Kony 2012, a video about the atrocities committed by Ugandan LRA rebel leader Joseph Kony, has taken the internet by storm this week, garnering over 64 million views and counting, despite its 30-minute length. Creator Jason Russell appears on “Today” Friday (March 9) and it’s … interesting. It almost seems to us as if Russell speaks a lot but actually says nothing.
“It’s a human story. We’re all human beings,” says Russell, of his viral video. “We’re humans first. This brings it back to the core issue – we’re living on a planet … and we can connect each other and we can protect each other.”
Interviewer Ann Curry points out that Kony’s crimes have not been ignored by news organizations, but it is Russell’s video that finally brought it to the attention of the younger generations. But she worries it will be a case of “slack-tivism,” where the kids watch the video and click Like on Facebook and that’s it.
“We have had over half a million action kits ordered. They are constantly asking, demanding, ‘What are we doing now?'” says Russell in response. “It’s because in math, you don’t start with calculus … there’s complex issues in the world. Kony’s not. He’s 1+1. We can all agree with that. We can all agree together we’re gonna stop him this year.
And that’s all well and good – but Curry asks how they are going to stop him and Russell starts talking about a phone app called the LRA Crisis Tracker, which again – that’s a tool, not a solution and Russell admits, “We don’t have all the answers. We don’t.”
He adds, “If 200 children were abducted in San Diego … 200 children abducted and forced to kill their parents, it would be all over the news. It’s taken 26 years for this to hit the news,” to which Curry points out that it hasn’t actually taken 26 years to hit the news. Kony has been in the news, but nobody was paying attention until there was a viral video about it.
“We cared, but we didn’t know what to do about it. Now we know what to do about it,” says Russell. But he still doesn’t say what, exactly, that is.
We aren’t saying the video isn’t important – it sheds light on a very serious issue. But it reminds us of “The White House Pro-Am” episode of “The West Wing” where it looks like the First Lady just discovered child slave labor because Jeffrey told her about it on a morning show.
When Russell says “if 200 children were abducted in San Diego,” he sounds just like when Abigail Bartlet says to the President if it were our girls over there in that sweatshop, “you’d send in the Marines.”
Foreign policy and world politics are incredibly complex and Russell seems to have a lot to say without actually presenting any answers. Will this be a case of millions of people watching the video, clicking Like on Facebook and then moving on with their lives?
Also, it’s not as though our current White House administration was ignorant to these crimes before the viral video. Just last October, President Obama sent military personnel and troops to central Africa to try to bring down Kony.
And there are actually numerous atrocities taking place in Africa, with Kony just being one of them. Maybe this viral video will get people to pay more attention to all of those problems … but we are skeptical.
What do you think, Zap2it readers?