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Stop Joseph Kony - A Social Eruption

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7th Mar 2012

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The sudden eruption of the Kony 2012 campaign, designed to #stopkony (the world's worst war criminal), demonstrates the impact of resonance in a web connected world. Despite qualms about the organization behind it, there's no question Joseph Kony must be stopped. His Lord's Resistance Army (L.R.A) is notorious for kidnapping, sexual slavery, child armies and a long list of atrocities, mutilations and more stretching back to the 1980s. Rush Limbaugh is a fan.

The campaign launched 5 March and has already racked approaching 20 million video views across major social media (Youtube, Facebook, Vimeo) and a resulting wave of popular press coverage in the last 48 hours that is only beginning to pick up steam. By targeting influencers in celebrity and politics, the message is amplified and repeated, with the goal of capturing the warlord before the end of the year for atrocities commited largely in Uganda, but since 2006 increasingly in other central African countries. A coordinated day of action, 20 April, is set to crescendo the message, with action kits that can be purchased online via the KONY 2012 website.

The campaign has been criticized for over simplifying the problem. The existing Uganda government is no stranger to human rights abuse - most recently in their proposed death penalty repeal to gays - and are seen as a corrupt themselves. Invisible Children, which launched the campaign, has seen a majority of donations go toward staffing, travel, and film making, to the chagrin of those who would like to see donations going toward helping children on the ground affected by rebel warfare. But if the proof is in the result, their efforts to create a slick, meaningful campaign that roots out the problem, instead of band-aids for the children, makes all the sense in the world, and is money well spent.

Despite the criticisms, there's no question that this kind of focused, concerted action has merit - and its making the world sit up and take notice. The centerpiece video, below, requires an investment of time - 30 minutes - but its summary of the problem, plan of action, and engagement hook make it well worth the time and effort. The world needs to unite to take out despots like Joseph Kony, even if we have to do it one by one. Bravo to the founders - film maker Jason Russell, Laren Poole and the rest of their team - for bringing the issue to the forefront of the world's consciousness.