#BringBackOurGirls: The struggle to save the girls of Nigeria and the children of the world
WASHINGTON, May 6, 2014 – The recent kidnapping of now 208 schoolgirls in Nigeria by Islamist terrorist organization Boko Haram may be eye-opening to Americans who are hard pressed to understand the daily violence and terrorism that plagues many countries around the world.
Terrorism around the world has a brutal effect on the lives of millions of people. Nigeria is struggling to protect its girls, and weeks after the first raid where militants stole some 276 girls, Nigeria is now asking for help from the United States or anyone else willing to assist the beleaguered nation recover these children before they are lost to sexual slavery and early marriage.
Dr. Okupe Doyin, Senior Special Adviser on Public Affairs to President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria, stated that the country will accept assistance in the form of “high technology” including satellite imagery and reconnaissance in order to find the girls. Richard Downie, Deputy Director and Fellow, Africa Program says that Nigeria is a proud nation, however they do need to accept this help in order to recover the more than 200 girls that the militant Islamic group has kidnapped.
Boko Haram, whose name loosely translated means ‘Western Education is sin,” attacked an all-girls high school in Borno state on April 14 and kidnapped approximately 276 students. According to news.com.au, 53 girls did managed to escape. The girls, who had been taking exams, were loaded onto trucks by the militants and taken to an unknown location. In the last 24 hours, Boko Haram militants have gone into homes and captured eight more children.
“In Islam, it is allowed to take infidel women as slaves,” Boko Haram leader Shekau said. “In due course, we will start taking women away.”
Nigeria is being criticized for “ineptitude,” while social media is being credited with increasing world wide awareness and pressure to recover these girls.
With world wide trending hashtags #BringBackOurGirls and #276 creating a global cry for these girls to be found, Robert Rotberg, President emeritus of the World Peace Foundation (1993–2010) spoke on CNN, saying that the US should send military “peacekeeper” support to protect the children.
When terrorism reaches to the youngest, tomorrow’s hopes are destroyed.
Militants targeting children is not new in Africa, or Pakistan. In 2012 media focus was on The Lord’s Resistance Army, a Ugandan rebel Guerilla group in the Northern region of Sudan. To maintain his rebel group, Joseph Kony trafficks young boys to use as child soldiers, abducting young girls to use them as sex slaves. The quest to kill Joseph Kony and stop his reign of terror on Uganda’s children continues, despite the false rumor that he had recently been killed by Seal Team 6.
In Pakistan, Malala Yousafzai is a young woman who is known for her activism in supporting educational rights for women. Her high profile, including a blog about criticizing the Taliban and a documentary about her life, made her a Taliban target. As Malala boarded a school bus, a gunman shot her three times, once in left side of her forehead. Though Malala required intensive rehabilitation, she has recovered becoming a very outspoken and strong spokesperson for women’s education and humane rights.
Following the assassination attempt, protests were held in several Pakistani cities with over 2 million people signing the Right to Education campaign’s petition, which led to the first Right to Education Bill in Pakistan.
Boko Haram is often referred to as Nigeria’s Taliban and their goal is to overthrow the democracy in Nigeria and replace it with a strict Islamic government, complete with Sharia Law. As part of their message, Boko Haram seeks to strip women of their rights.
However the outpouring on social media is that education is, and should be, an accessible human right.
Access to education is a basic right & an unconscionable reason to target innocent girls. We must stand up to terrorism. #BringBackOurGirls
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) May 4, 2014
Twitter holds the media accountable, demanding that there be more coverage
Boko Haram is stealing these girls from their homes because they see the education of young women as a major threat.
In the article Terrorism greatest threat to Arab world – Majali in The Jordan Times, writes:
AMMAN — Terrorism is the most dangerous threat to Arab countries, as the current regional unrest provides a “fertile” environment for spreading extremism, Interior Minister Hussein Majali said on Wednesday.
Speaking at the 31st session of the Arab Interior Ministers Council meeting, which started in Morocco on Wednesday, Majali called for establishing genuine partnerships among Arab countries to combat extremism through educational and religious institutions.
“Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.” Nelson Mandela pic.twitter.com/RWEDgOsm0r
— Vicki Davis (@coolcatteacher) May 6, 2014
Whoppi Goldberg tweets: