“As I write this more than 70 million people have watched a 30-minute video, uploaded less than a week ago from the group Invisible Children, about Ugandan Joseph Kony’s atrocities…. What interests me, and what I think is worth reflection, is the phenomenon of this film itself. This is not some funny 1-minute YouTube video that’s gone viral. It’s a thirty minute documentary about a war criminal in Africa whom few have ever heard of. When one thinks of all the people perpetrating atrocities in the world, why did a video about Joseph Kony go viral, and, more importantly, why does this matter?
The film itself is masterful. It’s about good guys and bad guys; innocent children who need rescuing, and innocent children who want the bad guys punished. It leaves the viewer in tears, but then it gives us something to do. The action plan is clear, simple, and doable: spread the word, make Joseph Kony famous, participate in an urgent (and time-limited) campaign, and Joseph Kony will inevitably be stopped and the abducted child soldiers returned to their families.
The real brilliance of this film’s message is revealed toward the end when a graphic of a pyramid depicting the movement of power, from the moneyed and government elite at the top, to the institutions below, to the people at the bottom, is inverted and the people – us, those who use and share social media and harness the voices of millions – begin to influence the actions of the moneyed and government elite. The very fact of this video’s viral success proves its point. We citizens, at home with our computers, can wrest (at least some) power back and make important and good things happen through our voices.”
For a humane world,
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