Kony 2012 activist group releases new video

 

Footage from Kony 2012: Part II - Beyond Famous

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US activist group Invisible Children has released a sequel to its video highlighting the activities of Ugandan rebel leader Joseph Kony.The first 30-minute film attracted some 100 million views online, but was criticised for simplifying the issue.

The follow-up has been made without input from the group's co-founder, who suffered a mental breakdown following publicity generated by the film.

The film-makers pledged to include more context in the latest video.

The first film profiled Kony and his Lord's Resistance Army, a militia operating in several African countries which has kidnapped thousands of children, forcing girls to become sex slaves and boys to fight as child soldiers.

Some criticised the video for oversimplifying a complex issue. Uganda's Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi said that the video wrongly gave the impression that the country was still at war.

Titled Kony 2012: Beyond Famous, the new release begins with the huge media reaction to the initial release, highlighting the mainstream media coverage the video gained across the US.

Analysis

This film is a huge improvement on the first version. Still very slick, it uses African voices to make the case for ending the threat from Joseph Kony. As the former Ugandan presidential candidate Norbert Mao puts it: "Let those who are the professors write their books and create academic awareness. But this one grabs your gut and shakes you until you are forced to pay attention."

The campaign says it has already chalked up achievements: two resolutions in the US Congress signed by nearly 100 members. Without this kind of pressure political support for the US special forces tracking Kony could easily evaporate. It's claimed that since the first film was shown another 57 people have been abducted by his murderous group - the Lord's Resistance Army.

The need for action is real and immediate, even though the campaign is somewhat vague about whether it wants Kony dead or in custody. But who can argue with the basic message: "The human connection extends around the world?"

But it quickly switches focus to Africa, with more voices from Uganda than were featured in the emotive first release.

That film struck a chord with a younger generation not often engaged with the traditional news agenda.

"This generation has responded to the call to make Joseph Kony famous," the group said, promising to take the "next step" on 20 April.

"Part II gives a closer look at the Lord's Resistance Army, the international efforts to stop them, the progress that has already been made, and what we can all do to help," the group said.

New news

Some US senators claimed to have been alerted to the problem by their children amid the popularity of the first release.

"All three of my kids, in different context and different times have said: 'So what are you doing about Joseph Kony and the LRA?"' Senator Chris Coons told the Associated Press.

Mr Coons is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations African affairs sub-committee. He has travelled to Africa to hear about the issue firsthand.

A recent report from the US Pew Research centre concluded that the first film represented a new way for young people consume news.

Joseph Kony, leader of LRA Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army is no longer active in Uganda

It found that 40% of 18-29 year-olds had heard about the video, compared with 20% of 30-49-year-olds and 18% of 50-64-year-olds.

The younger age group was also far more likely to have viewed the video. The majority had heard about it via social networks such as Twitter.

"The 30-minute video... provided striking evidence that young adults and their elders at times have different news agendas and learn about news in different ways," the report said.

Invisible Children's co-founder Jason Russell is currently in hospital after he was found semi-naked and screaming at traffic in the streets of San Diego.

He made himself the focus of the first film and came in for some heavy criticism from other advocacy groups and aid agencies.

Many criticised the Kony 2012 project for prescribing a "colonialist" approach to the issue of the LRA without empowering Africans to fix their own problems.

 

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  • rate this
    -6

    Comment number 30.

    Invisible Children deserves full credit for shining a light on a true monster. This so-called human being has been running amok for 26 years and he should have been captured or killed long ago. The first video caused several African countries to form a joint armed unit to hunt Kony down. Hopefully, the 2nd video will spur actions that will result in his capture or killing.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 19.

    When I was a lad, Africa was largely a mess. It's still a mess and I suspect it will remain a mess for generations. The Victorians made the mistake of thinking they could sort it out, hence half the current problems. Only the Africans can solve Africa's problems.

 
 

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