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Commentary: Alas, kidnapping schoolgirls is the least of African crimes against humanity
Published on May 9, 2014 Email To Friend    Print Version

By Anthony L Hall

I mean, what are we to make of a ragtag bunch of wannabe Islamists, calling themselves Boko Haram, kidnapping over 250 ‘mostly Christian’ girls from a school in Nigeria to sell as child brides (in border countries) -- simply because these ignoramuses think Western education is evil and, moreover, that girls should not be educated? And what of the Africans who traffic African migrants into Europe the way South Americans traffic illegal drugs into the United States?

At the very least, this conjures up the inconvenient truth that, in far too many cases, Europeans did not enslave Africans so much as buy them from their fellow Africans as ‘chattel’ (aka personal property).

(“‘Another African Famine?! Nobody Cares!’ Then Call Me Nobody,” The iPINIONS Journal, May 2, 2014)

Anthony L. Hall is a Bahamian who descends from the Turks and Caicos Islands. He is an international lawyer and political consultant - headquartered in Washington DC - who also publishes a current events weblog, The iPINIONS Journal, at
With media of every stripe screaming headlines this week about Boko Haram kidnapping another 11 girls in Nigeria, one could be forgiven for thinking that kidnapping schoolgirls is becoming epidemic in Africa.

But, sadly, these kidnappings are nothing new. What’s more, they are the least of what plagues Africa. I refer you to the May 2 commentary cited above, in which I condemn African leaders for using starvation as a weapon of tribal warfare, for example.

My heart truly aches for the affected parents and, naturally, even more so for their kidnapped schoolgirls.

But I cannot help thinking that the grief and fear these kidnappings evoke must pale in comparison to the grave emotions genocidal killings and forced mass starvation elsewhere in Africa evoke. Yet, where’s the outrage?

Of course, I appreciate Westerners venting outrage over Boko Haram kidnapping hundreds of schoolgirls to sell as child brides and sex slaves.

I abducted your girls. I will sell them in the market, by Allah… God instructed me to sell them, they are his properties and I will carry out his instructions.

(Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau, BBC, May 5, 2014)

I’m just all too mindful that these are the same Westerners who vented similar outrage over Lord’s Resistance Army kidnapping tens of thousands of schoolgirls and schoolboys to serve as sex slaves and child soldiers — not necessarily respectively. And their initiation into the LRA often requires them to execute an order to kill family members to prove and ensure their undivided loyalty.

Remember when the “#stopkony2012” viral campaign made expressing concern for the “invisible children” the LRA kidnapped an article of our shared humanity? Indeed, social media-driven outrage forced the United States to make quite a show of pledging to help Uganda bring the LRA to justice.

Yet Kony and his child soldiers remain as menacing today as they were back then.

Invisible Children’s entire campaign smacks of little more than a feel-good PR stunt (perhaps even a misleading ploy to raise funds for administrative rather than charitable purposes). In fact, I would wager a fair amount of my pride that if you were to ask Rihanna and any of her followers a week from today who Joseph Kony is, they would react as if you asked what the Higgs Boson is….

(“Tweeting the Genocidal Joseph Kony to Death,” The iPINIONS Journal, March 8, 2012)

Therefore, I hope folks bear this in mind; that is, if they aren’t too busy tweeting about the outrage du jour to wonder about the real-world impact of the “#bringbackourgirls2014” viral campaign. Especially given that social media-driven outrage has already forced the United States to make quite a show of pledging to help Nigeria bring Boko Haram to justice.

Frankly, I hope I can be forgiven the expectation that all of today’s condemnation of Boko Haram, as well as concern about the fate of these schoolgirls, will soon prove every bit as fleeting as the latest viral story to metastasize from social media into the mainstream media.

And, once again, Western concerns about African crimes against humanity will fade to black.

Related commentaries:
Another African famine
Tweeting Joseph Kony

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