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Kony 2012

Friday, 9 March, 2012 - 2:00 pm

Spreading like wildfire, a YouTube video about Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony, has been viewed by over 50 million people this week. Produced by a group called Invisible Children, it exposes one of the most wanted men in the world. Kony, the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army, is sought by the International Criminal Court for the numerous atrocities including murder, sexual slavery and mutilation. But most glaring is the abduction of thousands of children. Over the last two-and-a-half decades, the LRA has abducted upwards of 25,000 children and forced them to serve as its soldiers.

The mission of the video? A call to action to find and arrest Joseph Kony, who has fled Uganda and is likely in the Sudan area.

The group that put together this campaign deserves an A+ for the social media splash they have made and – more importantly – the progress in confronting this issue.

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In this week’s Torah portion of Ki Tisa we read about the tragic sin of the Golden Calf. When Moshe realizes what his people have done, he shatters the sacred Tablets that he was about to deliver to them.

However, immediately after scolding the Jewish people and denying them the original edition of the Ten Commandments, he turns his attention to G-d. Moshe’s demand is urgent and unequivocal: forgive the Jews completely and promise that they will forever remain Your nation.

Why is Moshe – on the one hand – coming down harsh on the Jews, and – on the other hand – pressing for their instant clemency? Does he want to hold them accountable or not?

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According to the Midrash Moshe reasoned that the Jewish people were a newborn nation. They needed to be taught a critical lesson, but they also had a bright future. Moshe recognized that children are the most vulnerable in society, yet display the most promise. The fact that they erred so egregiously and so quickly demonstrates the deep potential they possess.

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The greater question about Joseph Kony is not whether he will be apprehended and held accountable. That might be a victory for justice. But it may do little for his victims.

The ultimate question is, “How are we protecting and assisting the thousands of children abused and harmed by Kony and his ilk?” If we are concerned about the atrocities, let’s not overshadow the real issue with a ‘bad guy’ game. It’s time to focus the resources and energy to make these children truly visible.

And let’s ensure that the children around us are nurtured in an environment that protects their physical and spiritual innocence and makes them shine.

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