Thursday, March 22, 2012

POLITICO: Joseph Kony captures Congress’ attention - Scott Wong

Joseph Kony captures Congress’ attention

This July 31, 2006 file photo shows Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord's Resistance Army, during a meeting with a delegation of 160 officials and lawmakers from northern Uganda and representatives of non-governmental organizations in Congo near the Sudan border. | AP Photo
More than a third of the Senate introduced a resolution condemning Joseph Kony. | AP Photo

Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), another target, took to the floor Wednesday to speak about Kony, whom she derided as a “mass murderer” and “evil man.”

“The passion that my constituents and others all around the world have shown on this issue through social media outlets has made a tremendous difference in raising awareness about this issue,” she wrote in an email to POLITICO. “Getting involved can and does make a difference.”

The new Senate resolution, spearheaded by Inhofe and Coons, had been set for an April roll out. But the buzz surrounding Kony 2012 accelerated it by several weeks and had attracted support from at least 37 Senate colleagues by Thursday morning.

The non-binding resolution calls for the U.S. to back efforts by Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and other neighboring nations to hunt down Kony’s guerilla army, and for continued support for the existing U.S. military presence there. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will consider the resolution as early as next week.

Coons, the Democratic chairman of that panel’s subcommittee on African Affairs, learned about Kony years ago. But he was surprised one recent weekend when all three of his children lobbied him about the indicted war criminal. They had either come across the video on Facebook or seen Kony 2012 posters hanging in a local school.

“It’s terrific to hear my kids interested in and concerned about humanitarian issues that affect children half a world away,” he told POLITICO. 

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