SOPA, PIPA, and Now KONY: What You Need to Know : Under30CEO SOPA, PIPA, and Now KONY: What You Need to Know : Under30CEO
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SOPA, PIPA, and Now KONY: What You Need to Know

| March 13, 2012 | 9 Comments

“Nothing is more powerful than an idea who’s time has come”

When it comes to the world’s most influential young entrepreneurs, for clarity, our list is measured by metrics like net worth, valuation of companies, and capital raised.  When it comes to true influence, what some of the entrepreneurs on our list have done is simply immeasurable.  Innovators like Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and David Gorodyansky of Anchorfree have allowed the world to not only communicate more effectively via social media, but their technologies can literally be attributed to making political revolutions like the Arab Spring possible.  If you think young people can change the world, then you are right, and the time is now.

Just this winter, the web community rallied around something we cared about with SOPA and PIPA, making sure the bill that could crush internet startups would get tabled.  Now, a new social media campaign has hit mainstream, launched by an organization called Invisible Children.  The enemy: warlord Joseph Kony. The video launch was one of the fastest growing viral videos of all time, with over 75 million views in the first few days of it’s launch.

It is one of our founding beliefs at Under30CEO that the world’s young people should wake up every single day and do something they are passionate about.  See how you can use your tools as entrepreneurs to make impact on this issue today…

What You Need to Know

  • Who is Joseph Kony?  Joseph Kony is the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and is one of the International Criminal Court’s most wanted men for his crimes against humanity, including abducting over 30,000 children to fight for the LRA and trying to overthrow the Ugandan government.
  • What has the 26 year long fight been about?  Uganda is rich in natural resources including crude oil, natural gas, copper, and cobalt (not diamonds).  Control over these assets and government rule, means great wealth and power in a country who’s people live off less than $300 per year.
  • Obama has sent troops to Central Africa to aid and support the Ugandan military in Kony’s capture as part of the Lord’s Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act.  No American troops are actually engaged in combat.
  • The video (below) focuses on educating the world about Kony, and calling both celebrity and government attention to the issue.  The narrator says that if the US government stops hearing from the American people on this issue, US aid could end at any time.
  • What critics say: Invisible Children and other NGO’s are often accused of being focused on themselves more than the issues at hand.  These critics say relief for the war decimated area is more important than Kony’s capture, as the LRA has moved into Congo, Sudan, and the Central African Republic.  They also point to the lack of attention being drawn to a disease with no cure, Nodding Syndrome and say it is an even bigger potential killer of children in the region than Kony himself.
  • Call to action: Join others in your community on April 20th to Cover the Night and canvas your town with Joseph Kony awareness posters.

Matt Wilson is Co-founder of Under30CEO and is looking to help every entrepreneur on the planet and will lead a new Under30CEO series on social entrepreneurship.

About the Author: Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is co-founder of Under30CEO. Wilson’s passion for entrepreneurship began after leading Bryant University to becoming the world’s #1 entrepreneurs’ organization. After seven months abroad, Matt's official title became Adventurer in Residence, heading up Under30Media's travel company Under30Experiences. If Matt is around he will be easy to spot as his long luxurious hair is generally flowing freely in the breeze.

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  • http://twitter.com/ColorTheGlobe .com Seeks Investors

    ok!

  • Tgitau35

    Hey, Matt, this is all good and well-intentioned, but a lot has happened since this video was originally posted. With your massive influence and scope I’m quite surprised you haven’t updated yourself on the invisible children properly. Here are a few thoughts and links that people shared over the past week.

    http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/09/african-critics-of-kony-campaign-hear-echoes-of-the-white-mans-burden/

    http://pomee.tumblr.com/post/18899601760/kony-2012-causing-more-harm-than-good

  • http://twitter.com/shaanrafiq Shaan Rafiq

    Your support of Kony2012 has made me decide to unsubscribe from your rss feed and to discontinue visiting your site. This is supposed to be a site for business advice and stories for under 30′s not a site for pushing political agendas which encourage foreign intervention. You guys suck.

  • http://under30ceo.com MattWilsontv

    Hi Shaanrafiq, not trying to push any political agendas here, just calling attention to a terrible thing that is happening in the world and how young people who are inspired by it can affect change.  Sorry to see you go, but hopefully one day you will feel strongly enough about something to take action.

    Thanks for reading.

  • http://under30ceo.com MattWilsontv

    Thanks for sharing these links.  I was fully aware of the dissenting opinions before I posted this.  Our job at Under30CEO is simply to raise awareness about issues and let the world’s smartest young people take action if they feel inspired to do so.  

