Two weeks ago, 234 girls were abducted from a school in northeastern Nigeria. They were loaded into trucks at gunpoint and taken into the forest. We know what happened because of about 30 girls who managed to escape.
This is assumed to be the work of Boko Haram, a sect of Muslim extremists whose very name means “Western education is sinful.” They want to institute an Islamic state ruled by Sharia law. They use child soldiers and there’s evidence to suggest they’ve abducted girls in the past to serve as sex slaves. In February they murdered 59 students.
The local Muslim population is unsupportive of Boko Haram, to the point that the group has even assassinated Muslim clerics for criticizing it.
The best weapon we have against groups like Boko Haram is education, and they know it. That’s why they’ve waged war on it. Those girls were in school that day to take a physics exam. If 200 white girls in America were abducted during physics class, the world wouldn’t rest until they were found. But because these girls are in Nigeria, a place far away from the media spotlight, they’re simply gone. The Nigerian government is doing less than nothing – at one point they announced that the girls had been found and rescued, but the parents revealed that was a lie. The parents are spending their own money to hire motorcycles and cars to trek into the forest, and coming back empty-handed.
How do 200 girls, and enough soldiers and trucks to carry them off, simply disappear?
One way to help fix this is by raising awareness. International media attention leads to international pressure on the Nigerian government to do something. There’s a Change.org petition you can sign, created by a Nigerian woman currently living in Germany. You can also Tweet using the hashtags helpthegirls and bringbackourdaughters.
It may not seem like a lot, but increased awareness is one of the major factors that led to the release of persecuted individuals like the members of Pussy Riot and Alexander Aan. So spread the word and maybe make a difference.