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This is not your average kitten and pratfall viral video. Sometimes, YouTube can make a difference.
A half hour documentary produced by filmmaker Jason Russell for the Invisible Children charity took the web by storm on Tuesday night, spreading the word about Ugandan Lord’s Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony and his brutal practice of forcing young children into war.
The video is striking in its uncensored look at the deplorable conditions faced by the young soldiers, as well as its juxtaposition of interviews with Russell’s jovial, well-adjusted young son and with a teenager named Jacob, an imperiled Ugandan who lost his brother in the country’s civil war and sees little reason to live. It calls on Americans to continue to put pressure on the government to find and capture Kony; the Obama administration has sent military personnel into Uganda to pursue the leader, but has yet to catch him.
The video got a boost from Hollywood, as many celebrities, including Zooey Deschanel, Busy Phillips, Simon Pegg, Chloe Moretz, Taylor Swift and Olivia Wilde tweeted out the video, some using the #StopKony hashtag to push up its popularity. For his part, Alec Baldwin suggested they drop Rush Limbaugh on Kony, put Kony in a jail cell with Ann Coulter, or have Limbaugh eat Coulter, then drop Limbaugh on Koney. Whichever approach they choose, the idea is to make Kony famous, which is one thing celebrities can make happen.
In fact, Kony has already been a target of the industry, as Gerard Butler’s 2011 film Machine Gun Preacher told the story of Sam Childers, a biker-turned-advocate who has made saving children from the LRA’s grasps his life’s work.
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