By Tony V.
Black Men In America.com Guest Columnist
My 14-year old daughter shared an Internet link with me that I am going to share with you at the end of this piece. Before I get to that I have to admit, I had no idea that this blossoming young lady’s social awareness extended beyond the high school boys who are noticing how beautiful she is and second that she could watch a 30 minute video that didn’t include music, teenage humor or bad acting.
This video was different. It was created by Jason Russell, a filmmaker and the leader of the non-profit project Invisible Children. Invisible Children seeks to collect money from around the world in order to support efforts in Central Africa that will increase security and hopefully bring a man named Joseph Kony to justice.
After watching the film, the only justice I thought applied to this Kony character was at the end of a rope. If you have a different opinion I would be glad to hear it. I don’t think you will. Joseph Kony is the leader of the “Lords Resistance Army” or LRA. The LRA is waging a campaign of terror that includes something all too common in Africa, the use of children as soldiers. Boys are conscripted into his army and then brainwashed to believe that Kony is a messenger from God. The sisters of these boys and other young girls are kidnapped and turned into sex slaves or comfort women. In between all the kidnappings, Kony has orchestrated the deaths of 30,000 people who I guess didn’t hear him and his army coming.
30,000 deaths do not put Kony in the same league as Hitler, Stalin or Mao but the viciousness of his acts turned my stomach and made me wonder why I had never heard of this maniac before now.
This is where Jason Russell comes in. He realized that Joseph Kony was surviving because no one had ever heard of him. Since he was a relative unknown, there hadn’t been a lot of pressure to find him. Russell’s solution: tell the world about Joseph Kony. That’s how you get to the 30 minute video.
The video is a call to action; it is about making sure that those who have the capability to go after Kony and to arrest the stampeding LRA as it plows across Central Africa know that we support whatever can be done to end this madness. There are other opinions about what should be done in this situation. As long as the options presented end the Kony reign of terror or present compelling evidence that he is innocent or that he is fighting a war of ethnic survival I will stick with the Kony 2012 project my daughter introduced me to this past weekend.
I’m not asking you to send any money to Invisible Children. I’m not asking you to strap up and hit the turbulent African heartlands to find Kony. I am asking that you help increase his notoriety so that the political leaders around the world step up and take action. I also ask that you take time to understand that Kony is not the only problem in Central Africa.
As Black Men in America we can no longer ignore what is happening beyond our front doors, neighborhood streets, cities, states or nation. We owe it to the rest of the world to be leaders of change. This is not something we have not done before. History has hundreds of examples of how Black Men in America have helped shaped the world for the better. To do that we need to comprehend, understand, know. We need to lead.
There is a second video linked to this article. It is about leadership. It is only six minutes long and I think the presenter, Drew Dudley has it right when he says “Leadership is the everyday act of improving each other’s lives”.
Finally, the words on this tombstone changed my life. Will they change yours?
http://allafrica.com/stories/201203080913.html (An alternate opinion of the film)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tony V. is a native of New York City who currently resides in Florida. He served 25 years in the US Army and is currently employed in a similar capacity as a civilian.