Kony, Kony, Kony: The name is permeating through every form of media. "Kony" is everywhere -- Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Vimeo, the "Today" show, even on bumper stickers. The story has gone viral.
So now what?
With every hot trend comes criticism, skepticism, doubt and disagreement, which inevitably result in anger and debate. So here we are, about to become victims of the curse that so frequently befalls us in the Age of Social Media. We have been made aware. We are informed. If nothing else, our eyes have been opened to the perilous situations of others sharing the world with us. But we will lose sight of the inspiration we've received if we allow ourselves to be caught up in the debate, in the battle of proving each other wrong. We've been trained to be perfectionist information-seekers, and when it comes to writing research papers, solving math equations and understanding scientific concepts, this training invariably works in our favor. Now, however, it hinders our ability to see the bigger picture.
Invisible Children is an organization that was founded for a solitary purpose: to inform people of the crimes of Joseph Kony, an African military leader who has been rated by the International Criminal Court as the worst war criminal of our time.
The co-founders of Invisible Children created a film to spread the word about their cause, not to generate buzz and debate about the administration of their organization. If their goal was truly to inform, to share, to awaken, then surely they have succeeded, regardless of whether or not their organization is flawless. We're not being asked to believe in a group of filmmakers; we're being asked to believe in ourselves and in our ability to make a difference in the world. The creators of the video and of the organization only started the movement. By awakening us, by reaching out specifically to us, the younger generation of social networkers, they are essentially passing the torch. And it's our choice to either take it and run with it or let it pass us by because we don't approve of the people who want to hand it to us.
It isn't about Invisible Children as an organization. It's not about believing in its programs or admiring its founders or finding perfection in its administration. What this campaign is about is the children. Across the world and even in our own city, there are children whose needs are not being met and whose basic rights are being violated. Everywhere there are children for whom happiness and success is out of reach.
Jacob, a young Ugandan interviewed in the film, represents all the children who are suffering. Whether or not everyone approves of the video or of the organization as a whole, most people can agree that Jacob's voice needs to be heard, that Jacob and all the suffering children need to become visible. The Kony 2012 (www.kony201.com) campaign is one group's way of saying, "It's time." In essence, it does not matter if every cent of Invisible Children's fundraising goes to Africa or if none of it does. This campaign has taught us and continues to teach us that we can make a difference.
In and of itself, the incredible response the campaign has received in such a small amount of time demonstrates that the masses are ready to stand together for something, for anything, and we have the wherewithal to do it. So our new task is, simply, to keep on keepin' on. Whether it's stopping Kony's Lord's Resistance Army or helping to make a difference in our own community, it's time to take the inspiration and run with it.
Christina Seminara is a junior at Nardin Academy.