Everything You Need to Know About #BringBackOurGirls Gina Vaynshteyn

A little over two weeks ago, more than 200 Nigerian girls were abducted in the middle of the night from their boarding school. That’s bad enough. Even worse: It’s been confirmed that these teenage girls are being sold as brides for $12 each by Boko Haram, an Islamic jihadist and takfiri militant and terrorist organization based in Northeast Nigeria. According to report by CNN, the Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau stated, “I abducted your girls. I will sell them in the market, by Allah. There is a market for selling humans. Allah says I should sell. He commands me to sell. I will sell women. I sell women.”

Though Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan vowed to rescue these girls, two weeks have already gone by, and no action has been taken. Because of this, the public has been responding to this horrifying tragedy and injustice in droves, trying to help a country in search of their daughters, their friends, their sisters, their girls. Can you help too? Absolutely! Read on for everything you need to know about #BringBackOurGirls and the viral message that, with your help, will spread the word.

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First off, you need to know about Boko Haram.

Boko Haram, the Islamic extremist terrorist group, does not believe that women should be educated. In fact, they don’t believe in Western education, period. “Boko Haram” literally translates to “Western education is a sin” in the local language. The members of Boko Haram firmly believe that women should be at home raising their children, and taking care of their husbands; they do not believe women should be learning how to read and write. Activists report that the militants kidnap young girls and force them to clean their houses and perform sexual services.

This group has been around for 12 years. It was founded by Mohammed Yusuf, a man who believes Nigeria should be a purely Islamic state. Nigerian police assassinated him in 2009, but the group is still thriving. Abubakar Shekau took over leadership, and ordered more bombings, and more attacks against Westerners. Boko Haram has bombed government buildings, highways, military checkpoints, churches, and mosques. The radical terrorist group of course doesn’t reflect upon Islam itself; in fact, Boko Haram doesn’t even consider all Muslims as their allies. They have attacked particular mosques because members of it have fought back against Boko Haram and their extremist and violent ideals. This has been a major, major issue in Nigeria for a long time now.

Why isn’t more being done about the abduction?

Kyari Mohammed, a professor of security studies at Modibbo Adama University of Technology in Northern Nigeria states, “Nigeria has one of the best armed forces, but they are not trained for asymmetric warfare.” Meaning, the armed forces doesn’t have the military or tactical means to tackle the strength and tenacity of Boko Haram.

So far, according to Mother Jones, Nigeria has not officially requested help from the US. However, some Nigerians are skeptical that their government even needs the help. Many, including Mausi Segen, a Human Rights Watch researcher, think this atrocity could have been handled better by the government and that “They are not using information provided to them by residents and locals in that region.”

Although the US military is currently not planning on sending troops, they will help with intelligence-sharing (satellite imagery, electronic communication), and will possible help plan a rescue mission.

Parents, locals, and concerned citizens have taken it upon themselves to search the forests near Boko Haram camps in hopes of finding their girls, however they are being criticized for this. President Goodluck Jonathan has stated, “What we request is maximum cooperation from the guardians and parents of these girls. Because up to this time, they have not been able to come clearly to give the police clear identity of the girls that have yet to return” (CNN). Although it is understandable the president would like to keep things organized and calm, it is absolutely reasonable that the community has spoken out.

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  1. This is so important, thank you for writing this. I would kindly request you refrain from using the words Islamic and Jihadist in association with this horrific human being. With other criminals their religion isn’t associated with their crimes in news articles, so I would just ask you to be mindful of the peaceful Muslims who are the majority like me, and denounce terrible acts such as this. Thanks again for bringing attention to this, let’s get the word out! #bringbackourgirls

  2. I took a human rights class last semester and although it was painfully boring at times, the topic of females really hit me. How is it that we live in a world that there are people who condone this type of behavior? It sickens me. Women in third world countries are treated so awful and I just can’t believe that there are men out there who have this type of thought process. One of the worst things I have ever heard of is female castration, literally turning a women in to an object for a mans selfish desire to have an orgasm. LITERALLY cutting out her clitoris and then sewing her up to make JUST a hole. The practice is done at such a young age that these victims will never experience sex for what it is, but rather just feel pain, it’s disgusting! If I could go to these countries and just spit in the faces of the people that condone this disgusting behavior, I most definitely would, unfortunately I would probably get killed. I just had to rant, I’m just so sick and tired of women being treated so awfully. Of course I am also sick of some of these countries rituals which allow sick behavior as a normal everyday life thing, and not just to women.

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