In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past month, Nigeria based terrorist group Boko Haram has been holding almost 300 Nigerian girls hostage with plans to marry them off for a sum of $12 a pop to various members and sympathizers of their organization. You can read more about this here and here. I won’t waste your time rehashing details you are likely familiar with.
What I am here to say is that #BringBackOurGirls is an extremely important campaign and one that needs laser-point focus. We need to promote #BringBackOurGirls for the health and welfare of these young Nigerian girls. Period. Derailing to highlight what you consider to be an important cause is a cheap shot at best. For examples of derailing, please see here and here. Let me highlight one that came through on RI Future’s own Steve Alhquist’s blog about Friday’s Bring Back Our Girls rally in Providence.
While I sympathize with your…. Actually you know what? No. I’m not going to be nice about this.
Allow me to educate you on derailment, although you seem to (unconsciously?) be an expert at it. Derailment is when you take away from a cause to bring the point back to yourself and your opinions on something unrelated. See what I’m getting at here? I mean really, Ryan? Guantanamo Bay?
I get your outrage. I really do. I too take issue with Guantanamo Bay and the treatment of prisoners there. I understand that while I care about this issue, I can also (at the very same time!) care about what happens to over 200 innocent girls in West Africa. The focus in this very moment needs to be on how we can help bring back these girls from the grips of terrorism. This is an urgent situation that requires more than commenting upon. It requires action.
So, Ryan. I am asking you a favor. I feel like I can do that now.
Now is not the time for statements about how you think Boko Haram might “feel” about the US. Now is the time for action and support of the Nigerians who are actively fighting to bring the girls home.
Here’s some things you can do. Yes you, Ryan.
1. Follow the Official Twitter Page of #BringBackOurGirls here. Tweet when they ask and signal boost for them.
2. Sign the White House Petition asking for further action and supporting UN efforts in Nigeria.
3. Stop conflating what you feel with actual facts. These are the facts: There is almost nothing we can do to help these girls besides signal boosting the activists on the ground and supporting the work of US groups with ties to Nigeria, like the Nigerian Community of Rhode Island. These are the people who know the situation best. Let’s help them spread the word.
4. Keep these girls in the forefront of discussion. Every day until they are returned to their families.
Remember: These are not just human rights we are philosophizing about here. These are innocent girls who were trying to get an education when they were forcefully and brutally kidnapped. Their schools were burned. People are dying. Let’s do something, anything to help fight these acts before more people are affected.