    Please see Invisible Children’s response
    http://www.invisiblechildren.com.s3-website-us-east-1.amazonaws.com/critiques.html

  • Stacy

    “Sorry to see you go, but hopefully one day you will feel strongly enough about something to take action.” 

    Wow.  That is a pretty bold statement.  Especially, since the action you are proposing is actually wildly contested by the international development community.  Did you know that the last time the US intervened in 2009 resulted in a lot of bloodshed?  There is a reason why Kony has not been captured all of these years and it is because he is deep in the African bush and there are a couple hundred child soldiers with him.  This issue is incredibly complex.  No amount of bright colored rubber bracelets is going to fix that.  It has nothing to do with how “famous” he is.  People in international development have been working on this issue for years – long before Invisible Children came onto the scene – and they continue to do so.  He is “famous” in the areas where he needs to be – the DRC, CAR, Uganda, and Sudan.  Not to mention among diplomats and international development / humanitarian workers at major NGOs, the UN, the ICC, etc.  

    Your list of critiques does not really address the biggest issues with the film:  

    “Invisible Children and other NGO’s are often accused of being focused on themselves more than the issues at hand.”  ** The bigger issue is with the White Man’s Burden feel that the film gives off. The narrative in the film sets international development back a few decades. **

    “These critics say relief for the war decimated area is more important than Kony’s capture, as the LRA has moved into Congo, Sudan, and the Central African Republic.”  ** Most of what I have read does not disagree with the fact that Kony needs to be captured and brought to justice.  They disagree with the way that IC suggests doing that.  They make it seem like a simple solution + that military intervention w. the help of the US is all they need.  This is not the case at all. ** 

    “They also point to the lack of attention being drawn to a disease with no cure, Nodding Syndrome and say it is an even bigger potential killer of children in the region than Kony himself.” ** This is a big issue that no one is talking about.  But I don’t think many are saying that you should focus on one vs. the other.  Just that this issue has been left out of the conversation completely and it shouldn’t be.  **

    I majored in international development.  A lot of my friends have gone on to have careers in the field and work specifically in Africa.  I am still involved in the sector + read as much as I can on the latest international development issues.  I do not know anyone in the sector who doesn’t take at least some issue with this film.  The oversimplification of the conflict, though most likely necessary for the virality of the film, was extreme.  Some think the ultimate awareness it generated was worth it.  But everyone has at least some issues with the film itself and the call to action.  

    It is such a complex field and there have been so many mistakes that have been made in the past.  A handful of decades ago most international development efforts did more harm than good.  It’s taken a long time to fix the mistakes of the past.  The sector as a whole is hyper sensitive about making sure that this time around we get it right.  And in some ways that video was a step backwards.  And that’s frustrating to a lot of people. 

    None of the founders of IC have an international development background.  For the most part, they have a business background.  And this is one of the dangers that comes with that.  

  • http://under30ceo.com MattWilsontv

    Hey Stacy, glad to see you’ve done your reading on the subject.  Like I’ve said in some of the other comments–it’s our job to raise awareness about the topics, and although entirely over simplified, people like yourself who care deeply about the issue can continue on to do their research and move forward with whatever action you see appropriate.

    Thanks for reading / sharing your thoughts.

  • Stacy

    Hi Matt,  thanks for responding.  I may be wrong, but I think you edited the post since the first time I read it early yesterday morning.  I believe in the first Call to Action section it said something like above all else share this video.  And that’s what I am saying – you are raising awareness by sharing a video that is full of misleading information.  That type of awareness isn’t helpful.  It really doesn’t help the cause on the ground.  Most people won’t bother googling anything else or following international development blogs written by leaders in the field.  They will just share the video.  The people who care deeply about this issue are the ones who have been trying to fight this.  But the reality is 100+ million people have already seen it and are under the impression that they should fight for the US to interven militarily.  And that Americans should just sweep in and save the African children.  (that sentence is purposefully oversimplified).  It’s an election year.  That kind of slacktivism is dangerous.  

    I think this post would have been more helpful if you had provided links + more information to the counter side besides just Nodding Syndrome.  Because there is a lot of content out there that is much much better on this subject.  That is much more informed.  That is more about having a real impact and less about storytelling. 

  • http://EntreRev.com/ EntreRev.com

    KONY 2012 is a dubious organization to say the least. Eye opening read if you haven’t seen it yet: http://visiblechildren.tumblr.com/post/18890947431/we-got-trouble

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