While I was off the blog the mastermind behind the L.R.A. Joseph Kony received international attention thanks to a documentary entitled Kony 2012 that received millions of hits on YouTube and scores of media attention.
A key criticism of the Kony video is that the very complex issue of L.R.A. involvement in Uganda has been reduced to focus on one man. I’m of two minds concerning this criticism, 1. Capturing Joseph Kony does not end all violence throughout Uganda and elsewhere. 2. If you’re a filmmaker seeking to enlist the public’s help in a cause, you need to simplify it.
It’s much easier for the public to implore their representative to GO GET JOSEPH KONY! Than DO SOMETHING ABOUT CHILD SOLDIERS IN UGANDA!
It’ll be interesting to see whether the viral video trend catches on as a tool to go after other international terrorist masterminds. Furthermore, what is the impact of Kony 2012 in six months or a year? If it only serves to focus temporary attention on Kony, and then everyone goes back to musing about Al Qaeda in Yemen or John Edwards, than what has been accomplished?
The public attention span is fickle and could easily be preoccupied with the viral video of the moment. Therefore, while Kony 2012 is a unique effort to spread the word about an important cause, I question its’ use as a counter-terrorist tactic.