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'Kony 2012' seeks to raise awareness of Ugandan war criminal

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- You might not keep track of things happening around the world because you don't think it affects you. It does, though. You live in the world too, so why would something happening in it not affect you?

This week, something happening in the world has made an impact on a lot of people. I'm sure you've seen "Kony 2012," "Stop Kony" or something like that on Facebook or Twitter since Monday. In case you were too busy to look into what that means (or whatever other excuse you've made), here is some information about the situation:

Uganda is a landlocked country in Central Africa and is known as the "Pearl of Africa." As of last year, more than 33 million people were residing there. Until not that long ago, one of those people was Joseph Kony.

Not many people have heard of Kony, but he is the world's worst war criminal. He is the leader of the rebel group Lord's Resistance Army, which is known for its cruel and brutal tactics.

The army uses children, and when Kony decides he needs more people, he breaks into the homes of innocent kids and abducts them while they're sleeping. The girls are forced into being sex slaves, while the boys are forced to become soldiers.

Not only does he force the boys to become soldiers, but he also forces them to rape, mutilate and kill many civilians, including their own parents. If they don't obey, they may lose their lives.

Kony has been committing his crimes for 26 years. It is the longest running armed conflict in Africa. He and the LRA left Uganda in 2006 and now carry out their attacks from regions bordering the country.

Jason Russell, co-founder of the humanitarian group Invisible Children, created the video "Kony 2012" to raise awareness about Kony. In the video, one of Kony's victims, Jacob, describes what it was like to be captured. Jacob tells of how he would rather be dead instead of living on this Earth, and it's all because of Kony.

The video can be seen at www.invisiblechildren.com as well as on YouTube. (Search "Kony 2012," and it is the top result, posted by invisiblechildreninc.) You can also get information about the campaign on Invisible Children's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/invisiblechildren or by following @StopKony--2k12 on Twitter. These things aren't trying to promote Kony for his work. They are simply making him and his crimes more visible. By making the situation known, Invisible Children's goal is "for the world to unite to see Kony arrested and prosecuted for his crimes against humanity."


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