Uganda: ‘Kony 2012: Part II – Beyond Famous’ Receives Mixed Reactions

This post is part of our special coverage Kony 2012.

“Kony 2012: Part II – Beyond Famous” is a follow-up video to the viral campaign video (Kony 2012) calling for the capture of the Ugandan war criminal and leader of Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) Joseph Kony. The first video was criticized by Ugandan netizens and other bloggers for oversimplifying the conflict and misrepresenting facts on the ground.

This is how Invisible Children describes “KONY 2012: Part II – Beyond Famous” on its YouTube channel:

KONY 2012: Part II — Beyond Famous offers a closer look at the LRA and explores the solutions put forward by leaders of the currently-affected areas of CAR, DRC, and South Sudan, where local communities continue to live under the constant threat of LRA violence. This generation has responded to the call to make Joseph Kony famous. Now we need to dig deeper and turn awareness into informed action. That starts with sharing this film and continues with participating in Cover the Night, the advocacy and awareness event taking place worldwide on April 20th.

Tom Murphy says Kony 2012: Part II – Beyond Famous is a failure:

I may be a bit hasty in saying this, but the video is a failure. Little of it has to do with the content. It succeeds in terms of providing more information and history about the LRA. IC deserve credit for taking this concern seriously and putting it into a video. I still find disagreement with the way that solutions are presented as coming from outsiders, but that is more of a fundamental disagreement with IC. This time around, they do a much better job of explicitly saying they want to support local solutions, but the overall message of the video and the tone of IC trends towards what can be done to save the people of Central Africa from the LRA.

He argues that the success of the first video contributed to the failure of the second video:

Kony 2012 Part II is failure because of its low reach. The first video has 87 million views on YouTube compared to 1.3 million for the second. Including the views from Vimeo, part 1 views rise to 105 million while part 2 stays at 1.3 million. That means that the second part of Kony 2012 retained 1% of its audience.

The failure of Kony 2012: Part II is due in part to the success of the first video which left little room for further learning or engagement. NGO communicators can learn that storytelling is a powerful tool to reach people, but it can shut down discussions and learning as easily as it can open engagement.

Joseph Kony - head of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). Photo released by Flickr user Chris Shultz under Creative Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Joseph Kony – head of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). Photo released by Flickr user Chris Shultz under Creative Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0).

The video is a step forward, admits Eric's Wanderings, however it rings false:

The film is a step forward but to me it rings false. It’s full of talking points and damage control, responding to critics without actually naming problems that still exist. Solome Lemma who has been active in speaking around the films, tweeted yesterday:

“The best way to let people know you’ve heard their feedback is to pause, process, seek, listen, learn, reimagine, & to give all of it time.”

Invisible Children is intent on their plan, intent on their way of doing things which is driven by their views of the problem and solutions, and – while obviously acknowledging some of the critiques in this new film – is still driven by their make movies, sell merchandise model which believes that all action is good action. Their timeline is still in place and that’s all that matters, this is a deflection.

In “Beyond Kony: Rebuilding Life in Northern Uganda” Echwalu looks at the work of The Children of the Nile who are trying to rebuild the lives of people affected by war in Northern Uganda:

At about the same time the Invisible Childrens’ Kony2012 video was trending worldwide, another NGO, The Children Of the Nile (TCON)- also run by Americans was in Bungatira Sub-county in Gulu doing an honest job in my opinion helping widows of the two decade war.
While the Kony2012 video depicted Kony to be routed in the jungles of Northern Uganda, abducting men and children, raping women, and slicing off peoples lips, TCON was in those “Jungles” trying to empower widowed mothers because of the war.
Contrary to the picture painted by Kony2012, a bunch of Americans were in Odek, Kony’s village as the video trended, racing towards the 100million tape, from where Craig Nason, TCONs Networking and Communication Director tweeted;
“Sitting right now with the widow of #josephkony older brother. 18 years in IDP camp, finding Kony not her priority, rebuilding life is.”

Tweeps have received the second video with mixed reactions as evidenced by the tweets below:

@AFROGROOV: A slower start for KONY2012: Part II “Beyond Famous”!more in-depth info, is the one-click generation as interested now?

@PlanAustralia: Thanks @invisible for shining a spotlight on child rights. We're passionate about them too! #kony2012 #beyondfamous

@TimmyHarris: Everyone knows about Kony yet kids are still in the bush, under his control! WE NEED ACTION NOW #beyondfamous

@monica_vigo: As KONY 2012 Part II: #beyondfamous drops, keep up with the #LRA in real time with Invisible Children and Resolve's @CrisisTracker

@TJJanz: If you enjoy wasting 20 mins of your time and learn nothing new that is..RT @VansWarpedTour: If you saw #KONY2012, you need to watch Part II

@Ned_MzH: Kony Part II: Accountability, not awareness #Kony2012 #UgandaSpeaks #Uganda2012 #Kony

@ JonahClifford : Kony2012 Part II: Not bad, but only 1 out of 100 people reached by it. The damage the first movie made hasn't been rectified.

@ ahmedzakiosman: [#Kony2012: Part II] and Invisible Children, should be judged by a different word: accountability #uganda

@lukeyg: #KONY2012, not a man hunt but pursuing a global solution to a very real local problem watch #KONY2012part2

@ josephpowell : New #Kony2012 film is vast improvement in accuracy, tone etc but 100 million less views. That hard to have put some of Part II into Part I?

The first video “Kony 2012″ received over 100 million views six days after it was posted online.

This post is part of our special coverage Kony 2012.


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