Who is Joseph Kony?

City Caucus is not a site that usually hops onto viral campaigns. We are fascinated, however, by the power of social media to elevate issues, as well as its capacity to equally educate and misinform the public (see Chris Thompson's noble efforts to debunk ignorance around smart meters).

Last year social media took centre stage in Vancouver politics, in the same way it added fuel to the Arab Spring. Now we have another campaign to make a 51-year old African despot "famous" using an internet campaign. Half hour long YouTube don't usually attract millions of hits, but this one below has. It's asking the public to learn more about Joseph Kony, who is enough of a bad guy to be the among the top ten most wanted criminals on the planet.

So will the Kony 2012 campaign work? Well, it's caught the attention of this normally skeptical blogger.

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  • Thought of The Day

    “Every time I think there cannot be a bigger misdirected campaign , there comes along a … KONY!”

    You know what? Ok. Let’s catch KONY. He’s a bad guy alright. So. let’s catch Kony!

    Let me ask you though, Mike, why isn’t there a “Who is Bashar al-Assad 2012 Campaign? or “Who is Benjamin Netanyahu 2012 Campaign?” Last I heard, one is killing his own people, as we speak, the other is planing for the invasion of Iran.

    Now, after seeing this video, I am thinking even more… why didn’t Tides Foundation spend their millions in Africa where it mattered and instead chose to spend it on … us, here? Why… trying hard to derail Canadian business in… Canada and influence Canadian politics?

    “Who is Kony?” Simple. Is another heigh-ho campaign of “goodness”, a very NLP-ish ( Neuro-linguistic Programming) that subliminally divert your attention from the real, bigger problems.
    So where is it going to be the next US fronted, NATO approved, ONU dismissed freedom – liberation war, Mike? No one knows, first we’ll have to deal with … Kony.

    Oh, perhaps this video is the inspiration behind the BCTF and that teacher in Victoria, for using kids as propaganda tools.
    I’m just saying.

    Oh, oh, oh… here’s one that just popped in my mind “Who is AIG; Freddy Mac; Lehman Brothers; Goldman Sachs; Halliburton; Dick Cheney; George W. Bush… Campaign 2012 and beyond!”

    We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

    • Gliss, you make good points. As my little blurb suggests, this is more about another social media campaign and its clever political tactics – lawn signs, Obama-esque graphics, Angelina Jolie, Zuckerman, etc.

      Your exactly right that there are more bastards in the world we should turn our attention to. The Kony campaign turns this despot into a bite-sized morsel we can all think about for about 30 minutes, send some money through PayPal and move on. But as we’ve witnessed with the Occupy movement and other campaigns in recent months it’s becoming easier to drum up a cause du jour using these tools. Successful campaigns can have potentially dramatic outcomes for the social and political order of the USA, Canada and other countries. Admittedly, I’m a Johnny Come Lately on the Kony campaign (4.2 million YouTube hits already), but I’m just fascinated by how these things take off.

      • Mike,

        Beg to differ.
        Call me a skeptic.
        Occupy Vancouver (and all the others around the world) achieved nothing. Exactly zilch.

        Ay Dios Mio! El Diablo!
        Last I heard the bankers bonuses went forward untarnished. People still own money on their credit cards, and the housing did not turn affordable around the world.

        Oh, wait, the City of Vancouver spent millions of dollars they did not have on something they did not need to. Period.
        If that was a successful campaign, we have to redefine the word “successful”, or maybe it was successful for Robertson and Vision who were reelected…

        BTW, never send money through PayPal to campaigns of dubious origins like this one, or the “Joel Solomons” of the charity world might be tempted to give themselves a raise.

        Between me and you, Mike, if you know of a SWAT team that ‘s eager to work for cheap, I could arrange for a Blitzkrieg, and I think we could take down that punk by Sunday.
        The thing is who… do we put in place?
        That’s the question, Mike, that’s the question; Magee is busy whipping FTC butt, Ballem is taken, Geoff is already eying the Viaducts…!

        GR 🙂

  • boohoo

    Love the line of thinking Glissy. There are other bad guys in the world so unless we’re talking about them we are hypocrites for talking about this one.

    And that’s pretty classy tying a dictator to the BCTF–I’m waiting for the claims that the BCTF tortures puppies next.

