PHOENIX -- You may never have heard of Joseph Kony before this week, but if you've been on Twitter or Facebook recently, you've probably seen the phrase "StopKony2012" or "Invisible Children."
Joseph Kony is the leader of a violent guerrilla group engaged in a brutal campaign to establish theocratic government in Uganda. A growing coalition of human rights groups say Kony and the Lord's Resistance Army are guilty of brutal war crimes and are responsible for the kidnapping of thousands of children who become forced laborers, soldiers and sex slaves.
The U.S. has responded by deploying American troops to Uganda. About 100 U.S. soldiers arrived in Uganda last fall. Their mission is to provide training and support to the military in Uganda and bordering countries.
The video documenting the atrocities carried out by the LRA -has been viewed nearly 60 million times over the past few days (on YouTube, Vimeo and other popular video sites). It's is part of the Invisible Children campaign, an international effort to stop Kony and help his victims.
The Invisible Children campaign is not without its own critics, but no one doubts the brutality of Kony and the LRA.
Part of the campaign is a series of rallies planned in cities across the globe on April 20. The plan is for supporters of the anti-Kony and anti-LRA movement to gather and demonstrate public support for the campaign.
- Invisible Children's Facebook page and website.
- TED Talk: Natalie Warne and Invisible Children.
- War Child describes its work to assist child soldiers in Uganda.
- Foreign Affairs article on Obama administration policy on Kony and LRA.