Yesterday was 9/11…gratefully the year was 2014. It was ‘grateful’ because on 9/11/2001 the world had woken to a bright day like the ones before it, but slept agitated. Fitful sleeps plagued by nightmares of human body parts scattered around the twin towers, smells of blood, sniffles of tears, hysterics of unbelieving witnesses, and dead eyes of dazed-numb loved ones.
Yesterday was 13 years since the reign of religious terrorism made global headlines. It was also 150 days since Boko Haram- a sect of self-acclaimed Islamic adherents- kidnapped scores of teenage girls from their school in Chibok, Nigeria. Yesterday was therefore not so ‘grateful’, because only trickles of girls have escaped from the supposed stronghold of the Boko Haram in the Sambisa forest. Loved ones still slept with one eye open, the escaped girls still had nightmares of their friends and classmates begging rescue, many media houses forgot to count up, and President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s re-election campaign management had thought it sensible to bastardize #Bring Back our Girls# to tag his campaign #Bring Back GEJ. That the girls have not been brought back despite the long-running viral hashtag global campaign did not seem ‘omen’.
Discussing news yesterday that Boko Haram had taken over some parts of a Nigerian State, someone mentioned that parents of the abducted girls had said they did not want their children anymore. The discussants had interpreted the bit of incogitable information with prejudiced and flimsy inferences; none of which are worth repeating. I had thought them really interesting; making judgements whilst ensconed in their little balloons of safety and security, thousands of miles away from the massacre in the North. Then I had gone for a cup of coffee and plugged some Coldplay in my ears. I had kept thinking though:
Often, women who suffer miscarriages are faced with the trauma of losing the baby that never cried, who they never held, and that never called them “mother”; how much more would the trauma be for mothers who had done all these and more? What of fathers, brothers, sisters, family members who had armed themselves with clubs, dane guns, torchlights, sticks, and whatever else they could lay their hands upon to go find their precious little girl(s)? Who speaks of the President who did not so much as visit said Chibok until a UN teenage ambassador for girl-child education came to commiserate with the affected families? It had only been “oh no”, sad faces, and commiserate expressions each time news media had reported death after grief-induced death of some of the parents whose children were among the #234….
There have been theories, conspiracy theories, rumors, political accusations and counter political accusations… all sad, all disappointing. That 234 girls go missing and all we get are talk, talk, and more talk is… there just are no words to express that.
#Bring Back Our Girls#234 Stolen Dreams#Real Men Don’t Buy Girls# campaign was and still is one of the largest global media campaigns… probably since 9/11/2001. It is conceivable that it takes terror and sadness of large scales to unite the world; bearing our differences, interests and all what not. What is inconceivable and unforgivable is that the girls are still in the wrong place(s), and being subjected to things we don’t want to imagine. And that the President, a.k.a head of the armed forces, shamelessly said at a press conference when asked about the certainty of the girls being in the Sambisa forest “you (referencing pressmen) know more than I”.
Remember the Chibok girls, and contribute your effort-however little you think it is- to their rescue.
It is the burden of the living to remember.