Kony vs. Clooney


Awareness: We all know of the KONY video (Make Kony Famous), which is the most viral in history, to date. A major criticism of the Invisible Children campaign was that the LRA had significantly weakened in recent years though, and the organisation overstated the army’s current power. Oh and then Jason Russell’s hospitalisation for brief psychosis of course, which has naturally undermined the campaign for lots of people.

Action: they have since come out with a less glorified follow up video (Beyond Famous), which has received 1.5 million views compared to the original film’s 87 million, which is a shame as phase 2 is even more important. I’ll be keeping at eye out for April 20th to see what the impact of ‘Cover the night’ is.


Rehabilitation: Phase 1 accomplished its role in making Kony famous globally but what else can be done, other than capturing him (which may be unlikely). For a good round-up, check out this interview with Finck from Invisible Children headquarters, as they’re doing some great work in Uganda i.e. rehabilitation in communities and investment in education with their amazing Schools for Schools programme.

Prevention: They are now working with local partners tracking LRA movements, using an early warning radio network for local communities, so they have time to escape.

Collective responsibility: The ultimate dream is that ‘We’re a global community protecting each other’ (Luis Moreno-Ocampo ICC)


Awareness: I’m sure you’ve all seen Clooney’s very visible arrest orchestrated for the cameras for exposure. I have to say, I did cynically think Jason Russell’s odd behaviour was done for the same reason, to help with phase 2.

Prevention: Clooney has taken an innovative approach to trying to prevent atrocities.  He came up with the idea to use advanced satellite imagery to monitor areas, the Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP). He spoke to Google and the satellite company DigitalGlobe to help set it up and it’s funded by him. The team can issue a warning, giving an opportunity for many to flee, meaning they can have an impact in saving lives too.

Documentation: The imagery is so accurate it can be used to monitor massacres and mass graves. So it will help gather evidence which can be used in future war crimes tribunals, for Sudanese leaders.


Conclusion: It’s too early to tell whether Kony v.s Clooney has a conclusive hero, so I’ll be revisiting this debate. Great to hear any thoughts…..

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