Once Michelle Obama joined the worldwide calls for the restoration of the missing schoolgirls in Nigeria – mercilessly kidnapped by the Islamist militant group Boko Haram, it appeared that the ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ campaign had successfully galvanised the world’s leaders into actioning the swift return of the young children. However despite a growing international concern and the various measures implemented by the Nigerian government in rectifying the predicament, as of yet the schoolgirls remain in captivity. Thus, compounded by the fact that nearly four months have passed since the kidnappings, are we to conclude that the world no longer cares that 200 schoolgirls linger within the hands of an organisation identified as a ‘terrorist’ group and a global threat?
What is for the certain is that we are aware of where the abducted schoolgirls are located – at least theoretically. On 26 May 2014, a Nigerian military official confirmed that they had ‘found’ the missing girls, yet for security reasons they could not disclose their whereabouts nor could they use force to rescue them due to the possibility of ‘collateral damage.’ However, it appears that this was a disguise for the evident ineffectiveness of the Nigerian government, who have not only failed to curb and address the actions of Boko Haram in the past (let alone in this instance) but have also allowed the Islamic group to commit over a dozen other crimes throughout the country since the abduction, including the assassination of a Muslim leader in Borno state and the seizure of the vice-prime minister’s wife.
As a matter of fact, the Chibok schoolgirl kidnappings is just another episode within a catalogue of atrocities instigated by the radicals and in conjunction, is another example of the incompetence of Goodluck Jonathan and his regime in quelling Boko Haram’s growing influence in Nigeria. The conclusion of the Nigerian inquest into the kidnapping at the end of June epitomised the toothlessness of the Nigerian government, with their findings simply acknowledging the number of girls still under confinement.
If the lacklustre attempts of the Nigerian government raises questions over whether the return of the kidnapped schoolgirls remains a priority, the actions of the world’s leaders only adds salt to the assumption that the world has turned its back on the students. Undeniably, the ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ campaign led to widespread media coverage and raised attention of the kidnapping on an unprecedented scale, however since the world’s celebrities erected their photographs online displaying their banners of protest, the international emphathy has dramatically dwindled.
In the short-term, many nations – including the United States and United Kingdom, offered support in the form of intelligence experts to aid the Nigerian’s in their search for the young children. Though, in the long-term the missing schoolgirls have largely dissapeared from the subconscious of the international political and social arenas and have become a distant memory in response to the advent of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Ebola outbreak and ultimately other pressing internal and external issues. Similarities can be made between the ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ and ‘Kony 2012’ campaigns, both of which became worldwide phenomena overnight but fundamentally depreciated due to a lack of perpetual support for the respective causes in the long haul.
So, is the world still concerned that over 200 schoolgirls remain missing in Nigeria? seemingly not, however it is important that we continue to raise awareness of the abducted students and not confine the crimes of Boko Haram into the abyss of unsolved mysteries. Importantly, although we live in the world where news is constantly changing, we should grow to become more vigilant in sustaining our campaigns against the atrocities we witness – wherever it may be in the world, as people power (as in this case) has proved in past to be an affective lobbying tool in determining the actions of politicians. However, we must refrain from our Western-centric perceptions and apprehend that the plight of anyone in world is parallel to our own understanding of how people should be treated, particularly when it concerns children. Ultimately though, we can only begin to imagine what the reaction would be if over 200 girls went missing at the hands of ‘terrorists’ in the Western world…
One thought on “Is the world still concerned that over 200 schoolgirls remain missing in Nigeria?…”
Mrs President of the World cares, as does her world, although obviously I exclude the followers of Boko Haram and the many other self-styled-Muslim groups with their outbursts of irrationality and hatred of females.
The trouble is that combating such a willow-the-wisp organisation, especially when Nigeria’s military says, as it so often does, that it is on the way to solving the problem and that the children will soon be released, when the truth is that it has even made conflicting statements about the number of abductees, is as easy as declaring a war on terror. You may as well declare a war on air, so amorphous is the named enemy.
I am sure that the US, along with the UK and the EU, is quietly yet forcefully pressing Nigeria to take the mass abductions (there have been others) more seriously by, for a start, acting to sideline those senior politicians in that benighted country who see political and commercial advantage in the conquests of the Education Is Evil sham believers.
That the story has slipped off the front pages outside Nigeria means only that the media circus has moved on, as it always does: news editors are well aware that the public’s interest in a big topic lasts a short time. Consider, eg, the Ukraine: when did any of us in the West last feel the need to update ourselves on the horrors still happening there? Or Libya: do we know the latest on the near-collapse of that supposed democracy?
It’s not our fault that interest has flagged. Until some new development happens to revive the stolen-girls story, these big stories will be pushed by others into the background.
The abductions may fade into the distance but not Boko Haram: rampaging fundamentalism uses publicity to advance itself. Its irreligious, bare-chested, Kalashnikov-waving, child-raping thugs will be planning another outrage to get themselves back on to the world-news agenda as they fight to have their miscegenated Islam dominate this great country.