The KONY 2012: Beyond Famous video provides a comprehensive, clear explanation of what’s been happening in Central Africa, Invisible Children’s stance on what should be done, what Invisible Children has been doing so far, and what Invisible Children wants its supporters to do to affect change in the conflict.
Invisible Children’s follow-up video clearly explained the current ground situation in Central Africa for the viewers interested in the progress of the LRA and the ongoing conflict in Uganda. Both the videos served distinctively different purposes.
The first video, which went viral with over a 100 million views, was intended to provide a brief overview of the conflict, IC, and what individuals can do to get involved.
It was never supposed to be interpreted as an in-depth assessment of the situation in Central Africa – that would not engage or attract the masses. Essentially, the idea behind the first video was to serve as a “hook” or “sparkplug” to draw people in who truly cared about the conflict, wanted to learn more and take action. It became clear after the criticism about the first video and the organization that Invisible Children needed to do something else to fully address the information that it did not cover in the first video.
So maybe that was Invisible Children’s mistake: expecting that interested individuals, supporters or critics, would realize that it was their responsibility to seek out more information about the crisis from the IC website and other sources, and try to actually learn more about IC and its mission instead of being spoon-fed. That’s more a reflection of our society than of the organization. In an age where knowledge is available at our fingertips, why is perusing the world wide web for more information or alternative solutions so difficult?
Though many individuals did seek out more information, critics placed the burden of finding that information on the organization – which I find unfair. As enlightened citizens, we should take responsibility for our education and understanding and not place that burden elsewhere. In this situation, IC’s goal in the video is to simply to highlight the problems and propose solutions.
Created as a response to the interest, support, and backlash the organization has received since the original video’s release, the second video provided the full, detailed view that people were looking for in the first Kony video. More time was spent describing the on-ground situation in Central Africa, which is what the people demanded. Moreover, throughout the video, IC explained, in depth, what it already does on the ground in Central Africa. The early warning radio towers, yellow ID tags placed in forests, and communication between cities are not new ideas – they’ve been concepts that they’ve been implementing for a while now. Last semester’s campaign, The Frontline Tour, raised money for the Early Warning Radio Towers – part one of the three-part “Tri” plan. Next, IC also addresses the complaints and questions about the organization itself in a short clip featuring Ben Keesey, CEO. Overall, IC clarified many of the concepts toughed upon in the first video in this new video, taking into account the criticisms it received.
Additionally, IC’s positions on how to capture Kony, further explicated in the second video, are not novel or unexpected. Capturing a war criminal is not something that can necessarily happen without force and intervention of sorts. War criminals are notorious and elusive for a reason. Whenever the international community felt the need to get rid of a dictator or individual in power, those transitions were now always smooth and required immense pressure, among other actions. Pressuring the international involvement to advocate bringing Kony to justice is the only feasible option at this point, especially since peace talks have continually failed and Kony isn’t showing signs of stopping. Once the international community can coalesce around an issue, change can really happen.
Lastly, IC’s efforts are working. Given not only the incredible response of citizens but also the response of elected officials, the international community, and the African Union has been astonishing and welcomed. The publicity IC has received in the past month has brought the organization international fame and propelled IC’s movement to unprecedented levels.
Overall – Beyond Famous was less focused on drawing people in and more about providing the information that people wanted. The people got what they asked for – which is exactly how Invisible Children advocates bringing about constructive change. People need to speak up, act on their convictions, and essentially, stop at nothing.