When the Kony 2012 video first popped up on my Facebook wall and I started to watch it, I only got a few minutes in.
I tried again a few days later, following the crowd.
10 minutes in and I was still convinced that Russell Brand was going to leap on for a verse of African Child at any moment.
But he didn’t and I did get to the end, along with at least a few of the now hundreds of millions of people that started it.
A week and a huge amount of debate later, I’ve ended up being genuinely inspired by the response to the campaign – both in the amount of people that wanted to watch it and the discussion that has followed.
Firstly, the scale of the video’s attention has given millions of people a window into the ability of evil men like Joseph Kony to perpetuate their terrible influence.
We have to stand back and agree that, as Ugandan Prime Minister, Amama Mbadazi has said, the response to the video “has demonstrated the fundamental decency which unites in concern right-minded people throughout the world when we see innocent people suffering.”
Secondly, the debate has cast light on the complexity of politics in this region of Africa and the perhaps even more complex role of Western intervention in these politics.
Overall, we would hope that this success doesn’t reinvigorate an outdated, counter-productive method: use mass public awareness campaigns to make the world feel sorry for Africa as a helpless, hopeless mess.
Despite the articulate criticism contained in articles like Charlie Beckett’s LSE Polis post, many campaign organisations will still want to use ‘Kony 2012’ as more evidence of what happens when you go for the most emotional denominator: vast attention, vast new income and response at a governmental level.