Joseph Kony needs to be brought to justice.
Followers of global politics have known that for a long time. They know about the atrocities committed by Kony and his Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in Uganda. And they're aware that he kidnapped tens of thousands of children, forcing some to become soldiers, and causing others to become his sex slaves.
Unfortunately, there were far too many people who didn't know about Kony, the LRA or their abuse of children. Until Invisible Children released a 27-minute documentary, "Kony 2012," that brought Kony back into the spotlight.
The video went viral and was viewed by millions of people. It was shared on Facebook and Twitter. People who didn't know who Kony was, or who couldn't find Uganda on a map, shared the video with their friends.
While "Kony 2012" doesn't give a viewer the full story of the situation in Uganda, and other nations where the LRA has a presence, it has shown how social media can be used for good. Facebook, Twitter and other on-line social media sites earn a lot of criticisms for content that can often be juvenile, annoying, libelous or disparaging.
But "Kony 2012" showed how social media can be deployed to crush ignorance.
It has also introduced millions of people to the concept of child soldiers – one of the most galling practices that one could imagine.
The use of child soldiers is inconceivable to Canadians. Young men and women join the Canadian Forces by choice. They join because they want to defend their country and its ideals. It's not compulsory. And they aren't brainwashed into joining.
But it's unacceptable, and indefensible, to forcibly remove children from their families or communities, and to brainwash them into fighting a war that they're too young to understand.
And, as documented in retired Lieutenant General Roméo Dallaire's book "They Fight Like Soldiers, They Die Like Children," it creates a tragic dilemma for soldiers who haven't encountered child soldiers. Defend yourself and wound or kill a child. Or allow yourself to become a casualty of war.
(Dallaire's organization, the Child Soldiers Initiative, has done great work to share the plight of child soldiers).
The employment of child soldiers is horrible. Kony's use of children as sex slaves for himself and other members of the LRA is even worse.
Invisible Children has earned criticism for the way in which it has spent its donations. But they deserve credit for keeping people aware of Kony and his regime.
Hopefully, thanks to "Kony 2012," more people will be outraged about the use of child soldiers, and they will do more research to gain a greater understanding of the issue.