Thursday, 15 May 2014

How we can all help #BringOurGirlsBack

By Jotika C

Even when there’s not too much we do too there is still a little something we can do….
Its week # 4 since over 270 young girls have been abducted from their school in Chibok, located in the north eastern Nigeria in the name of condemning the so called ‘Western’ Education after an open raid on a school on April 14 with threats to sell the girls for slavery. In the name of whatever we call our God, which God or religion can one imagine to be small hearted enough to think of any education form as  more ‘Haram’ [forbidden] than kidnapping children, disrespecting families and young girls by keeping them captive for weeks, attacking their modesty by threatening to sell them. This crosses all thresholds of being disgusting when personal agenda belittles the name of God and Religion. 
We live in the era of social networking and times lines; here is the timeline on this incident:
April 14: Threats made to kidnap girls.
April 15: Over 100 girls reported missing.
April 17: Over 230 girls registered missing.
April 23:  First time #BringBackOurGirls used by UN officials.
April 29: Malala Yousafzai speaks with BBC Radio about the abducted girls in Nigeria requesting for support from the international communities.
April 30: Girls reported being sold at $12. Since then, there has been a spike in international tweets mentioning #BringBackOurGirls in response to girls being sold as slaves. One Million Women March in Abuja, Nigeria, including mothers and families of missing girls, women from Chibok, and hundreds of Nigerians in protest about government and military response. Online Petitions begin to pressure international organisations send aid to Nigerian military.
May 1: Social media campaign takes off in U.S. with celebrities tweeting to #BringBackOurGirls. It was tweeted 268,616 times
May 5: Boko Haram publishes a video taking responsibility of the abduction and threatening to sell the girls on international “human market.” There have been reports of some girls dying of snake bites and some being ill.
May 12: Another video was posted demanding release of captive militants in exchange of the abducted girls but without any indication of initiating a dialogue or negotiation as the Nigerian government was hoping. The said video shows girls in grey veils chanting Islamic verses. While 2 girls were singled out and interviewed post their alleged conversion from Christianity to Islam.
Social networks when we need to be connected the most:
We do owe credit to all the hours we spend online that it has made the world so small where the Nigerian victims have been able to mobilize support from people across the globe. There have been numerous protests worldwide against the abduction, government’s response and in support of the missing girls and their families all over social media. While the Nigerian Government conducts the rescue operation there’s nothing most of us can do except becoming ‘Hashtag activists’.
#BringBackOurGirls has been tweeted over 1.5 million times. Increasing interactions on this cause have been counting as visibly increasing international support and pressure towards this cause which has led to the Nigerian government accepting International help. As per reports by BBC the UK, the US, France and China have deployed help on the ground to aid intelligence gathering, counter-terrorism and hostage negotiations.
As we wait and hope the rescue operations do indeed Bring Our Girls Back safe and soon, there is still a little something we can do to #BringOurGirlsBack.

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