The Strange Unfinished Story of Jason Russell and the Kony 2012 Viral Video
As I understand it, Kony 2012 started something like this:
“Sincere American film-maker tries to do good. He makes a brilliant expose documentary on a dire human evil occuring in Uganda. The movie goes viral. American film-maker breaks down, loses his mind in public. Film-makers’ public breakdown goes viral. Film-maker tries to get his mind, his mental health, his family and his credibility back. Film-maker is then attacked by American media and social network culture’s dark side as a phony, a fraud and a scam artist. Film-maker fights back. Confusion reigns. People in Uganda continue to die at the hand of evil Warlord, according to some. Others state that Ugandans riot when they see the Kony 2012 film. Whaaat?
Pause button…. whew. How did all of this go from noble selfless altruism – to this?”
The story which follows is unfinished. All the cards are yet to be turned over, and all are yet to be played. People and even parts of nations are possibly being played. Attitudes and dispositions are being played. The internet itself is now a landmine of warring positions about Kony 2012 which are still ALL being played. I felt I was somehow being “played” back and forth all day long as I gathered research to try to compose this report.
The story as I see it is both heart rending, infuriating and perplexing. I am still struggling with how to describe it. Is Kony 2012 a genuine altruistic movement or is a massive and brilliant national PSY-OP?
There is definitely more than one story to try to tell here – in fact there are actually three stories to tell here, and they are all equally unnerving. The fourth story to tell will be what happens in November.
The first story is the true and very horrific story of Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony, and his decades long reign of terror against the people of Uganda, especially the children of Uganda. The mere fact that something like this had been occuring for decades in Uganda, and that the most of the world knew little or nothing about it [during the age of the internet ] before Jason Russell made his documentary “Kony 2012″ is really hard to fathom. That fact alone has me bothered.
The second story is the story of what happened to filmmaker Jason Russell AFTER he released Kony 2012 and the urgent documentary went viral. A very public and troubling series of behaviors was exhibited by Jason which could only indicate some sort of massive breakdown, perhaps a split or schism in the psyche itself, or as others have described, an all-out psychotic break. At any rate, after Russell’s documentary became world famous, he unraveled in a very embarrassing and very public way, his antics getting almost as much publicity as his movie, thus doing himself irreparable harm, nearly discrediting all the good which the making of the film had initiated.
Russell describes his psychotic episode:
“My mind couldn’t stop thinking about the future,’’ Russell said. “I literally thought I was responsible for the future of humanity. It started to go into a point where my mind finally turned against me and there was a moment where, click, I was not in control of my mind or my body.’’ – Jason Russell in a recent interview
And finally there is the third story about all of this, which I now call the “Kony 2012 afterbirth”. It includes the typical American media upchuck that takes place when a big story breaks, then sadly, begins to break badly. It all began to break badly when the film-maker Jason Russell began to misbehave in such a way that his sanity came into question, his motives for making the movie were dissected, and his credibility began to tank. All this while apparently Joseph Kony was and is still a free man, running amuck with a machete, kidnapping, slaughtering, torturing and maiming innocent people.
It’s that part third of the story – the movie’s sickening media “Kony 2012 documentary afterbirth”– which I find almost as distasteful as the horrific first story of Joseph Kony himself. The entire experience of learning about all of this, granted for me it has been several months after the release of the movie, is bothersome.
There are now dozens of strange, mocking, attacking, discrediting and fame-seeking “Kony 2012 videos” posted on YouTube which allege all kinds of bizarre things about Jason Russell, questioning his motives, slandering his Uganda charity work, literaslly attempting to re-write the original story Jason has presented about what is going on in Uganda.Many of these videos have been made in an attempt to skoot along on the shirt-tails of the viral video mega internet traffic, gaining some fresh notoriety and a few cheap bucks for the web parasites to instant fame. It’s a rather nauseating experience just taking it all in while searching for the facts. I have re-written this post 12 times this morning.
Wading through the reactionary slop about all of this on YT is also somewhat of a textbook exercise in how to decode disinformation, intentional mis-information, how to separate and recognize well intentioned acts of goodness gone awry and how to react to such a “doing good gone bad” internet tale.
Did Jason Russell actually come so unglued from the pressure of all those promises he made to the children of Uganda that he lost it – in public – in broad daylight?
Did the sudden fame of his documentary actually cause this man to snap that badly? Does that kind of sudden exposure to abject human evil, up close and personal, after living the comfortable nurtured middle class existence of a life in modern America, cause a sane sound man to behave like a lunatic on a street corner? I now have more questions than answers. This post is an airing of all my own confusion over the Kony 2012 story, along with the subsequent “other” story on the behavior of film-maker Jason Russell.
There were police 9-11 calls, there is raw footage of Jason Russell writhing around naked on the street corner in San Diego, there are dozens of other bizarre video clips about Russell, it’s almost too much to take in at once. What nearly gets bulldozed by all this miserable pop culture video afterbirth is the original and gut wrenching story about the people in Uganda who have been victimized by Joseph Kony and their struggle to overcome his savage brutality.
