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.
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.
Join the movement.
Not enough is being done, and that is a fact. Many have been using social media as a tool, employing #BringBackOurGirls and #BringBackOurDaughters as a global call to action.
David Peter, a sound engineer, recording artist, and music producer in Lagos sent CNN this video, which is a direct plea for help.
Yesterday, Hillary Clinton tweeted, “Access to education is a basic right & an unconscionable reason to target innocent girls. We must stand up to terrorism. #BringBackOurGirls.”
So, what else can you do?
I just signed this petition, and so can you. Signing the petition to #BringBackOurGirls shows that you are aware of this adversity, and that you want to help. It shows you do not want these girls to be forgotten, enslaved, raped, and possibly killed. Ultimately, if we assert our support, President Goodluck Jonathan will see this is a global issue, and all of us care about girls who shouldn’t have to worry about their safety in school. These girls should have been protected in the first place, but now it’s up to the community and the power of communication and compassion to help save them.