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Limerick, Ireland – When John O’Dowd’s daughter came home from school determined to help stop African warlord Joseph Kony after viewing the “Kony 2012″ viral video, O’Dowd was intrigued.
As the drama around “Kony 2012″ creator and Invisible Children co-founder Jason Russell unfolded and critics began voicing concerns about Invisible Children’s handling of funds, O’Dowd started conducting his own research. Now, the author has released his findings as a Kindle e-book and paperback as The Amazing Story of the Kony 2012 Phenomenon and the facts of the case are startling.
“Invisible Children posted ‘Kony 2012′ on YouTube on March 5, 2012,” O’Dowd explained. “By March 11, it had 100 million views, making it the most successful viral video ever. Yet only days later, Russell had a public breakdown, and within a month, interest in Invisible Children-promoted protests against Kony waned. From the rise of Joseph Kony to the apparent fall of the Invisible Children founder, it was a fascinating story that needed to be told.”
O’Dowd began by exploring the history of Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), by all accounts a brutal guerrilla organization led by a man whose “army” consists of children forced to commit atrocities across central Africa. He found that Kony had kidnapped more than 104,000 children over the last 20 years, and had 88 wives, most of whom the LRA kidnapped as young girls. However, there was much more to the story.
It turned out there was also more to Invisible Children. The charity which three college students founded with a $70,000 loan and quickly grew into a $46,000,000 organization, faced criticism following the video.
Ugandans spoke out against “Kony 2012,” and survivors of Kony’s violence protested Invisible Children’s tactic of displaying their tormentor’s name and face on bracelets, t-shirts and marketing materials. As he dug deeper, O’Dowd discovered exactly how Invisible Children was spending the donations that poured in after the release of the video. The Amazing Story of the Kony 2012 Phenomenon recounts those findings in detail.
O’Dowd then tackled the social media component of the Kony 2012 phenomenon. “Analysis of the first 1,000 people to re-tweet the #Kony2012 hashtag on Twitter shows that they were clustered around a few southern U.S. cities,” wrote Examiner.com correspondent Peter Kelton in his review of O’Dowd’s book. “… In effect, the evangelical Christian spirit pushed Kony 2012 to record heights, a view confirmed by U.S. analysts … This is not a dry, statistical history, but a lively yet deeply moving story superbly written.”
In The Amazing Story of the Kony 2012 Phenomenon, O’Dowd tells the truth behind the scandals, successes and failures of “Kony 2012.” Readers might open the book out of curiosity, but they will turn the last page armed with knowledge about a watershed cultural phenomenon.
Image Courtesy of http://ctn.kony2012.com