Will you participate in the Kony 2012 day of action?
In a screen grab from the sequel, a Kony 2012 flag hangs over the side of building in anticipation of "Cover the Night," a worldwide day of action on April 20. (CBC)
In a sequel to its YouTube hit, Invisible Children fires back at its critics, who accuse the California advocacy group of an American-centric, oversimplified account of Joseph Kony, the Ugandan rebel leader at the centre of the viral documentary.
The follow-up, fittingly dubbed Kony 2012: Part II - Beyond Famous, opens with a montage of mainstream media coverage, reacting to the March release of the 30-minute documentary that has since racked up over 86 million YouTube views.
"One month later, we're releasing this film to explain the creation of the campaign, the progress that's already been made and what we can all do now to support the ongoing efforts to stop the violence of the [Lord's Resistance Army]," said Invisible Children CEO Ben Keesey in the sequel.
Unlike its original documentary, the sequel uses a traditional documentary narrative. In about 20 minutes, it attempts to combat criticism of the group and highlights progress and ongoing efforts since the release of the initial documentary.
It features interviews with Africans in the Central Africa Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where the LRA currently operates, who speak about the complexity of the conflict.
The sequel rehashes the rebel conflict, which began in Uganda the 1980s, and Kony's terrorizing reign of villages in Congo, South Sudan and the Central Africa Republic since being pushed out of Uganda several years ago.
In a screen grab, a pamphlet hangs from a tree branch with instructions on how to leave the LRA for its fighters. (CBC)
It also highlights Invisible Children's efforts to work with communities terrorized by Kony, such as a radio network that warns civilians when LRA fighters are nearby and pamphlets hung on branches explaining to LRA fighters on how to leave the militia.
The sequel notes two U.S. congressional resolutions and
African Union backing for a regional troop aimed at stopping the LRA.
"Progress is being made and we are not stopping," said Keesey in the video. "But neither is the LRA."Keesey says 57 people have been reportedly abducted by the LRA since the original documentary's release.
The group's co-founder, Jason Russell, who directed the initial documentary, is not in the follow-up effort.
Last month, Russell was diagnosed with brief psychosis, which his wife attributes to the overwhelming pressure and criticism ignited by the initial documentary.
Among the criticisms were that the group pledged little money to the civilians victimized by Kony, salaries of executive members and that the documentary was American-centric and overly simplistic. It sparked outcry at a screening in northern Uganda.
Last month, Keesey released a video response to the criticism.
A hashtag for the sequel #beyondfamous generated little buzz on Twitter.
Some Twitter users resented the release and its related Kony craze.
More KONY videos? Can't wait for all the self-righteous save-the-world tweets to fly today. #not-- Matt Weiss (@mattyweiss) April 5, 2012
OH GREAT!Another Kony video.Stop, drop and roll.-- Iain Haywood (@iainhaywood) April 5, 2012
Still, supporters of the viral campaign gave a nod to the sequel and anticipated "Cover the Night," the worldwide day of action on April 20.
The sequel ends with a call to action to partake in "Cover the Night," with images of supporters plastering Kony 2012 posters on vacant walls, store windows and even, hanging a Kony 2012 flag over the side of a building.
Did you watch the initial Kony 2012 documentary? Why or why not? Will you watch its sequel? Why or why not? If you have seen it, does it address your previous questions? Will you participate in the Kony 2012 day of action? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments section below.
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