49.7 million views : but are they wasting their time on the evil Kony?
A video about fugitive rebel leader Joseph Kony's misdeeds in Africa has become an online phenomenon, with more than 49.7 million views from Monday until this morning.
On Twitter, users had mentioned Kony more than 950,000 times by Thursday night. Tweets by public figures included Rihanna, Alec Baldwin, Sean Combs, Ryan Seacrest, Bill Gates and Sen. Patrick Leahy.
On the website Jezebel.com, a writer says, "Think twice before donating."
Kony is wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity and war crimes including murder, sexual slavery and using children as combatants. However, the Wall Street Journal quotes a spokesman for Uganda's army, Felix Kulayigye, saying Kony was already a spent force.
"The world is just realising the evil in this man, but these are the things we have pointed out countless times in the past," he said. "We have decimated his capabilities now."
Scott Gilmore, chief executive of the Peace Dividend Trust, which aims to increase efficency in humanitarian operations, also doubted the need for the video.
"While this is a very impressive example of viral marketing, it's raising awareness for a cause that doesn't need awareness.Those 30,000 kids who were kidnapped, this isn't going to un-kidnap them."
Invisible Children, founded by three filmmakers, turned to Twitter and Facebook to encourage its followers to share the 28-minute film, donate to its campaign and " help bring Kony to justice in 2012."
Jesse Derris, a spokesman for Invisible Children said of Gimore's complaint, "That's a naive and sad world view. "The idea that you should do nothing unless you can do everything is exactly what we're trying to avoid."
The nonprofit's Invisible Children Protection Plan is a five-step strategy that includes building an early-warning radio network "to facilitate twice daily security broadcast and early-warning communications," and deploying search-and-rescue teams.