Like so many others outraged by the kidnapping of over 200 girls in Nigeria by Boko Haram, I’ve tweeted, hashtagged, attended or promoted rallies, all with a view to ensure that as many people as possible are aware of this tragedy.
I know, of course, that there are other cases – too many to count – in my country and in other countries around the world where women and girls are targeted, kidnapped, raped, and bought, sold, and killed like chattel. I know that it is (shamefully) nothing new; but the brazenness, and the sheer magnitude and level of coordination required to take these young girls from their school has hit me in a markedly different way.
These girls are in my thoughts – each day; often multiple times a day. Their parents are in my thoughts. And I don’t want these girls to be forgotten. I don’t want the world to move on to the next big news item until each one is found, brought back home and reunited with their families, and their perpetrators punished to the nth degree.
I hope that this happens – that each one is located, including those who we’ve learned have passed away in the treacherous jungle – but I know it would also be naive of me to think that this can happen with any great certainty now, a month later, given the bungling on the part of responsible authorities in Nigeria.
I know that a tweet, a hashtag, or Facebook post is not, on its own, enough to find the young girls whose supposed crime has led to their punishment by the insane league of Boko Haram. Their crime is one committed each weekday by millions around the world. It’s a crime which, if I followed the tenets of Boko Haram, would make me guilty too given my own level of education.
At this stage, only boots on the ground can handle the task; but I hope that, somehow, the young women can sense that there are millions of people around the world who are praying for their safe return and that those millions of thoughts and prayers bolster them somehow.
I hope that those many signatures on those many petitions, and the photos, posts, and interviews are effective in even the smallest of ways. I hope it is enough to #BringBackOurGirls.