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.
She noted that, like many parents across America this week, State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner learned about the video when his middle-schooler showed it to him.
The State Department, which under Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has increased efforts to employ social media in US public-diplomacy efforts, supports initiatives like the Kony video, Nuland said. “The degree to which this YouTube video ... increase[s] awareness” is helpful she said, even as she expressed a desire to see that greater awareness “increase support for the work that governments are doing, including our own government.”
Officials in Uganda, where the video is set, are also lauding the exposure of Kony and his horrendous deeds – even as they chide the videomaker for focusing on Uganda, where the LRA was chased out years ago.