“Cover the Night” – An Event Aimed at Kony’s Capture Staged in the United States
Thousands of American teenagers on Friday night took to the streets of the United States with T-shirts and posters on which there were messages intended to raise awareness to the fact that Ugandan criminal against humanity Joseph Kony, leader of a paramilitary group called Lord’s Resistance Army, has so far escaped prosecution, although an international arrest warrant had been issued in his name since 2005.
The campaign is sponsored by the Invisible Children group, which posted on the internet a small movie called Kony 2012, which went viral on Youtube, reaching out to as much as 100 million people around the world in only a few days. The peaceful rallies were called “Cover the Night” and were meant to maintain pressure on Ugandan authorities which have launched a hunt for Kony soon after the movie created a world attention to the situation of one of the most detested criminals in Africa.
Though the number of people to attend the event was smaller than anticipated, “Cover the Night” did manage to catch the attention of many people in the large cities of America, as they could see the posters the teenagers were posting and the messages on them, calling for intensifying efforts to capture Joseph Kony, a man who has been avoiding the International Criminal Court in The Hague for almost a decade.
The Cover the Night movement is the first public event of the Invisible Children since the man who made the film that went viral on Youtube, Jason Russell was arrested in San Diego, last month, after erratic behavior, and was diagnosed with reactive psychosis following mixed reactions to his work in the wake of his movie publishing.
The movie called “Kony 2012” is said by Russell’s family to have been the result of the entire adult life activity of Jason to bring Kony to justice, and was counting on no more than a few thousands views on the internet.
When it became clear that it was a success, the movie was appreciated by some and intensely criticized by others, among which the Ugandan government itself, which released a 9-minute movie of its own, in which the country’s prime minister explained the shortcomings of Russell’s work.
In the Ugandan movie the prime minister said that the movie conveyed the false idea that Uganda was a barbaric country, which was not true, since a lot had change over the past few decades and the East African country became a modern state.
Another thing the PM criticized was the fact that it was not made clear in the movie that Kony was no longer on Ugandan territory and that the failure to capture him was not a failure of the Ugandan government, since the criminal escapes in the jungles of the neighboring Central African Republic or Democratic Republic of Congo, where he had conducted his business over the last decades.
A third thing the government felt the need to settle was the fact that it was not said that the Lord’s Resistance Army was no longer operational at large scale in Uganda. The last estimates scale the army down to no more than 200-700 people scattered throughout the local jungles, operating in small groups.
Recently a screening was organized in Uganda, for the children whose parents have been killed in the confrontations with the LRA to see “Kony 2012”. Voice of America News reports that the screening did not go well, because the people of Uganda were expecting to see how Kony took hundreds of children and killed them, and other atrocities he had committed, but in return they were in a position to see a white man talking throughout the movie.
VOA reports that the screening ended in a riot, forcing the riot police to intervene, as viewers began to shout and to smash things. The screening was staged in the town of Gulu, former escape place for children which were escaping the recruitment of the LRA, where an orphanage still exists, housing children who lost their family.
VOA says that for these people the war is still going on, since Kony was never apprehended and many families have members whose whereabouts are still unknown.
The good thing that came out of Russell’s movie is that the African Union announced on March 24, the same week the movie attracted about 88 million views on the Youtube, that it had launched in South Sudan a 5,000 troops unit with the purpose of capturing Kony and deliver him to justice.
An African Union envoy said on that occasion that the “Kony 2012” movie has been very useful and important in making the decision to step up with the efforts to apprehend him. The unit has a Ugandan commander and soldiers from Uganda, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan, the countries where Kony’s army operates.
The army faces the difficulty of covering a huge territory and difficult conditions of the jungle. They were offered equipment and assistance from the United States Army in hopes that it would make their work easier.
Lord’s Resistance Army was founded by Joseph Kony in the 1980s and is said to have committed many crimes, among which the abducting of 66,000 children who were turned to soldiers or sexual slaves.
The organization is said to be rooted in the Acholi national traditions and the biblical Ten Commandments and intended to create a theocracy based on these values. The outcome is terrifying and brought Kony an international condemnation.
Among the crimes, the international community retains the most brutal, such as the one committed in November 2002, when sixty people in South Sudan were forces to boil and eat the flash of a deceased person they were mourning. After the people complied and performed this gruesome act of cannibalism, they were executed by LRA troops.
In 2008, 48 people were killed on Christmas in a church, although Kony fancied himself as some sort of envoy of the Holy Spirit, or even the Holy Spirit embodied. The same year it kidnapped 120 people attending a Catholic concert. In DR of Congo they raided villages and killed 130 people.
All these atrocities compelled the American president Barack Obama to sign, in 2010, a law referring to the disarmament of the Lord’s Resistance Army. Obama also sent 100 U.S. advisors to help capture the fugitive. Uganda made a failed attempt to capture him in 2009.11