    • Thought of The Day

      “Wile E. Coyote”


      Do you want to talk about who’s peddling African blood diamonds from Antwerp to New York to Vancouver?…
      (I’d oblige to write about it if there would be an audience interested to read about it, but that would be too damaging for the local bridal and wedding & jewellery industry)

      Have you ever wondered, what and who exactly, stands behind a criminal like Kony? Motives?
      Remember who’s ally was Gaddafi, or who put Saddam in power, or who financed the rebels in Afghanistan and Chechnya?

      As for that BCTF connection you imply, stop spinning buddy, I linked them to the … “video” not the “dictator”. Watch the video, the full 30 min. as I did. Bringing the opinion of a kindergartner in,qualifies for the “special effects” category, the poor kid would have pointed to the Wile E Coyote, as far as I am concerned, as being the bad guy, so phlease…
      No different that what the Victoria teacher did with her 1st graders. Despicable, really.

      Also, I wonder how many of those teacher ladies, are wearing this very product on their boney fingers all while holding “Teachers take a stand” signs, and then during a short break of Internet browsing, give a “like” to this video… on their blackberries.

      Yes, boohoo, in the large family of global pests, this Kony is nothing but a cockroach, that is no different that the animal Robert Pickton, that was bred right here in BC… the best place on Earth, and where, for a decade, no one gave a rat’s arse!
      If you catch my drift.

      And yes boohoo… my line of thinking… “there are other bad guys in the world”.. yes boohoo, and that’s the reason why despots like Kony was allowed to flourish, because Kony was not on their present and near ‘goodness’ Agenda.
      As I said, let’s floor the bloodsucker, however you realize that you can’t do it with wall posters, kids, and hits on a video clip, yeah some shmucks are going to sell a lot of T-shirts, and sell a lot of ‘friendship’ necklaces and bracelets, and grow their Arsebook Followers.

      And yes, we are also a bunch of hypocrites.

      Reminds me of a dark joke:

      “Two well dressed ladies, sporting nice, big, shiny diamond rings are walking hand in hand, in front of Tiffany’s in New York.
      A group of protesters stops them and one girl, pointing down to their rings, says:

      “Are you aware Ladies, that some kids in Africa have their hands, cut off, so you could wear those rocks?”

      To which one of them, fairly shocked asks:
      “Both hands?”

      I hope you get the joke, because if you don’t, there is really nothing I could do.

      We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

  • boohoo

    I’m not saying he is the worst guy out there, I’m not up to speed on how horrible the top dictators are these days. But to argue that because there are others that are worse means caring or acting on this one is hypocritical/stupid/pointless is pretty small minded.

    If you saw a kid getting beat up would you shrug your shoulders and say, ‘meh, there are other kids getting beat up worse’.

  • boohoo,
    Let’s talk “Cause and Effect”
    Kony is the “Effect”, Poverty is the “Cause”.
    The bastards that I named above are the cause for poverty in the third world.
    No one takes them down, what you do with Koby is of no “large picture” importance, like putting a Band Aid on a wooden leg.
    Hey, but it gives you that fuzzy feeling, eh?
    ““Poverty is the worst form of violence.”
    Mahatma Gandhi

    Solve that one first!
    GR 🙂

  • boohoo

    Again GR, you’re weirdly assuming that because I think we should act on this issue means I don’t think we should act on the bigger issues… It’s not one or the other.

  • foo

    Not often I agree with boohoo, but he’s right here. Doesn’t matter how bad Gaddhafi, al-Assad and others are/were, Kony is really evil, and it’s worth trying to do something about him.

    It’s pretty glib to say Kony is an “effect” of poverty. No matter what else goes on in Africa, what he has done is about as low as it gets. There are plenty of places in Africa even more poor, with tyrannical leaders, that haven’t stooped to his level.

    Just because he’s “only” responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands (directly) and ruining the lives of a million or two others doesn’t make what he’s done any less abhorrent.

    Maybe a bit of research on just what an evil character he is might help change your opinion.

  • Thought of The Night

    “When under scrutiny… change the subject… and the target… and the message.”

    Mike, boohoo, Foo…

    Kony is a bad guy.

    What I’ve been saying is, turn your binoculars, the other way around, as they handed them to you with the wrong lenses.
    Who is Kony? LOL.
    They are pointing a finger at a major punk in Africa, to let you think that they care… so you’ll forget to look in your own courtyard!

