Since its release last Monday, the Kony 2012 film and campaign — created by the non-profit organization Invisible Children — has become a viral sensation, accumulating more than 70 million views on YouTube and sparking an explosion of coverage on Facebook and Twitter.

The film — which demands the arrest of Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army in Central Africa who has been accused of abducting thousands of children and forcing them into roles as soldiers, wives and sex slaves — has invoked mixed feelings among viewers around the nation, including students and faculty at the University.

Invisible Children originated in 2005, and according to its website, the group utilizes “film, creativity and social action to end the use of child soldiers in Joseph Kony’s rebel war and restore (Lord’s Resistance Army-affected) communities in Uganda and other Central African nations to peace and prosperity.” The campaign identifies Kony as “the world’s worst war criminal.”

The rapid spread of Invisible Children’s online message allowed viewers of the 30-minute film to simultaneously post, share and tweet about Kony 2012, initiating heated debate among supporters and critics, while providing an open forum for discussion.

Despite the campaign’s virality, it’s received criticism for the lack of information provided in the film, the organization’s use of donations and the timeliness of the campaign.

Omolade Adunbi, assistant professor in the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies, said he appreciates the efforts made by Invisible Children, but does not agree with their presentation of the crisis in Africa.

“It’s a good thing that (Invisible Children) is bringing attention to what is going on in Uganda, but the way it has been presented (makes it seem) as if it is something new, but it has been around for 26 years,” Adunbi said. “Many efforts have (already) been made to bring attention to the crisis, so they are not the first set of people to bring attention to this case.”

He added that the complexities of the conflicts in Uganda and the surrounding African nations make it difficult to assume that capturing Kony and bringing him to justice will resolve them.

“Taking out Kony is not going to solve the problem … They need to be able to find a lasting solution to the varying problems confronting the region,” Adunbi said. “This will mean bringing everyone to the table to discuss this problem, not only the Ugandan state, but also the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and Sudan.”

In a statement responding to critiques of Kony 2012, Invisible Children acknowledged that the length of the film affects the depth of information and complexity provided, adding that other information about the campaign is available.

“Invisible Children has sought to explain the conflict in an easily understandable format, focusing on the core attributes of LRA leadership that infringe upon the most basic of human rights,” the statement reads. “In a 30-minute film, however, many nuances of the 26-year conflict are admittedly lost or overlooked.”

Business freshman Ram Choi said he interprets the Kony 2012 campaign as a way to look beyond just the just Kony, and work toward implementing methods to quell violence and establish sustainable harmony throughout Africa.

“(Invisible Children) is not just out there to ‘crumble Kony,’” Choi said. “Kony is simply a broader theme of their true focus in helping the Central African communities gain peace; a quite ambitious goal, but definitely worth the struggle.”

Choi acknowledged that the organization’s video relies heavily on emotional persuasion to catch the viewer’s attention, but said ultimately it’s impactful in conveying the dire situation afflicting thousands of citizens.

“(The video is a) complete appeal to your emotions, rather than your mind, but that’s what truly gets to us in the end — the gut feeling of what’s right and what’s wrong,” Choi said. “They’ve finally incited debates among the general population, including the youth, about their cause.”

Business freshman Alim Leung said she originally supported the Kony 2012 campaign after watching the video, but after further research, changed her opinion about the organization and its efforts.

“Initially I was 100 percent for (Kony 2012),” Leung said. “(After) actually taking a step back and thinking about it for a minute and also researching it … I can’t bring myself to support Invisible Children.”

She said she believes the United States should support assistance to these struggling countries, including potentially taking more drastic interference.

“What we should do now is support the activists out there who have already been working really, really hard,” Leung said. “Maybe U.S. intervention might be needed, but at the same time, we don’t want to go to that as a last resort because it might do more harm than good.”

She added that she thinks the campaign’s approach is too simplistic and inaccurately suggests that arresting Kony will terminate the conflict. However, she said she likes that the campaign provides viewers with ways to become active in their community.

“I’m really happy that a lot of people are for (Kony 2012) and getting active about doing something in their community and globally,” she said. “I just hope that people take a lesson from this and actually do the research and take this energy and drive and push it towards something that could really make a difference.”

Engineering junior Arjun Mahajan said he supports Invisible Children and Kony 2012 because of the group’s determination to create global awareness about conflicts in Africa.

“I know that there is a lot of criticism (toward Invisible Children), but I think one of the most important things that they promote is awareness … That is their number one goal,” Mahajan said. “Change isn’t going to happen solely because of one person or a group of people. I think that they are trying to gather as many people to get government officials involved. I think that’s worthwhile.”

Invisible Children will host a nationwide Cover the Night event on April 20, in which Kony 2012 participants will further publicize the campaign by hanging posters and distributing campaign materials in support of the Kony 2012 movement. Mahajan said he plans to take part.

“(My hall and I) have been talking about this for the past week, and we’ve decided that we’re going to support this as a whole,” Mahajan said.

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