A YouTube video highlighting a grisly catalogue of abduction, rape, torture and mutilation inflicted on young children in Uganda spearheaded by the forces of rebel leader Joseph Kony has spurred the web into action, sparking social media campaigns for his capture. The video has been viewed 21.1m times at the time of writing.
A 30-minute documentary by filmmaker Jason Russell for the campaign group Invisible Children Inc tells the story of a child called Jacob, his sense of loss of his kid brother and what he and other children are living through as they try to escape the violence.
Children in Uganda can’t sleep at night for fear of abduction, of being indoctrinated as child soldiers and suffering all manner of abuse.
Kony heads up the Lord’s Resistance Army, an extreme Christian group that has used its own take on the Ten Commandments to spread terror in four African countries – Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic and South Africa.
Numerous groups have sprung up on Facebook urging Kony’s capture, including Kony 2012, which has attracted 333,327 followers at the time of writing.
The hashtags #stopkony and #kony2012 were the top trending topics on Twitter last night. Celebrities P Diddy and Rihanna retweeted links to Russell’s video documentary.
The video, in the shape of Russell telling his son about his work in Africa, is a call to action to stop Joseph Kony and change the course of human history.
It is based on a promise nine years ago that Russell made to Jacob that he would do what he could to stop the violence.
“Over the past nine years, I have fought to fulfil it, because that promise is not just about Jacob or me, it’s also about you. This year, 2012, is the year that we can finally fulfil it and if we succeed we change the course of human history.
“But time is running out, to level with you this movie expires on 31 December 2012 and its only purpose is to stop the rebel group the LRA and their leader Joseph Kony.”