I can hardly find words to describe my distress regarding the situation in North Eastern Nigeria. Two hundred and thirty young girls taken / kidnapped by ‘Boko Haram’ from their school in Chibok. ‘Boko Haram’ apparently stands for ‘western education is forbidden’. So it seems that the young girls seeking education were targeted for just that, accessing education. We all know that education changes how we think and view our lives and our cultures. Fear of potential cultural change (loss of male power) drives radical groups like ‘Boko Haram’ to take extreme and barbaric action.
Can’t imagine the anguish that the parents and families are going through…to have a child taken by a group of rebels and to not know what is happening to your child must be some kind of ‘living hell’. Now, I don’t want to comment on matters of Nigerian culture that I know very little about but I do want to comment on human rights. No-one, regardless of their beliefs, has the right to impose their own beliefs (misguided as they sound to us) on others in barbaric and inhumane terms. And that’s what this act in Nigeria is.
The other aspect to this appalling story is that these abductions are not rare, they apparently happen often to girls, very young girls, who are taken from their homes and villages, sold off for marriage or sex trading and are never seen again.
The issue of gender in some cultures (most cultures come to think about it) is a very complicated one and requires a lot of understanding. However, regardless of attitudes toward roles and functions of women and men in our society (and in some cultural groups)this behaviour is nothing but an outrage that the rest of the world must take action against.
How do we take action, how do we help most, how do we make a difference? These questions have rolled around in my head for the last few weeks. Strangely, or not so strangely I have felt nothing but a numb dis-empowerment since hearing about this latest malfunction of humanity.
As an older woman who has the fortune to live in a country where women mostly have a voice, not that it’s perfect but we are able to rally and speak out and address issues with a certain level of confidence compared to our sisters in Nigeria, I despair…! But, that’s not enough, we have to take action. This is the first part of my action…speaking about it.