This video has been watched 75.000.000 times on YouTube: Kony 2012.
It is about the campaign to bring to justice the leader of the LRA army in central Africa: Joseph Kony. The video and campaign have started a huge flow of discussion and debate around the questions as to whether this is good or bad advocacy. Sarah website Bailay on a blog on ODI makes the point that the message delivered by the video is too simplistic. It stereotypes a very complex social and political environment. The solution the video suggests are aslo debatable. Duncan Green in his blog titled The only interesting question on Kony 2010 – why did he get 60 million hits? says that watching it he was “Fascinated (and yes, envious) at the skill of the storytelling. Appalled by just about everything else – the use of his son, the cheesy self righteousness of the tone, the depiction of Africa, the profound ignorance and lack of interest in why things are the way they are. I won’t go on.”
I am no expert of Africa. I actually I live and work as a researcher in South East Asia. I watched the video and as a researcher I would also ask myself, how much of this is true. But as a researcher, similarly to a pint made by Duncan Green , I would aslo think that there is something to learn here. It is about the story telling skills and the emotion that the message creates. I think that there is a risk in doing evidence-based research (vs. opinion-based research): there is almost no space for emotions. Emotions seem to run counter to the objectivity required by rigorous research. As if emotions or a call to emotions would be negative. I wonder whether it is possible to find a way (probably linked to the art of communication) to have evidence-based research with emotions.