When this story broke I had no intention of writing about it, because it had too many heavy political overtones. However, over the past few days, all of this has reached a new light, even hitting the White House. First Lady Michelle Obama, many actresses, news people and others have stormed twitter with #BringBackOurGirls, as well as other social media avenues. All of this definitely gave me the “green light” to comment on the issue. Will doing so make a difference? Singly, as one person, I don’t believe so, but as a whole – maybe. I say America is way overdue in becoming involved, and to speak out with regard to incidents taking place on the continent of Africa. When it comes to the abduction of over 200 young women it is time for the world to play a part. So, even if in some small way this post raises just one person’s consciousness, then I have done my part.
Who is the “Boko Haram?” Your regular everyday person walking the street does not know. Actually, this is the first time I’ve heard of the radical group. Since the breaking news of this event we’ve learned they want stricter enforcement of Sharia law, and we’ve found the name means “Western education is forbidden.” Of course, that is an approximate translation. Certainly, we in the west are well aware of this. According to Bronwyn Bruton, an African scholar at the Atlantic Council in Washington, D.C., in an interview with the New York Times said, “The violence most of the African rebel groups practice makes Al Qaeda look like a bunch of schoolgirls.” Being African-American, understanding my people, and remembering the atrocities of the Rwandan Genocide, none of this surprises me, in the least.
In this country, we proudly send our young women off to college and universities year after year; here it is a right of passage. Also, it is obvious that when boarding schools are mentioned here, an entirely different picture comes to mind – never a scenario such as what we’ve heard about over the last few weeks. Sex slavery is the fastest growing criminal movement in the world. Equality Now, is an organization working for the protection and promotion of the human rights of women and girls around the world. They indicate women and girls make up 98% of the victims trafficked. This problem gained such attention that even Hollywood has made movies addressing the issue. And although, I would be one of the first to complain that America cannot be the World Police, this concern is far too important for any country to, forgive the cliché, “turn a blind eye.” Since this is such an important topic I believe no nation can stand on the sidelines and simply listen, as mothers and fathers plead for the return of their girls.
I’ve learned over time, and I will always be the first to say, change places with the victim; put yourself in the shoes of one of these parents. I cannot imagine the heartbreak and pain of having my daughter abducted, knowing in the back of my mind what could happen. One mother interviewed, undoubtedly had no words, she could only respond with tears. What I fear most, however, is that all of the publicity will give rise to a sense of having more power, which in turn, will cause the group to tighten their grip. As I mentioned earlier, the cries are not only coming from the White House, other politicians are also speaking out. Will the world stand by and continue to watch, and listen only? You will never make me believe there is nothing that can be done to remedy this atrocious act. Let me join the other voices, and cry…please, bring back our girls.
Information courtesy of NY Times & Equality Now
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