Entries in Kony 2012 (5)


‘Kony 2012′ Sequel Released

Sam Farmar/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A month after the California-based advocacy group Invisible Children released the Kony 2012 video that became an instant internet sensation, Kony 2012 Part II: Beyond Famous has been released.

The new video is a 20 minute response to both the incredible level of interest in the social media campaign and the deluge of criticism that followed.


Absent from the Kony 2012 sequel is the man who has been called the “genius” behind the original film.  Co-founder and filmmaker Jason Russell directed and narrated the wildly popular video.  He was hospitalized for a psychological meltdown a couple of weeks after his film became an internet sensation, walking the streets of San Diego naked, yelling, and slapping his hands on the pavement.  Invisible Children said he is still recovering, and it will be several months before he is able to return to work with the organization.

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While the new video doesn’t carry quite the same emotional punch as the first film, it does a better job explaining the current conflict created by African warlord Joseph Kony and how it believes the millions of people who watched the video can have an impact.

“We have hardly been able to keep up,” said Invisible Children CEO Ben Keesey in the new video showing staff trying to answer the thousands of phone calls that came into the group’s San Diego headquarters immediately after the first Kony film was launched.

The sequel shows snippets of the immense media response to the internet film’s success, including some of the main criticism from commentators who said it oversimplified the conflict and called supporters “white Westerners getting on the bandwagon” without an understanding of the issue.

“The world should know that this conflict is complex. If it wasn’t, it wouldn’t have gone on for 26 years,” acknowledged Invisible Children Uganda Country Director Jolly Okat.

Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army are notorious for raiding villages, mutilating victims, and kidnapping children who are forced to become soldiers and sex slaves.  Kony 2012 Part II makes clear that Kony’s army left northern Uganda in 2006, and the country is peaceful again.  That appears to be a response to criticism of the film from government officials in Uganda who fear the country will lose out on tourism dollars if people aren’t aware the war there is over.

The sequel uses graphics to show where Kony’s forces are still terrorizing citizens in three neighboring central African countries.  It explains the work Invisible Children is doing beyond raising awareness, and it stresses that work is in support of initiatives called for and carried out by Africans who live in the affected areas.

The film also celebrates recent resolutions introduced in Congress calling for increased U.S. funding of efforts by African regional armies to capture Kony, and it calls on supporters to keep up the pressure on policymakers by taking action on April 20.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


'Kony 2012' Activist Filmmaker Arrested

Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire(SAN DIEGO) -- Invisible Children co-founder and director of the Kony 2012 viral video Jason Russell was arrested in San Diego Thursday night for intoxication, masturbating in public and vandalizing cars, according to reports.

Russell was allegedly dancing around an intersection wearing “speedo-like underwear.” He then removed the underwear and made sexual gestures, sources told TMZ.

Ben Keesey, CEO of Invisible Children, said Russell had been dealing with health problems and was hospitalized on Thursday.

“Jason Russell was unfortunately hospitalized yesterday suffering from exhaustion, dehydration, and malnutrition. He is now receiving medical care and is focused on getting better,” Keesey said in a statement. “The past two weeks have taken a severe emotional toll on all of us, Jason especially, and that toll manifested itself in an unfortunate incident yesterday. ”

In the past two weeks, a 30-minute video produced and voiced by Russell has gone viral. Supporters, many of whom learned about alleged Ugandan war lord Joseph Kony for the first time through the video, purchased t-shirts and action kits to help fund Invisible Children’s quest to bring Kony to justice.

“Jason’s passion and his work have done so much to help so many, and we are devastated to see him dealing with this personal health issue,” Keesey said. “We will always love and support Jason, and we ask that you give his entire family privacy during this difficult time.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


President Obama First Heard About Kony Video from Daughter Malia

Kent Nishimura/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama met Thursday with two activists focused on Sudan, actor George Clooney and John Prendergast of The ENOUGH Project.

