Welcome to the era of #Kony2012

We are the generation addicted to immediate gratification, books without pages and our best friend Siri. The generation that values touch of a different kind, like screens. We’re driven by the media, fostered by our youth and altogether unconventional.  ops-logo11-300x29711

Have we lost ourselves in a first world utopia that will never hold us accountable for choosing progression over tradition? Can we find a way to deliver our most coveted values through modern day culture, or will they be forever lost in translation? Documentary filmmaker Jason Russell thinks we can and frankly, so do I.

Welcome to the era of #Kony2012. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the story, Joseph Kony is a guerrilla group leader in Uganda and heads the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). He’s the man responsible for reportedly kidnapping about 30,000 children and forcing them to commit heinous crimes and endure sexual abuse.

Jason Russell began this campaign to stop the LRA nearly 10 years ago after visiting Uganda to film the documentary “Invisible Children: Rough Cut.” He went on to found the non-profit organization Invisible Children, Inc. in 2006. Authorities have come close to arresting the planet’s most wanted criminal (Kony), but he’s still on the run. Uganda doesn’t have another 10 years to spare, so Russell is giving the world a mere 365 days to put a final end to it all. His strategy is revolutionary: create a cyber movement to make Kony famous.

“Kony 2012” is the title of Russell’s video that explains why it is absolutely necessary that societies across the globe unite for the common good. It is powerful, it is demanding and it is being shared all over the Internet.  120308_IG_Kony2012

Soon we’ll all know his face, his inhumanity will be exposed and Kony will be at war with billions of people who’ve seen a clear glimpse of Uganda’s reality by watching a 30-minute documentary. This alone is proof that our shared theories, ethics and morals are not lost through social mediums and modern day culture; they are thriving.

Now, I’m not looking to sensationalize every aspect of our modern life. I’m certain that keeping up with our changing world doesn’t involve “Keeping up With the Kardashians.” Nor does “Real Housewives” provide anything even remotely relevant to what’s actually ‘real.’

One could argue that we’ve made sacrifices in the hopes of moving forward, that maybe our priorities aren’t aligned as they would have been a century ago, or that our relationships are colored by technology and our success is compromised by a desire to be the best. And to a certain extent, I believe that all to be true.

But then in a moment of clarity on YouTube, I see the expression on the face of Russell’s 5-year-old son, so utterly confused by the hurt that these helpless Ugandan children are experiencing. “We should stop him,” he said. And my faith in humanity is entirely restored.

Our time is now; embrace the change. We are lucky to live in a world that provides us with a platform for our beliefs and places to express what is right. As Russell put it, “Arresting Joseph Kony will prove that the world we live in has new rules, that the technology has brought our planet together.”

Share the “Kony 2012” video with everyone you know and allow them to be a part of something greater than their own lives because at the end of the day, this is why we’re here. To do good, to be better. Stop at nothing, and the next generation will hit the ground running.

Carly Samuelson can be reached at samu5380@stthomas.edu.

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