Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe.Thomas Jefferson
Yes. I know this video by filmmaker Jason Russell has been discussed before. However, it was done in the context of the Invisible Children’s Fund only. An American is exploiting an unfortunate situation for his own financial and personal gain once again. There are no surprises there.
What still hasn’t been discussed is the content of the video and what it hopes to achieve. This video is ½ hour long and can get tedious to watch. I have watched it so you don’t have to. I will summarize it under the spoiler.[Click to expand]
In a nutshell:
- It starts by exhibiting the power of social media
- Jason Russell dotes over his son
- Jason Russell explains his film making background and his trip to Uganda
- He chronicles the trials and tribulations of Jacob, his Ugandan friend, and the Ugandan people
- He then talks about the atrocities of Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army
- He promotes a call to action to arrest Kony and bring him to trial before the world court
- He takes credit for having 100 military advisers deployed to Uganda by our government
- He hawks his action kit and bracelet. He also calls on celebrities to participate.
- He designates April 1 as the day to litter the world with posters and leaflets
- He sets an expiration date of the end of 2012 to complete this mission
Even if the cause he solicits is legit, it is a plan of action for finding your lost pet, not for bringing
revenge justice to an international criminal. The numbers and enthusiasm of Jason Russell's followers is frightening. What is even more frightening is that this video is being presented as news and not the empty infomercial that it is. It is even being considered for an Academy Award.
Joseph Kony has passed his prime on the world stage. He has had his Andy Warhol 15 minutes of fame and is reputed to be in the Congo with a force of a couple hundred instead of the 30,000 that is implied in the video. I was happy to see the New York Times bring it into perspective.
This is a massive oversimplification of a difficult problem. The proposal smacks of the First Battle of Mogadishu in Somalia in 1993. Something like this illustrates the complexity of a military intervention in a nation dominated by a weak government and rampant human rights violations imbedded in its culture.
What's more, the message ignores lessons we should have learned from Iraq and Afghanistan. After the myth of weapons of mass destruction was debunked in Iraq, the justification for military action was to bring Saddam Hussein to justice. Also, the premise for Afghanistan was to bring Osama bin Laden to justice as well. After the passing of 10 years, the death of thousands of American troops and a couple trillion dollars later we have learned the true cost of these missions.
For all the outrage that is directed toward the American media and the mainstream media in particular, at least there is a code of conduct that tempers it. With all the claptrap about left leaning and right leaning bias in media, it beats the living crap out of the douchebaggery that is presented in this video. I know I have the option to go to BBC or al Jezeera for an alternate view of the news, but as news goes, I can respect that the American press can rise above this trash.
I can only hope that the KONY2012 type videos don’t become the standard lens through which we view our world.