If you haven’t heard of Kony2012 (or haven’t had the chance to read up on what it is), it’s a viral campaign urging people worldwide to help raise awareness on Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda. Formerly the Uganda Christian Democratic Army, this military force has killed countless of innocent lives and enslaved numerous children with the intent of training them to be soldiers to help out with resisting defenses (including international efforts). You can read more about it here.
This viral campaign is important in many ways, namely to inform people about Joseph Kony and raise enough awareness globally to have him arrested. Yes, I want Joseph Kony and his LRA to be detained. But for me, this video did something more. It made me realize how powerful film could be. Take 30 minutes to watch this incredible video by Jason Russell.
“The next 27 minutes are an experiment. But in order for it to work, you have to pay attention.” And attention we’re paying. His efforts to save the lives of the Ugandan civilians are hardly going unnoticed. It started almost 10 years ago, when Russell met Jacob while in Africa. Since then, Jacob has introduced Russell to his way of life—his constant running, his fear of abduction, and even his acceptance of death as a probability in the near future. What’s more, Russell films Jacob in his world, exposing everyone that’s willing to watch.
Jason Russell’s message is clear; he wants his son to grow up in a better world than he did—where armies like the LRA do NOT exist. And he conveys this message through film. We see him in conversation with his son, Gavin. He explains that the bad guys make the children kill other people, to which the kid responds, “But they’re not going to do what he says because they’re nice guys, right?” Russell explains that even though they don’t want to, they don’t have much of a choice. He asks his son what he thinks of all this, and Gavin just responds, “Sad.”
That curiosity, that simple deduction of “good” vs. “bad” speaks volumes. And 50 million+ viewers are there to watch it unfold—on YouTube, on Facebook, on Twitter. It’s more than just a viral campaign. It’s a testament to the modern age. 50 years ago, this type of awareness wouldn’t have been possible. But today, it is, and it’s thanks to so many factors—the users on the social media sites, Jason Russell’s passion for justice, the Invisible Children organization, and, of course, a video camera.
There’s something to be said for Russell spreading this in the virtual realm. He’s not looking for exposure for himself as a filmmaker. This is a passion project for educating people all over the world about what’s happening in Uganda.
Kony2012 – a 30 minute video not meant to be analyzed or defined in anyway, just trying to be worthy of listening to. And as a
n aspiring filmmaker, that is extraordinarily admirable.
30 minutes. That’s all it takes to be informed about something happening outside of our own little bubbles. Regardless of not getting involved directly, being informed is just as important.