Md. Professor Weighs In On Viral Video That Sheds Light On Africa Atrocities
BALTIMORE (WJZ)—There are two types of people in America today: those who have seen the “Kony 2012 video” and those who haven’t. Right now it’s the most viral video ever.
As Mary Bubala reports, it’s all in the name of stopping an African warlord.
Filmmaker Jason Russell posted the video “Kony 2012” on YouTube four days ago. It has now been viewed more than 56 million times.
“It’s only purpose is to stop the rebel group LRA and its leader Joseph Kony,” the film says.
African Warlord Joseph Kony is accused of kidnapping up to 30,000 children, mainly in Uganda.
Russell and his charity Invisible Children are on a mission because of a promise he made to a 12-year-old boy in 2003, whose brother was killed by Kony’s army.
So they posted the video on YouTube and handpicked 20 celebrities to spread the word. It worked.
“The strategy is brilliant, and I hope it can be used for other human rights violations that go unnoticed because they aren’t right in front of our nose,” said University of Maryland professor Michael Greenberger.
But some are questioning America’s attention span and whether this viral video is a passing fad. Invisible Children is also being criticized for the money it spends on marketing instead of direct aid to Africa.
“My view is that we shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth,” said Greenberger.
Greenberger says the group has been successful–100 U.S. Special Forces are on the ground right now going after Kony.
That, says Greenberger, along with the video stirring the emotions of millions of young people in America, is going to make a difference.
“Now having civilized world children being so upset about it, this will have a very big impact and justice will be done,” he said.
“The technology that brought our planet together is allowing us to respond to the problems of our friends,” the video says.
The group says it is trying to make Kony famous because people have to know him to know what he’s done. They’re urging supporters to blanket their cities with posters of Kony on April 20.
Some in Uganda are criticizing the video for over simplifying Africa’s longest running conflict.