Despite adverse publicity surrounding the creator of a viral Internet video exposing African warlord Joseph Kony, local supporters of the effort to bring Kony to justice are continuing with their own plans.
Nathan Warfel, a Howard Community College student, has and invited other students to help him hang posters locally on April 20 to continue drawing attention to Kony, who is accused by some of abducting thousands of children in Uganda to serve in his military cause.
Warfel's efforts are part of a larger campiagn called “Blanket the Night” to hang posters across America, and the call to continue drawing notoriety to Kony was at the end of the now-famous video, Kony 2012.
The effort to bring Kony to justice may have been damaged when the film's creator, Jason Russell, was caught on camera naked apparently suffering from emotional distress on a San Diego sidewalk in March. That not only affected Russell's credibility but may have hurt the efforts of Invisible Children, a group whose goal is Kony's capture.
Russell's wife said his breakdown was a result of exhaustion and dehydration. Even before that, some had criticized Russell and his immensely popular Kony 2012 video for oversimplifying a complex problem and focusing on a warlord who is no longer influential.
Despite the criticism the video has received, Warfel said he and a group of similarly-minded activists will meet at the Columbia Lakefront at 9 p.m. on Friday to hang posters around the city.
Jeffrey Gettleman, who won the 2012 Pulitizer Prize for International Reporting, wrote about the only way to bring vicious African warlords to justice in Foreign Policy in 2010:
Even if you could coax these men out of their jungle lairs and get them to the negotiating table, there is very little to offer them. They don't want ministries or tracts of land to govern. Their armies are often traumatized children, with experience and skills (if you can call them that) totally unsuited for civilian life. All they want is cash, guns, and a license to rampage. And they've already got all three. How do you negotiate with that?
The short answer is you don't. The only way to stop today's rebels for real is to capture or kill their leaders. Many are uniquely devious characters whose organizations would likely disappear as soon as they do.
Let us know if you see any of the posters around the city tomorrow.