#BringBackOurGirls... All of Them, Everywhere
Remember when you were a kid and didn’t want to go to school because of a test, or because someone you liked would be there, or whatever? Now imagine not wanting to go to school because you’d be kidnapped or shot in the head? This is a reality for millions of young girls around the world.
The news of the nearly 300 Nigerian school girls abducted has put women’s rights back in the spotlight (most of the time, our news doesn't even report on these kinds of abuses in African countries), specifically how young girls are subject to harassment, rape and even murder just because they want an education. We would be remiss in not mentioning the most recent case of Malala Yousafzai, the teenage Pakistani student who famously blogged about her experience as a girl getting an education under the threat of the Taliban, which targeted and shot her. She survived, and has become a famous symbol for girls rights to education. Her book is a must read.
Why Were These Girls Kidnapped?
Simply put, because they’re girls. But really it’s because of an Islamic group called Boko Haram, or "Congregation of the People of Tradition for Proselytism and Jihad." This group has connections to the Taliban, including Osama bin Laden, and is rebelling against the democratic government by targeting young girls because it is against their belief system for women to do much anything else besides cook, clean, and bear children. So, they kidnap these young girls and sell them to human trafficking rings that force the girls into work as sex slaves, house servants, or child brides.
What Is The Government Doing?
Slow to respond, the government of President Goodluck Jonathan (real name), has said that he promises, “...that anywhere the girls are, we will surely get them out.” This was his first comment on the matter, three weeks after they were abducted. The government has offered $300,000 for information leading to the discovery of the girls. The Daily Trust newspaper quoted President Jonathan’s wife, Patience, as ordering all Nigerian women to stop protesting the government over the abduction, and threatening "should anything happen to them during protests, they should blame themselves." So, to answer that question, the government isn’t doing a whole heck of a lot.
What About the U.S.?
While Nigeria was initially hesitant for outside involvement in the case, they have since relented and allowed U.S. involvement. The U.S. Embassy set up a coordinating group, and the Pentagon is sending intelligence, communications and logistics experts. Secretary of State John Kerry, has been vocal from the beginning in his offer of U.S. assistance, but the Nigerian government claimed to have it’s own strategy in place.
— The First Lady (@FLOTUS) May 7, 2014
Join Michelle Obama and others on Twitter by sharing your thoughts on the issue using the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls. Don’t know what to say? Think about what it would be like to live in fear because of your gender. Think about what it would be like to not be able to receive any education, just because of your gender. Think about not being able to learn how to read, write, just because of your gender. Share how those things make you feel. Because really, as young people, it’s your voices that need to be heard.
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