Anti-Kony group releases follow-up to viral video

Thu Apr 5, 2012 5:07pm EDT
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By Mary Slosson

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The group Invisible Children released a new video on Thursday as a follow-up to the viral "Kony 2012" film aimed at focusing global awareness on atrocities attributed to Ugandan rebel leader Joseph Kony and his Lord's Resistance Army.

"We want people to dig deeper into this conflict and actively engage in the solutions," Ben Keesey, CEO of Invisible Children, said in a statement announcing the new 20-minute video: "Kony 2012: Part II - Beyond Famous." He said the newest video is "a call to turn global awareness into informed action."

The "Kony 2012" film became an Internet sensation last month, racking up more than 86 million hits on YouTube since it was posted. Its success has been hailed for inspiring young people to activism, but has been criticized for oversimplifying the long-standing human rights crisis in the region.

It also has put Invisible Children and Jason Russell, the organization's public face, in the spotlight.

That attention turned uncomfortable last month when Russell, the star and narrator of the first "Kony 2012" film, suffered a public meltdown in California that doctors described as a brief psychotic breakdown.

"We just thought it was going to be a lot harder to make people care," the organization's Director of Idea Development, Jedidiah Jenkins, told Reuters in an earlier interview. "Most 16-year-olds do not want to hear about warlords in Africa."

The conflict is not limited to Uganda, but has long since spilled over into the Democratic Republic of Congo, where Kony was last sighted, and where other rebel groups and government forces have also been accused of atrocities.

The Lord's Resistance Army also operates in South Sudan and the Central African Republic.   Continued...

A scene from the video “Kony 2012 Part II” made by California advocacy group Invisible Children, is pictured in this handout photo received by Reuters April 5, 2012. REUTERS/Invisible Children/Handout