One year ago this month, Boko Haram‘s whose name means “western education is forbidden” released a video announcing a new, reprehensible front in its bloody attempt at forced Islamism: his fighters will begin abducting girls and selling them.
On April 14, Islamic militants stormed an all-girl secondary school and seized the students. On Monday, a video was released showing the leader of Boko Haram claiming responsibility. State officials report some of the girls have already been sold off as brides for as little as $12. Others were reportedly forced to marry their abductors, and taken to neighboring Cameroon and Chad.
We are talking about school girls who are 12 to 18 years old, girls who have been kidnapped from their school in northeastern Nigeria nearly three weeks ago.
Journalists and bloggers from all around the World have been writing columns partly to apply more pressure on the Nigerian authorities, who seem uninterested in the case, and partly because they are offended by the contrast between the global media uninterest in the even greater number of missing schoolgirls.
It is important to note that what’s at stake is not just these girl but also the parents who are going to become scared to send their girls and even boys to schools in this area where only half of adults are literate. The country will slide further into illiteracy, economic difficulty and backwardness.
I believe that education is very important but it is not just about building schools, it’s also about ensuring security so that parents feel safe sending their children to school.
Weeks after their abduction, 276 out of 300 nigerian school girls remain captives of this extremist militant group that threatened to sell them into slavery and the shocking number is still a piece of bad news that people refuse to listen to.
Somthing needs to be done. However, when you pressure western powers, particularly the American government to get involved in African affairs and when you champion military intervention, you become part of a much larger problem. You become a complicit participant in a military expansionist agenda on the continent of Africa and this is not good. Remember #KONY2012 ?
According to one report, in 2013, American troops entered and advanced American interests in Niger, Uganda, Ghana, Malawi, Burundi, Mauritania, South Africa, Chad, Togo, Cameroon, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Lesotho, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and South Sudan.
So my question is what can us do to help the situation without asking for more U.S. military involvement in Africa ?
If you must do something, learn more about the amazing activists and journalists like this one and this one who have risked arrests and their lives as they challenge the Nigerian government to do better for its people within the democratic process.
If you must tweet, tweet to support and embolden them. Don’t join any government and military in co-opting this movement started and sustained by Nigerians !