Maybe It Is Time To #ForgetOurGirls
Everyone has seen it, #BringBackOurGirls being ‘supported’ everywhere without a moment’s thought as to what it actually means.
Celebrities not exactly known for the intelligence or wisdom lined up next to first ladies, feminists and most ridiculous of all, feminist men, all posting stupid pictures of themselves holding hashtag nonsense on social media. I guess the head of Boko Haram was supposed to see a post in his Facebook timeline, follow the link to Twitter where #BringBackOurGirls was trending, be fearful of all the attention hungry, famous and ignorant people posting pictures and give up his fight, check in the location of the girls on FourSquare and upload a Vine apologising for his actions. Guess what, that isn’t what happened.
Even Zimbabwean celebrity porn stars jumped onto the bandwagon (okay let’s be honest, that woman’s porn efforts were half hearted at best, she is not a star on screen, with or without her clothes). You thought you could get publicity for your alleged career by hashtagging on something EVERYONE was on? You thought next to Michelle Obama etc your picture would be noticed? Chick please! The sad fact is #BringBackOurGirls is mostly about privileged and opportunistic people who can’t take five minutes to research a problem jumping onto a bandwagon, not to change anything but to make themselves feel all warm and fuzzy inside for raising awareness.
The dynamics behind Boko Haram are complex, much as you insist of painting them as a few insane Muslims who hate women. But I guess it would be asking too much of you to be able to think in more nuanced tones than them evil, us good. Rebel movements without grassroots support cannot survive, Mao covered this over fifty years ago people. If Boko Haram is untouchable it is because it has some support amongst the muslim majority in Nigeria. (bet you thought Nigeria was a christian country huh). Asymmetric warfare favours the smaller force with community support but instead of asking why people support it, what its goal is, how its tactics have evolved in the decades it has been around, you just write some nonsense on a white piece of paper and upload a picture of yourself looking like an ignorant, self righteous fool.
Al-shabaab just kidnapped 12 women in Kenya and it is the fault of #BringBackOurGirls. You have taught them that the lives of men are worth less than those of women by reporting on casualties by gender and focusing on dead women. You ignored the hundred of people killed in attacks since the girls were taken, more than three times as many killed as the kidnapped girls last count. You taught them that a kidnapped girl is worth more than a kidnapped boy by not caring that for decades boys have been kidnapped and forced to become fighters against their will. Boys have also been a more useful target for kidnapping as they could swell the ranks of the movement. You projected your twisted sexualisation onto the situation with your fantasies of girls being raped and kept as wives (by a religious rebel movement that must remain small and quick moving to survive?) and they responded by threatening to sell the girls. You decided that men fighting in the name of Allah were crazy terrorists and they released a video acting even crazier than you accused them of being. But you forgot than when you show someone your fears, he will embody them to strike at your heart. Kidnapping girls is the new normal and you made it that way but showing your bias and how easy it was to rile you and possibly push the Nigerian government into a tough negotiation. Thanks #BringBackOurGirls, thanks to you, the most lucrative sought after target of any African rebel force is now live girls, preferably those rich enough to be going to a decent girls’ school. Hashtag that.
Masi is a blogger thinking African.
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