Among the many items they discussed was the Kony 2012 video (currently up to 79 million hits on YouTube), which brings attention to accused war criminal Joseph Kony, thought to be in the Central African Republic.

Clooney later revealed that, having been out of the country, he hasn’t seen the video.

According to a senior administration official, President Obama first heard about the video the same way so many people have: from one of his children.

In this case, it was from Malia, 13.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


‘Kony 2012′ Escaped Child Soldier Supports Movie

Sam Farmar/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Jacob Acaye, the former child soldier featured in the “Kony 2012″ viral sensation, told ABC News Friday that although attention from the film was overwhelming, his life was good now and it was important for people to see the video.

“It’s a hard movie,” he said Friday in an exclusive interview. “It brought back some memories. … I still don’t know when will it end. The more time is ticking, the more people are dying. The more people are still suffering.  The more people [are] being abducted.”

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At the age of 11, Acaye was one of 41 youth taken from a Ugandan village by Joseph Kony, the leader of the rebel group Lord’s Resistance Army.

In the video, Acaye, who escaped from the LRA, was interviewed by videographer Jason Russell, a cofounder of the San Diego-based charity Invisible Children Inc.

“We worry. The rebels when they arrest us again, then they will kills us,” he says in the video. “My brother tried to escape. Then they killed him. … They cut his neck. … I saw.”

“Kony 2012″ has garnered nearly 58 million views since Monday. It is part of a campaign by Invisible Children to bring Kony to justice, although the group has faced its own critics for its religious affiliations and financial practices.

In “Kony 2012,” he tells Russell that even though he’s not with the LRA, he wants to die. Then, at least, he would be reunited with his brother.

“No one is taking care of us,” he says. “We are not going to school.”

Acaye is now 21 and studying to become a lawyer at Uganda’s Makerere University  -- it’s a wish he shared in the 30-minute film released by Invisible Children.

He said that when the video was shot -- he was 13 -- he did not think it would reach this level of success.

“By then, I was like really, really invisible -- like real meaning of invisible children,” he said. “We are like the children who are not seen. Children who are not even knowing that they are suffering.”

Acaye told ABC News Friday that while the video reminded him of horrible memories of his childhood, it made people aware of Kony.

“If they [people] know and they have seen and they could learn that Kony is still being the same in that movie, they can think about what to do,” he said. “And they can think about what they can do.”

Human rights groups say the LRA has terrorized Central Africa for more than 20 years, killing and maiming thousands of civilians and forcing children to become young soldiers. Kony and his commanders are wanted by the International Criminal Court.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


‘Kony 2012′ Campaign Against Uganda Warlord Takes Over Internet

Sam Farmar/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- If you logged onto Facebook at any point Wednesday, you may very well have found friends and others sharing “Kony 2012,” a 30-minute YouTube film on the Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony.

The nonprofit charity Invisible Children Inc. uploaded the video Monday to bring attention to Kony and the rebel group Lord’s Resistance Army, which has terrorized central Africa for several years. The YouTube video currently has more than 7 million views.

The hashtag #stopkony has been trending worldwide on Twitter.

On its Facebook page, Invisible Children says it “uses film, creativity and social action to end the use of child soldiers in Joseph Kony’s rebel war and restore LRA-affected communities in Central Africa to peace and prosperity.”

The charity came about after three Southern California filmmakers returned from Africa and released a documentary on the children forced to fight under Kony’s leadership.

In October, President Obama sent 100 troops to Uganda to help regional forces battle the LRA and capture or kill Kony.

During that announcement, he said that for more than two decades the LRA had been responsible for having “murdered, raped and kidnapped tens of thousands of men, women, and children in central Africa” and continues to “commit atrocities across the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan that have a disproportionate impact on regional security.”

On April 20, the group is asking supporters to cover their hometowns with posters calling for Kony to be brought to justice. On its website, supporters can sign a petition and contribute to the cause by buying T-shirts, posters and bracelets.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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