is urgent,” Babcock said. “Not saying North Africa is worse than other cases, but that it is in the media right now, and that is a wonderful time to make a difference.”

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