    I have news for you. And all bad.
    We have sweatshops, yes you read that right, sweatshops,right here in Vancouver!

    Excuse my language… “Human Meat Trafficking” is alive and well in North America, USA and Canada.
    Shiploads arrive to North American ports on a regular basis.
    Where is the 2012 campaign to combat that?

    Hordes of white collar fugitives are given safe heavens statuses in Canada, it takes our legal system years, decades to charge them, prosecute them , or kick them out of the country. And millions of dollars in legal fees.

    Gordon Campbell may not have laid a hand on anybody in his entire life, but his disastrous policies of the past ten years have brought BC on its knees, and shot this Province to the number one spot in CHILD POVERTY in Canada!
    If that’s not a crime worth prosecuting I don’t know what is.
    How many kids coming from low income families, have turned to drugs, prostitution, a life of
    crime and misery because they’ve been left out by respectable men and women in dark suits, and colorful ties?
    They are as guilty as Kony!

    Only you won’t read about them in the papers or watch fancy video-clips, put together by God knows who, with money from God knows where… naah, instead we gave these Gents titles, medals and soft landings.

    If I could take down Kony, I’d do it myself, same way any father would also take down the punks that gang-raped that poor 16 years old girl in Mission last year, an who BTW were ALL let go… by our useless judicial system.

    Serve and Protect… their asses!

    It’s easy to change the subject, move the target, and tinker with the message… if it’s in a far away land of no immediate consequences to the purveyor of the said message, and out of… your control.
    It sounds, oh, so noble! And with only $5 a piece you too could be part of “history in the making”.

    You know what they say… “there is one born, every second”… of course, not here. In Africa!

    We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

  • boohoo

    GR, Again, I don’t know what you’re trying to do here..Yeah, the child poverty issue in BC is disgusting. Ok. How does that diminish this issue? Should we take action to end child poverty in BC? Of course. Does that mean we can’t take action elsewhere? I don’t know what you’re trying to prove other than tell us we’re collectively hypocrites. Are you saying we can’t/shouldn’t take action where we see wrong abroad til we have no issues at home? Or what?

  • foo

    Wow. Talk about inappropriate comparisons. Child poverty in BC compared to the deprivations of of the LRA.

    As I said before, if you learned a bit about Africa, and the LRA, it might paint a different picture. And that doesn’t mean jumping on the viral Youtube video. It means actually digging into what’s happened in Uganda.

    Just because that rape in Mission is horrific, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t care, discuss and try do something about organizations like the LRA. But, since you think differently, maybe you can make a Youtube video shaming the people who were present at the rape in Mission so that justice could be served in that case.

  • Ned

    boohoo and foo,

    LOL guys, I think Glissando is bang on. You’ll see in the end why.
    Also way ahead of your way of thinking and on the recent news, that’s for sure. If you read him for sometime, as I did, you would know he is not making uneducated statements.
    You can’t see the forest for the trees, people!
    You are ready to jump to a manufactured video like this one, full of subliminal messaging (as per Glissy), but when it comes to raising the minimum wage or fighting poverty and human trafficking in BC, not a word of wisdom between you two. Wow!
    I understand it’s easier to deal with something that as per. Glissy:
    “It’s easy to change the subject, move the target, and tinker with the message… if it’s in a far away land of no immediate consequences to the purveyor of the said message, and out of… your control.
    It sounds, oh, so noble! And with only $5 a piece you too could be part of “history in the making”.
    You know what they say… “there is one born, every second”… of course, not here. In Africa!”
    So true!And BTW guys, guys, that video that you became so agitated about, is OUT-OF-DATE big time, Kony no longer lives in Uganda, he’s somewhere in Congo or something like that.

  • boohoo


    Thanks for that valuable contribution. If you understood what I wrote, you’d see I’m not talking about Kony.

    I’ll ask you the same thing I asked GR (and got no response). If you saw a kid getting beat up on the street would you ignore it because other kids are getting beat up worse somewhere else?

  • gman

    Nobody in their right mind wouldn’t denounce these atrocities by this bastard but the truth is there are hundreds of Konys in the world and they could not exist if the oligarchs who own the UN and NATO didnt allow it.All one has to do is look at Katanga back in the sixties to understand what is happening.If this helps to awaken the world to what is really going on then thats a good thing,but I dont believe that was the true intention of the film makers. http://www.youtube.com/user/TruthNeverTold