Huge ‘Stop Kony’ Film campaign takes over the web, what are your thoughts?

Posted March 8, 2012 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in Featured ~ 4,705 views


By Staff ~ Rarely does a 27-minute documentary on an alleged Ugandan war criminal became a “viral hit.” The average YouTube attention span typically lasts only long enough to see the cat finally swat away the balloon.

Well, that changed when Jason Russel’s film took over the Internet Wednesday. With over seven million YouTube views since it was posted only two days earlier, the movement has made fugitive child army leader Joseph Kony world famous.

The video accounted for four out of the top 10 Twitter trends on Wednesday, replacing the usual cast of actors, politicians and athletes. It was originally posted on Vimeo two weeks ago, quickly reaching 3.5 million views. Facebook has been taken over by the storm too; the “Stop Kony” page has roughly 40,000 fans.

Images of mutilated children and weapons are a harsh contrast to the filmmaker’s world back in the U.S. His young son, Gavin, is frequently shown in small anecdotal moments as his father explains who the “bad guy” is.

“What inspired me the most was seeing the purity through the eyes of my 4-year-old son…” Jason tells “Hearing Gavin say ‘We need to stop him’ really reinforced the purpose of this film for me.”

So what is the purpose of the film? To catch the “bad guy.”

Kony is on the run and has avoided capture for decades. He also is largely unknown around the world. How many of us knew his name before today? Russel says his plan is to make Kony famous — as well known as an A-list celebrity or star athlete — so that he can no longer continue his atrocities in relative anonymity.

The film also explains part of their tactic to accomplish this is to target the support of a diverse group of 20 public figures such as Rihanna, Warren Buffet, Tim Tebow and Rush Limbaugh.

It seems to be working. All day, celebrities have been tweeting about the film, many with the hashtag #StopKony.

From Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs: “Dear Joseph Kony, I’m Gonna help Make you FAMOUS!!!! We will stop YOU #StopKONY ! All 6,OOO,OOO of my followers RT NOW!!! Pls!”

Piers Morgan: OK, I just watched this, as many urged me to do: – astonishing, powerful & important. Now YOU watch it. #stopkony

And yes, even Kim Kardashian: :#Kony2012 Wow just watched! What a powerful video! Stop Kony!!! RT @KendallJenner: please WATCH THIS…

But with fame comes criticism. Blogs such as Visible Children are skeptical of the organization’s method of raising awareness. They’ve questioned the severity of the situation in Uganda and criticize the Kony 2012 movement: “Is awareness good? Yes. But these problems are highly complex, not one-dimensional and, frankly, aren’t of the nature that can be solved by postering, film-making and changing your Facebook profile picture, as hard as that is to swallow.”

“They’re looking for a story,” writes another blogger who’s been tracking Kony’s actions for years. “So they made a MTV-esque DVD about what was happening there. Do not be fooled by slick video editing.”

Kony has been fighting against the Ugandan government since 1986. According to a 2009 U.S. congressional bill, the LRA is responsible for abducting an estimated 66,000 children while displacing another 2,000,000 people. The rebel group has been accused of raiding villages in various East African countries, killing hundreds at a time. It’s also been accused of forcing young girls into sex slavery and boys to join their militia.

In October 2011, President Obama sent 100 U.S. troops to support the hunt for Kony in central Africa. The LRA has reportedly been weakened, however Kony remains at large.

Although his social media campaign is remarkably successful, Jason is just getting started. As highlighted in the film, he is calling for worldwide action the night of April 20. He hopes to paint the town red — literally, with bright “Kony 2012” posters, stickers and banners of Kony propaganda.

Had you heard of Joseph Kony before today? Why do you think the Kony 2012 campaign has been such an online success?

Which is exactly what the filmmakers set out to do.

“Kony 2012” sheds light on the decades-long nightmare of brutality and unspeakable abuse reportedly forced upon Ugandan children by Kony. He is the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army and allegedly responsible for the abduction, murder and rape of thousands, including children whom his army steals away from their homes to join his ranks. Aiming to raise awareness on this issue, the filmmaker introduces us to a former child soldier who was kidnapped by the LRA.

“It is better when you kill us and if possible, you can kill us, you kill us,” Jacob says in the film. “For us, we don’t want now to stay … no one is taking care of us.” He then describes how he watched as Kony’s men killed his own brother. Jacob soon breaks down in tears explaining how he looks forward to meeting his brother again one day in heaven.

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Ugandan Diaspora News Team

Ugandan Diaspora News Online is an independent, non political news portal primarily aimed at serving Ugandans who work and reside outside Uganda. Our aim is to be a one stop shop for everything Ugandan and the celebration of our Ugandan heritage.



    has anyone noticed it’s more lucrative to keep a war going (i.e. – on drugs, in Iraq, against Joseph Kony) than actually address the underlying issues. If the issues were rectified many big businesses would be SOL. Imagine how many brothers would not be locked up. Imagine the United States wouldn’t have expanded it’s imperialistic arm into the Middle East (for oil). And Kony would have been found by now. Let’s get real, Uganda is the size of Texas, no one can catch him? M7 won’t receive funds to misappropriate if the country is at peace. War benefits those in power. Paying $200+ for a ‘kit’ to stop Kony is benefiting a group of muzungus some where. Again why can’t Ugandans get their own criminals? Too many thoughts, not enough time!



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