I picked this up on Facebook late yesterday afternoon. This is happening, right now, in the world. Here are the facts as I understand them. First, a map Nigeria, which is in east-central Africa.
The northeastern corner of the country is a big forest, and an Islamist extremist group known as the Boko Haram jihadist network has base camps there. “Boko Haram” means “Western education is forbidden,” assuming I Fucking Love Science has their story straight (and I trust them). Here’s what’s happened over the last couple of weeks in northeastern Nigeria:
- Boko Haram, who also bomb urban centers and kill schoolboys in their sleep, descended upon a school in force, herded approximately 240 girls between the ages of 16 and 18 into trucks, and took them into the forest.
- At some point later, 40-50 of the kidnapped girls escaped. One of them talked to a New Yorker correspondent who has experience in Nigeria and also has a blog.
- The parents immediately tried to go after their children. The government did not do much to help them, and published disinformation until the parents called bullshit and made them retract their stories (just read the articles — you’ll see).
- The New York Daily news, on Wednesday, published an AP story which says Boko Haram has taken the abducted girls to Chad and Cameroon and is selling them to its members — many of whom participated in the kidnappings — as wives.
- Yesterday, in The Guardian, former U.K. prime minister Gordon Brown called on the international community to assist the Nigerian government, who seem to be outgunned — with air power, if nothing else.
My two questions as a person who is moderately schooled in institutional politics are: Where is the African Union on this, and what is Samantha Power doing right now? I hope they’re both working on it. Diplomacy is not a public thing, but I do hope this is on their radars.
My question for you who read all the way to the end of this is: What do we want to do about it? Admittedly, our options are limited, but that doesn’t mean we have none. Here are some things we can do:
- Discuss this.
- Use our social media to the max to really get the word out about it. And I’m not talking about reblogging this post or linking to this blog (although I would appreciate either). I’m talking about finding one thing in all this you can really speak to and writing your own. Or sharing one of those articles I linked to on your social media. Or anything, anything at all. Doing a little is better than doing nothing.
Here are some hashtags you might want to look at: #BringBackOurGirls #BringBackOurDaughters #NigerianGirls.