Saturday, 8 November 2014

And how exactly are we going to #Bringbackourgirls?

By Jotika C

Its an ordeal of 6 months and counting since April 14 for the 219 girls abducted in Chibok, Nigeria for being in School who unlike the other 57 very brave and slightly more fortunate young ladies managed to escape and reclaim their lives. The abduction that started in the guise of an attack on ‘western education’ has since turned to a religious battle and then to a barter of the girls with convicts associated with the terrorist organization. News-flows of the young girls being forced to change their faith, coerced into marriage and some raped coupled with little to zero positive response from the Nigerian Government and military who claim to be under resourced and stretched, lives seem stuck in a classic struggle with negotiations not going anywhere. 

Contrary to popular belief, #Bringbackourgirls campaign on social media did provide the much need traction, social pressure and international attention to this incident with a host of socially influential personalities weigh into the campaign, It seemed very unlikely at that point that this issue would outlive 6 weeks let along 6 months. However, it did. It was also tough to imagine a national military couldn’t take down a local terrorist group, however that has happened too.

Unfortunately, public memory is short lived both social pressure and international attention got divided between other pressing issues of the Islamic state extremism and Ebola. While Nigeria was offered support from various countries very little has indeed happened on the ground owing to low responsiveness of the Nigerian Government and diverted international attention/ resources. Although the attention on this has eroded, the activists and affected families continue to assemble at the Unity Fountain in the capital city of Abuja to garner support, despite facing tough grounds locally to be allowed to do so.

While the Government  maintains rescue operations are indeed in progress, the consensus is in dis-belief. The families of abducted young girls count on social media and resultant international pressure to greater action on this cause. Past 6 months are evidence to the fact that Nigeria’s domestic actions on this issue have been proved futile and the world needs a reminder….. we still need to #Bringbackourgirls

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