Viral video sparks new interest, criticism in global organization
By Monica Yantosh
The most recent viral video on the web is a movie made by non-profit, global humanitarian aid organization Invisible Children. It was made by one of the founders and focuses on Joseph Kony, a Ugandan guerrilla group leader. The wide success of the movie has sparked a campaign called Kony 2012 whose goal is to bring attention to the issue and raise support for Kony’s arrest.
The Elon Chapter of Invisible Children, led by Co-President Katie Salerno, is working to bring awareness to the situations in Africa.
“I really like the video,” Salerno said. “I think if you aren’t aware of the issue before hand, it’s really easy to get confused.”
However, after the video was posted, critics were quick to say the movie doesn’t give enough information about the situation. Junior Christopher Bosak watched to video, and took time after watching to further research the issue.
“Yes, this dictator seems like a bad guy,” Bosak said. “I certainly don’t like any body who goes out and kidnaps children, but I feel like this is too simple a way to look at it. This seems like a very complex issue and it’s just being glazed over.”
Salerno also agrees that just watching the video is not enough.
“I think that you really need to do your research before because it’s not meant to be informative,” Salerno said. “It meant to promote this idea that this person known, and if you don’t know who this man is you need to go back and look at your facts.”
With attention now on Invisible Children, people are more aware of where the organization spends their money.
Here’s their expense breakdown according to the 2011 annual report: almost 50 percent of donations goes to raising awareness. Thirty-seven percent goes to Central Africa programs. The rest pays for general expenses.
Salerno said the money does go to raise awareness, which is a cause she thinks is just as helpful.
“What people don’t realize is that their money is going to this awareness which is indirectly going into their programs on the ground,” Salerno said. “You can’t have these programs without having people aware of it.”
More than 70 million people have seen the video on YouTube since it was posted March 5.
To get involved with Invisible Children, find them on Facebook. The group will also be hosting a profit share at Mellow Mushroom on Tuesday, March 13 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., an event called “Cover the Night” on Friday, April 20 and a screening of “Kony 2012” on Monday, April 23 at 7 p.m.
The following is Invisible Children’s video response to criticism the group received following the release of the viral video about Joseph Kony.
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