Sunday, March 18, 2012

The world still has hearts beating

Public fancy has generally degraded into thoughtless inanity , right ? The silly antics of some starlet, whose only discernible feature is the shape of her nose, is what whole nations are riveted with. I mean, if some hundreds of millions can listen to a character called Justin Bieber, you can pretty much conclude that dumbing down of a whole species has occurred.

In such a world, what chance do you think a heavy, macabre, 30 minute video has ? Set in a bleak part of Africa. With a grim, sad, awful story. Not much you would gather. I would have gambled everything that  a grand total of 28 people would watch this video. Well, I would have been dead wrong and would have lost miserably. Kony 2012 is the name of this video. It was uploaded onto You Tube on 5 March. A small matter of 80 million people have seen it in 2 weeks.

Its about child soldiers in Uganda. Its about a monster called Joseph Kony and a horrible organisation called Lords Resistance Army in Uganda. It specialises in abducting children and turning them into sex slaves and child soldiers. This monster has been indicted for war crimes, but is at large. The video is about the awful story of children abducted and forced to become child soldiers.

The response simply shows that people care. That stories such as these still deeply affect the world. That human hearts still go out to the misery and awfulness in the world. That the world has not been numbed into inaction by a succession of woes daily chronicled by the media.

Joseph Kony is now a finished man. He will be caught and should receive the same treatment he has meted out to thousands of innocent children. Meanwhile we should salute public awareness and opinion. The world is still a great place if people can care enough. We can even forgive them  listening to Justin Bieber !

PS : Alas, public reaction is not always uniform. Jason Russell who produced this documentary has been subject to a variety of scathing criticism, including that of making a monster like Kony into a household name. Jason never bargained for this level of attention or for the criticism. Yesterday, the poor guy suffered a meltdown.