Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Bring Back Our Girls: Praying for Nigeria's Stolen Girls
The world is outraged.
I am outraged.
Twitter and other social media outlets are ablaze with #Bringbackourgirls hashtags.
On April 15*, the day we Americans were consumed with getting our taxes mailed out, more than 300 teenage girls were abducted from the Chibok Government Girls Secondary School in northeast Nigeria. Today, it's been reported that 8 more girls have been kidnapped.
Like me, you may have wondered how so many girls could have been abducted at one time. According to USA Today, one of the reported 53 girls that escaped stated that the schoolgirls heard gunshots from a nearby town. Uniformed men posing as members of the Nigerian military arrived at the school, instructing the girls to go outside. These impostors were the kidnappers, members of an Islamic militant group named Boko Haram, which means "western education is a sin".
Boko Haram's leader, Abubakar Shekau, has admitted to the abductions on video and declared the girls slaves. According to unconfirmed reports, the girls are now being sold as brides for $12 each. Nigerians and people abroad have been outraged with the slow response of the Nigerian government. On live television, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan promised, "We will get them back, apprehend and punish the culprits."
The world will hold him to those words.
Shekau's belief - that girls should marry young and not be educated - has been evidenced in news from other regions as well. Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani teenage girl rose to world prominence after overcoming persecution for her beliefs that girls should have freedom of education. On Tuesday, October 9, 2012 after boarding her school bus, a gunman shot Malala in the head, the Taliban taking credit for this strike. Despite a difficult recovery, she has become a hero throughout her country and the world, representing resilience, human rights and freedom.
This recent history reminds us that the world is becoming amazingly and beautifully smaller. We not only care for the girls in our neighborhood, city and state. We care for girls halfway across the globe in Nigeria, kidnapped for the "crime" of attending school. We care for a young girl in Pakistan, nearly murdered for her belief that every young person - male or female - should have access to education.
The same access to education that our American teens take for granted, young people around the world are denied, and even murdered over.
May we cherish this basic liberty.
And may we continue to pray for our sisters around the world that are denied this basic liberty.
I'd like to suggest another hashtag, in addition to #Bringbackourgirls.
* Some news sources report the abduction date as March 14