Invisible Children video stirs US response: We're hunting down Joseph Kony
Last October, President Obama ordered the dispatching of 100 special forces advisers to assist in stopping African warlord Joseph Kony. The Invisible Children video puts a spotlight on Mr. Kony.
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But at the same time, US diplomats (and in some cases, their African counterparts) want the mostly young people who are suddenly caught up in the get-Kony cyber phenomenon to know this: The US government, central African governments, and numerous nongovernmental organizations have been working for some time to stop Mr. Kony and to address the needs of his victims, from escaped child soldiers to mutilated villagers.
“Certainly we appreciate the efforts of the group Invisible Children to shine a light on the horrible atrocities of the LRA,” said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland, speaking to reporters Thursday.
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But she also added, “As you know, there are neighboring states, there are NGO groups who have been working on this problem for decades.” Moreover, she said, the United States has been “very much involved” through support to the countries of East and central Africa where Kony’s army roams and pillages – in particular since last October, when President Obama ordered the dispatching of 100 special forces advisers to assist in the effort to bring down the LRA.
Ms. Nuland’s remarks reflected a bit of the amazement – and yes, frustration – that diplomats from Washington to Kampala, Uganda, have felt at seeing how a half-hour-long video posted on YouTube Monday has alerted millions of young people. It’s an issue that governments have struggled for years to expose and address.
The video, “Kony 2012,” the work of American Jason Russell and his Invisible Children organization, has logged more than 50 million views on YouTube and other video sites.
Nuland praised how the video is raising awareness about Kony and the LRA, saying that “hundreds of thousands of people around the world, especially young people, have been mobilized to express concern” for the people of central Africa who have been Kony’s prey.