Not Our Girls

Not Our Girls

Adrienne BoettingerTuesday,6 May 2014

The Snap:

Imagine you get a call one day from your daughter’s school informing you that your daughter was among the 200 girls kidnapped from school. Anger, fear, anxiety, desperation; you feel like you’re careening through all these emotions at the same time. The government says they’ve found all the girls but then it turns out that those were only the few that managed to escape. You go for weeks hearing nothing and fearing the worst. You’re told the girls may have all been killed. Then you’re told they’ve been forced to become girl brides. Then you hear that your daughter and the others will be sold into slavery. The government seems to have no idea what’s going on. You turn on the news and all you see is the search for a missing plane or Washington politics on parade or the latest celebrity break-up. And no one in the rest of the world seems to care.

The Download:

That is what has happened in Nigeria. Three weeks ago, a militant Islamic group, who believes that Western education is evil, kidnapped more than 200 girls from school. School administrators seem to not even know the girls were in school at all. The military even claimed to have rescued them at one point. The families have heard no news at all or the worst news possible. And still their daughters haven’t come home.

Because here on the Interwebz, people adore listicles, here are 3 things being said in the Western world in response to this crisis.

1. Why are people just talking about this now? Since it happened over three weeks ago and we live in the world of instant and constant news, it seems incredible that since it’s happened, major media outlets have reported only a little on the story or not at all. What is especially rich is all the media outlets focusing on the fact that media outlets haven’t covered the issue properly! Ponder that long enough and your head may explode.

2. It happened over there, not to my daughters. True. It did happen “over there.” Does that mean you should care any less? Absolutely not. What in the hell do we stand for if it’s not protecting children and helping them grow? You are no better than a Nigerian just because you were born in the United States; your place of birth was a mix of fate and chance. Remember, the world is both huge and small. Huge in that we have so many people and resources to help one another when we need it most. Small in that we all cherish loved ones and want to make a better world for them. We are more the same than we are different.

3. What can I possibly do to help that will actually help? Your first instinct may be to post something on your Facebook account, use a trending hashtag on Twitter and then go on your way. Maybe you’ll forward a news report on what happened to a few friends. There are ways that you can expend the same or just a little bit more of energy and actually do something that could matter. Contact your elected officials; tell them you support the United States helping Nigeria bring its daughters home. Tell them that the 1% of the budget spent on foreign aid — when we are the richest nation in the world — is an embarrassment. Stop patronizing media outlets who don’t understand or care about actual news happening around the world and at home. Keep religious extremism, religious oppression, forced religion, and religious intolerance out of the government. Governments run by extremists in Islam, Judaism, and yes, even Christianity have committed barbaric atrocities all in the name of what they believe is right and holy. Stop working so hard to emphasize our national, ethnic, local, religious, and cultural differences and work to respond to and love our common humanity.

Take Action!

Hat Tips:

The GuardianNPRTimeIrish TimesAljazeeraWashington Post, Image Credit: Flickr

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