From “Now and Alive!” to “Never to be forgotten.”
Nigerian President-elect Muhammadu Buhari is already making waves in his divided country. On today’s anniversary of the mass abduction of 200 girls in Chibok by members of Boko Haram, Buhari walked back the previous administration’s promises to find the girls, and took a tone of remembrance.
The “Bring Back our Girls” movement is still alive and well, but many members of the campaign to seek justice—including members of the new administration—have begun pivoting away from Goodluck Jonathan’s “Bring Back Our Girls — Now and Alive!” slogan by introducing a new one: “Never to be forgotten.”
The reaction to the new Administration’s position has been less than supportive, especially in areas where Boko Haram is especially active.
From the AP:
In Chibok, dozens of family members and supporters marked the anniversary by gathering at the remains of the school, in front of a burned out and roofless classroom. Young girls held handwritten signs demanding “Bring back our girls — Now and Alive.”
One mother, Mariam Abubakar, told the crowd she was in disbelief that the government had been unable to rescue the girls during a whole year.
On Monday, a few dozen people marched in Abuja, their mouths shut by red tape.
“When your voice is taken from you, which is what the terrorists have done to our daughters, you can’t speak, you don’t exist. But our girls exist,” said organizer Oby Ezekwesili, a former education minister.
The campaign said the Empire State Building in New York will be lit up Tuesday night in the campaign’s purple and red colors to symbolize its call for an end to violence against women and girls.
It’s horrifying, and dark, and a reminder that campaigns like these are just that—campaigns.
Goodluck Jonathan may have been vocal about locating and returning the girls to their families, but his administration’s initial response—ignoring the fact that there had even been an abduction—was typical of Jonathan’s attitude toward the rise and spread of Boko Haram.
Right now, a multistate coalition is busy looking for more effective ways to control the spread of Boko and its militant Islamic ideology. The UN has finally come forward with a plan to endorse the coalition strategy, but the cobbled-together armies are still facing the near-impossible task of actually eradicating the group.
The reality of the situation in Nigeria doesn’t make for a rosy outlook. A new UN report reveals that last year was a banner year for rape, sexual slavery, and forced marriages on the part of Islamic extremists.
The report by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon released Monday urges the Security Council to recognize that sexual violence can not only be employed as a tactic of war but as a tactic of terror.
The report expressed “grave concern” at sexual violence perpetrated by armed groups, including those promoting extremist ideologies in Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Nigeria, Mali, Libya and Yemen.
It said efforts “to degrade or destroy” the Islamic State group, Boko Haram, al-Shabab, Ansar Dine and al-Qaida affiliates “are an essential part of the fight against conflict-related sexual violence.”
This is what happened to the 200 girls abducted by Boko Haram. They’re not coming home. Their torment served but one purpose—to create an atmosphere of fear and submission on behalf of the proponents of Islamic extremism.DONATE
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