Daily Dispatches

Villain Kony goes viral

Africa

If Joseph Kony lived in relative anonymity before this week, he's found internet notoriety now.

A video about the atrocities carried out by Kony's Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda is rocketing into viral video territory and is racking up millions of views seemingly by the hour, but many are questioning the role of the organization that produced it: Invisible Children.

Invisible Children claims it made the video to create even greater awareness about the jungle militia leader who is wanted for atrocities by the International Criminal Court-and that it did.

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Since the late 1980s, Kony's Lord's Resistance Army has abducted and forced an estimated 66,000 children to fight and brutally murder civilians on its behalf, and has forced the internal displacement of more than 2 million people.

But the non-profit Invisible Children has been criticized for its methods, including imploring policymakers and Christian celebrities to assist in spreading the word. It is also believed that Invisible Children supports the Ugandan army, which has been accused of its own atrocities against Ugandans. There are also reports circulating online about the organization's lack of financial accountability as critics question giving donations to a non-profit filmmaking organization that, for the most part, relies on advocacy instead of providing direct aid to those in need.

"There is only so much policymakers and foundations can do," an Invisible Children employee told The Washington Post. "The film has reached a place in the global consciousness where people know who Kony is, they know his crimes."

The roughly 30-minute video, which was released by Invisible Children on Monday, had nearly 37 million views on YouTube by Thursday afternoon.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Whitney Williams
Whitney Williams

Whitney happily serves WORLD as web editorial assistant. When she's not working from her home office in Texas, she's probably fishing or hunting with her husband.

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