Kony Personal Accounts

  

Jason Russell

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Jason Russell, filmmaker of KONY 2012.

Jason Russell is a co-founder of Invisible Children, the organization’s Chief Creative Officer and the filmmaker of Invisible Children’s film KONY 2012 . He graduated in 2002 from the University of Southern California’s Film School with a degree in Cinema Production. 

When leading a trip to East and Central Asia, Jason made a promise to a young boy stating that he would help end the war surrounding them. This promise resulted in the creation of the film KONY 2012. He chose 2012 to produce and release the film because  “In the last 9 years of trying to end the war, the puzzle pieces have not been aligned like they are now. When Obama deployed the Advisory troops in October, it was a shock. My psyche was stunned; I never thought that the government could or would actually do it. The fact that they did do it and that advisors are there now, makes the end of this war totally possible but it’s very time-sensitive. Everyone that’s been working on the conflict from Senator Inhofe to Resolve to John Prendergast know that it has to be 2012 because by the time it turns 2013, the advisors would have been there [some might say] too long.” (Enough Project)

In an interview with the Enough Project, a project to end genocide, the writer looks into exactly why Jason Russell made the film and what he hoped would happen. The interview was done in anticipation of the film being released.  The following is a summary of this interview.

What was his inspiration?

It was hardest for him to make this film because it was personal and he couldn’t be objective. It was an issue he had been grappling with and he saw the faces of so many young children in fear. His goal was to make a 20 to 30 minute film that was to educate a large audience with broad facts and examples of actions they can take to stop Kony now.

He states, “what inspired me the most was seeing the purity through the eyes of my 4-year-old son while giving him limited information of Joseph Kony and what he does to children. Hearing Gavin say, “We need to stop him” really reinforced the purpose of the film for me”

Why did he choose Kony?

Why Kony? There are several dictators and rulers in the world that mistreat people, but Jason Russell was adamant about educating others on the issues many children face due to the terror Joseph Kony has caused.

   “The problem with Joseph Kony is that nobody knows who he is. It was actually an idea Michael Poffenberger had while working in DC talking with Congressmen and Senators. He said, “You know Gaddafi is known in North Korea but Joseph Kony is just not known…I wish Joseph Kony was famous.” And out of that came the whole campaign.” –Jason Russell

What was the goal for KONY 2012?

The goal Jason Russell had in mind when making the film, KONY 2012, was not to put an immediate end to Joseph Kony, but to start conversations around the issue of the Lords Resistance Army. While ending his rule would be best, Russell realized that this change will not occur immediately. He felt that starting with one group of people and working to the next would eventually result in the larger goal of capturing Kony.

His goal was to have people “make a commitment to stop at nothing by making sure Kony is known in their circle of influence, whether it’s their family or office or school. The dream would be for Kony to be captured, not killed, and brought to the International Criminal Court to face trial. The world would know about his crimes and they would watch the trial play out on an international level, seeing a man face justice who got away with abducting children, raping little girls, and mutilating people’s faces for 26 years.”

What would Russell say to Kony if given a chance?

         “I would just say thank you for creating such a clear example of what it means to be perverse and diabolical and for forcing us, as a generation and as a world, to deal with future individuals who think they can get away with murder. He is the clearest example of something that we all as humans can agree on is wrong and needs to be stopped.”- Jason Russell 

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Cover the Night

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The Cover the Night campaign was meant to bombard  ”every city, on every block” around the world with posters, stickers and murals of Kony to begin conversations and push the government to find the evil leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army. The leaders hoped this campaign would not only promote international justice, but also allow people to have a voice and spark conversations.

In Los Angeles, the campaign was unsuccessful. People were unsure what happened to the movement behind the KONY 2012 video that went viral.

“What happened to all the fuss about Kony?”

 ”Kony is so last month”

“It’s just been us the entire day”

Elissa O’Dell, 24, an activist in Los Angeles, was brave in the fact that she and two other people went to an auto dealership on Santa Monica Boulevard to paint a mural.

“The point of Cover the Night is for our community of supporters to give something back, pick up trash, paint schools, some direct, local action,” said O’Dell. So, where was everybody? “We didn’t expect people here,” said O’Dell. Supporters were to place posters in coffeeshops, fire and police stations and other locations. “The response has been terrific. Tomorrow people will wake up and see our posters everywhere.”- Elissa O’Dell 

The next morning, activists woke up to barely any towns painted or covered in posters.

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