I will be adding to this report as days follow, but I wanted to get this first draft out. Here is what I have learned thus far.
I found the film and it’s story for the first time this morning and immediately I knew that what I can do is to post it prominently on this blog through the end of the year to give it more exposure. Yeah, I still believe in “I am my brother’s keeper” and I still believe in “What would Jesus do?” Deal with it.
Ugandan warlord Joesph Kony sits at the top of the world’s most wanted list of war criminals posted annually by the ICC, the International Criminal Court. Among his long long list of atrocities and acts of animal barbarism, Kony is infamous for kidnapping Ugandan children, and forcing them into service in his armies. The female children are turned into child sex slaves. The males are consigned to fight in his army. One of the first tasks they are assigned to perform under threat of death once they are under Joseph Kony’s captivity and control is to murder their own parents. Often they are also forced under threat of death to eat them. This is where the depravity of Joseph Kony crosses over from mere mortal wickedness into “monster” on a parr with the worst names in the human history book of evil.
More than 30,000 Ugandan children have been kidnapped by dark of night by Joseph Kony to serve as slave soldiers in his “Lord’s Resistance” army. Those who fight him or refuse have their faces hacked into mush. Some have survived this attack and live on with savagely disfigured countenances, crudely stitched back together – or live on with severed limbs – or both.
All of this, which has been happening for more than a decade, is taking place purely for the sole purpose of Joseph Kony keeping himself in power. He represents no movement of people other than himself and the maintenance of his own power and control in Uganda. The maker of the short movie about this unspeakable human right tragedy is an American man named Jason Russell. His brief documentary on the horrors of Joseph Kony titled “Kony 2012” went viral after he posted it. It did not just go viral, it went beyond viral.
Jason was actually was so impacted by what he learned and experienced in Uganda during the making of this film that he had a brief psychotic break some time after it was finished and was found pacing and screaming on a street corner in San Diego, completely naked. He has since stated he has fully recovered but that part of this story is murky and I am still trying to understand what made this filmmaker go from credible truth teller and videographer to a man who would later be caught masturbating in public. The term “WTF” definitely applies. I feel I don’t know the complete back story but I intend to find out.
Jason Russell is still urging the world to action to stop Joseph Kony’s atrocities against the people of Uganda and the children of Uganda.
WARNING: Parts of this video show graphic violence of the results of explicit human savagery and the viewer might find these scenes and images disturbing. So you are warned. But it took great courage for Jason to make this film, so one should find the courage to watch it. Human evil thrives where others turn away from confronting it. Jason did not turn away. Share the film with others in your social networks after you watch it. I believe the world ought to find a way to stop the animal savagery of Joseph Kony. I think after you watch this you will feel that way too. Here it is:
Related links and video
Not to be left out of the Kony melee, Alex Jones included an expose on Kony 2012 in one of his on-air rants about fill-in-the-blank issue of the day:
Most Recent Headlines about the LRA:
AllAfrica.com-13 hours agoThe leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) peace team on Sunday described the ongoing anti-LRA campaign initiated by the African …
Institute for War and Peace Reporting-8 hours agoThe fighting ended with a peace deal in 2006, and the LRA now operates outside Uganda, in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the …
RTT News-Sep 19, 2012“This important moment is the culmination of our collective efforts to put an end to the activities of the LRA, a renegade rebel movement that has …to hunt down LRA rebels Coastweek
Sacramento Bee-Oct 6, 2012We are focused on the LRA because they have been abducting … In the following months, seven pieces of LRA-related legislation were …Highly Cited: ‘Kony 2012’ makers launch new video aimed at African warlord Los Angeles TimesIn-Depth: Kony Creator Dishes to Oprah Daily BeastInvisible Children Release ‘Discover,’ Follow-up to ‘Kony 2012′ NewMediaRockstarsL-S cheer team sponsoring a ‘Pink Out’ Wicked Local
defenceWeb-Oct 4, 2012The Ugandan People’s Defence Force (UPDF) has handed over the operations command of the war to track down the Lord’s Resistance Army …
AllAfrica.com-Sep 12, 2012The Lords Resistance Army (LRA) rebels killed one soldier and wounded six others in an ambush of a Central African Republic (CAR) army …Rebels ambush army convoy in Central African Republic Reuters Canada
New Vision-Sep 22, 2012LRA defectors: Lt. Michael Oryem, Sgt. James Okot and Sgt. Denis … The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebel group is undergoing a leadership …Uganda: ‘We’ll Catch Joseph Kony Within Two Months’ AllAfrica.com
Prairie Advocate-Sep 25, 2012No Levy For The VAC, No Change In the LRA/Savanna Depot Soap Opera. By MICK PARSONS | For The Prairie Advocate News. MOUNT …
Deutsche Welle-Sep 25, 2012Joseph Kony, leader of the Ugandan rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), is undoubtedly the most wanted war criminal in Africa. The militia …‘Invisible’ children send jolt through Flagstaff High Arizona Daily Sun
AllAfrica.com-Sep 10, 2012Leaders from areas affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army in northern Uganda have resolved to reach out to the rebels and encourage them to …