Kony 2012 sets up in Merritt
People throughout Merritt are looking to join the cyberspace-fueled attack on Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army in Africa.
Merritt Secondary School Grade 12 student Nicole Bonneteau said locals will gather on April 20 to post signs throughout town to increase the visibility of one of the world’s most wanted war criminals
As of press time, over 310 people were expected to attend the event.
“On the day of the event, we will all be going around town at 7 or 8 [p.m.] and we’re putting up posters of Kony 2012 and banners,” Bonneteau said. “It started out with just me and friends from school and then I guess people have been inviting their other friends and then there are people from out of town that are coming in.”
After going viral on YouTube, Kony 2012 has been viewed more than 86 million times and at times was the No. 1 trending topic worldwide on Twitter.
“Pretty much the whole event is putting up posters and building awareness,” Bonneteau added. “Then we’ll just see what happens from there.”
A Merritt meeting place is tentatively scheduled at Spirit Square.
Kony was driven out of Uganda in 2005 and he is now a fugitive war criminal with an estimated 200 to 300-troop army. Ugandan forces suspect him to be roaming Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic and South Sudan, but attempts to apprehend him have failed.
He is accused of leading the LRA against the Ugandan government for over 20 years. He recruits young boys to become warriors and turns girls into sex slaves.
Several reports have indicated Kony forces the boys to mutilate people’s faces as well as kill their own parents.
He is suspected by the International Criminal Court to have killed tens of thousands of people and displaced two million others.
The Invisible Children, Inc.-created short film about Kony, attempts to build worldwide awareness about the fugitive.
“Our goal is to change the conversation of our culture and get people to ask, ‘Who is Joseph Kony?’” said Jason Russell, writer, director and narrator of Kony 2012.
Invisible Children, Inc. has printed hundreds of thousands of posters, stickers, yard signs and flyers. They have also made bracelets.
The effort to place the merchandise around cities throughout the world is already occurring, but will culminate on April 20.
“This is the day when we’ll meet at sundown and blanket every street in every city until the sun comes up,” he said in the video. “We will be smart and we will be thorough. The rest of the world will go to bed on Friday night and wake up to hundreds of thousands of posters, demanding justice on every corner.”
But Uganda Defence Ministry Spokesman Felix Kulayigye told Reuters that “All this hoopla about Kony and his murderous activities is good in a sense that it helps inform those who didn’t know the monster that Kony is. But of course, this is too late.
“It might take long but we’ll catch Kony, dead or alive,” he said. “How many years did it take to end the conflict in Northern Ireland? So our hunt for Kony can take long but it will end one day.”
The U.S. Rewards for Justice Program has a $5-million bounty out for his apprehension. Since its establishment in 1984, the program has awarded more than $100 million to more than 60 people who have provided information that led to the arrests of many of the world’s most wanted criminals.