Sunday, 18 March 2012

The world still has hearts beating

Public fancy has generally degraded into thoughtless inanity , right ? The silly antics of some starlet, whose only discernible feature is the shape of her nose, is what whole nations are riveted with. I mean, if some hundreds of millions can listen to a character called Justin Bieber, you can pretty much conclude that dumbing down of a whole species has occurred.

In such a world, what chance do you think a heavy, macabre, 30 minute video has ? Set in a bleak part of Africa. With a grim, sad, awful story. Not much you would gather. I would have gambled everything that  a grand total of 28 people would watch this video. Well, I would have been dead wrong and would have lost miserably. Kony 2012 is the name of this video. It was uploaded onto You Tube on 5 March. A small matter of 80 million people have seen it in 2 weeks.

Its about child soldiers in Uganda. Its about a monster called Joseph Kony and a horrible organisation called Lords Resistance Army in Uganda. It specialises in abducting children and turning them into sex slaves and child soldiers. This monster has been indicted for war crimes, but is at large. The video is about the awful story of children abducted and forced to become child soldiers.

The response simply shows that people care. That stories such as these still deeply affect the world. That human hearts still go out to the misery and awfulness in the world. That the world has not been numbed into inaction by a succession of woes daily chronicled by the media.

Joseph Kony is now a finished man. He will be caught and should receive the same treatment he has meted out to thousands of innocent children. Meanwhile we should salute public awareness and opinion. The world is still a great place if people can care enough. We can even forgive them  listening to Justin Bieber !

PS : Alas, public reaction is not always uniform. Jason Russell who produced this documentary has been subject to a variety of scathing criticism, including that of making a monster like Kony into a household name. Jason never bargained for this level of attention or for the criticism. Yesterday, the poor guy suffered a meltdown.


  1. ooh..ithaan a mail fwd abt this open aagala aana..hmmm uganda is notorious for its ruthless rulers i guess

  2. 1) Who is the starlet?
    2) Well, it has all become like karma yoga! You do what you want to do but you never know about results. I guess, this explains the phenomeno of the video going viral and Jason having a meltdown!
    3) Read in Wiki about that guy. Sounds ridiculous! Hope the US does more to capture that guy!

  3. @Gilsu - Ithan matter. The problem is not as much Uganda, but everybody meddling in the lawless neighbour - Congo.


    1)Some starlet - Ms ABCDE
    2) Can never predict why something goes viral and why something does not
    3) Why should the US go after him. They are not the police force of the world. Uganda has to catch him and mete tribal punishment , like castrating him first and then quartering him slowly.

  4. Yes, the better world we want is coming, more power to this video. so similar to joseph, read about a boy called Ojok from the same Congo-rwanda region.

  5. More power to such videos - I saw it the day it went public and I knew this would go's okay if there is controversy around this can't escape it. But if Kony is caught...soon, it will be a better world.

    And I had not heard of him before I saw this video - shameful but true :(

  6. @Asha - Thanks for the other story. Alas, the most wretched place on earth is around Congo. Has been for many years now.

    @Shachi - The only negative thing about this video is that it has made the monster famous. We should quickly forget about him , after he has been eliminated .....

  7. Hope they catch him quickly and flush such people out of the ecosystem.

    Need an antidote to this viral.May be...

  8. I agree that it is a very powerful video and well-intentioned. Overall I find many Americans are quite idealistic and want to make a difference. But see this passionate and articulate response from an Ugandan Blogger and it makes you realize that it takes more than good intentions to really solve a problem.

  9. @Hema - Lovely link. The mere thought of Mother Teresa can banish the sins of many monsters.

    @J - Rosabelle's comments seem to me to have missed the point. This is not about Africa, or how to help or foreigners about bleeding hearts, or anything like that. If you take the original video's objective as to highlight a problem - its a wild success. Sure there are no simplistic solutions , but as pricking the conscience of the world, the video was a runaway success.

  10. I see your point of view completely but is it kosher to embellish the truth (by talking about stuff that may not represent the truth today including apparently some wrong footage) to get attention? Maybe it is a case of the end justifying the means especially since the victims are innocent children. To me what was revealing is how every story has many sides and versions to be explored to get to the center. And when the issue is not so close to home, you can somewhat more objectively see the exaggerations on one side and defensiveness on the other. But that does not take away from the fact that I was among the ignorant majority who only learned about Kony after the video and all the attention that it got in the media and your blog.

  11. hmmm.. the video was very painful. How powerful can someone's selfless initiative take him. start from nowhere and reach where? amazing. But there are so many such problems to solve. this week i was in London. the trains and many public places have posters on the poor plight of people in Africa in one place. there were very emotional messages on animals left alone to die and some one trying to save them. unfortunately, the challenge with social media is that it works with the "eru kodugal" principle. the minute people find something larger and bigger, it drifts away.

    But by itself i think it is a major feat and three cheers to Jason for this.

  12. No No I am not of the view that US of the A is the police of the world. Long ago our George Bush did pass a legislation to help Uganda Army specifically to stop the LRA. It was in reference to it :)

  13. The video shows one irrefutable fact that all the crimes and criminals do end and can end. We largely do care and humanity raises its tone in one voice irrespective of nationality, religion and culture. The idea of this video may be viewed differently and the medium chosen by Jason may be criticized, but the truth is that when there is a single minded focus to fight the war for humanity, it should never fail. We must not let it fail.

  14. I read about it in the papers a week back and have no words to say...the frog in the pond that I am shed a few tears while reading it, thanked God that my children were safe and continued with my life.

  15. @Sandhya - I know - the sheer weight and number of problems is bound to overwhelm anybody. That's why whoever does to solve any single problem in however big or small a way is a hero.

    @Zeno - Yes, Bush Sr thought he was policeman of the world, but really why should the US care about Uganda in any way different from say an India. In fact with the number of Indians in that country and the historical ties (never mind Idi Amin), India has a greater responsibility than the US.

    @Reflections - That's not wrong at all. After all, we cannot be active in every problem. You are very active in one field - providing entertainment to millions of your readers thereby eliminating boredom; that's enough :):)

  16. @Vishal - Wonderful comment. Yes, every criminal will meet his due some day or the other.


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