The Invisible Children group behind the Kony 2012 video has created a second version to answer critics and clear up misconceptions.
Ben Keesey, CEO of Invisible Children, narrates this followup video, called Kony 2012: Part II – Beyond Famous.
“One month later, we are releasing this film to explain the creation of the campaign, the progress that’s already been made, and what we can all do now to support the ongoing efforts to stop the violence of the LRA,” Keesey said.
The followup comes after the original Kony video left a sour taste in many people’s mouths. The first video quickly went viral and galvanized the public, yet it was later criticized for being inaccurate, misstating many of Uganda’s current troubles, and unduly apotheosizing the video’s creators.
Some of the most outstanding critiques came from Joshua Keating, writing in Foreign Policy and Angelo Izama, an award-winning journalist.
Keating pointed out that Kony, the warlord the film aims to depose, was no longer in Uganda. In addition, he called attention to the Invisible Children’s lack of a clear-cut plan.
“There are many reasons uninformed and oversimplified advocacy can cause trouble, and Siena Antsis catalogues some of them here, noting that Invisible Children expertly ‘commodifies white man’s burden on the African continent.’ Buy a bracelet, soothe some guilt,” he wrote.
Izama wrote that the campaign would make the Invisible Children creators famous but did a disservice to Ugandans by focusing attention on a crisis that paled in comparison to real crises that are currently underway in the country:
“If six years ago children in Uganda would have feared the hell of being part of the LRA, a well documented reality already, today the real invisible children are those suffering from “Nodding Disease”. Over 4000 children are victims of this incurable debilitating condition. It’s a neurological disease that has baffled world scientists and attacks mainly children from the most war affected districts of Kitgum, Pader and Gulu.”
Her point was that the information in the original video was outdated and provided undue attention to issues that were not of utmost importance.
The new video focuses not so much on Uganda, but on the LRA itself, stating clearly that the rebel group is no longer in Uganda, but that it threatens security in Sudan, South Sudan, Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The new video says the LRA currently displaces 440,000 people in the region; that the group has abducted 57 people since the release of the last Kony video a month ago; and that Kony is at this moment holding hundreds of women and children captive.
It also focuses more on the interlocking effort among many aid groups in the field, showing some of the ways the donations have been put to use, such as an early warning system and flyers which are dispersed to give impetus to defections among the LRA.
As for Westerners, the Invisible Children group still says we should tell our representatives that we care and participate in the April 20 Cover the Night event.
To view the film, click here.