All week I kept wondering, moaning quietly on and off, mainly to myself, why no one, no major news channel or online paper was covering this story in the way I thought they should.
And though it is not my regular blogging style and I do not feel adequately informed to do the subject justice, I thought that I should at least write what I could about an appalling injustice that does not seem to have received the urgent response it demands.
On the night of April the 14th, 230 Nigerian girls were taken form their boarding school in the northern state of Borno by the militant Islamic group Boko Haram. Boko Haram believe education to be a western influence that is harmful to the young people of Nigeria, especially its girls. In a news story that did make the BBC today, a Boko Haram leader has said, the girls should not be in school, they should be married, “God instructed me to sell them, they are His property and I will carry out his instructions”. This is the terrifying place where religious fundamentalism meets radical misogyny: words from an organisation who understand ,only too well, that real freedom for the poor of our world and especially for women, comes powerfully through the education of young people.
So why has the story remained in the shadows and why is so little done to find and release the girls?
We have always known that the missing person stories that make headlines are the ones where the children are pretty and blonde and come from middle class homes. We know that a professional person who has a break-down and leaves suddenly for no reason without a note will be more worthy of a newspaper article than an unemployed man form an anonymous council estate in just another city somewhere around the UK. And though his wife and children will lose sleep and make calls and wonder what they can possibly do, to do enough, most of us will never hear their story.
Selective news reporting reminding us that all people are valuable but some people, in our modern enlightened world, are more valuable than others. Some people make the news and some people miss the news. Some people miss the news when terrible things happen because they were born into the wrong place, didn’t study at the right universities, didn’t secure the esteemed corporate jobs in the high rise buildings that make up the skylines of the richest nations on earth. Some people miss the news because they were born on the wrong side of the gender divide , the wrong side of the poverty line, the unfortunate side of a north-south divide, citizens of a poverty stricken global south that covers most of our world.
We would not tolerate this if the story was 230 British school children.
Tonight I wonder where the girls are, who is with them and what comfort have they found. Are they waiting in the hope that someone is coming for them soon?
Tonight I would like to join my contributions of words, to the voices of others, who call for our governments and international bodies to help find these girls.
Please find these girls and secure their release so they can go home to their families.
If you are a praying person, please remember these girls before God.
If you are reading person, please find out more.
If you are a tweeting person, please share these stories using the #bringbackourgirls