It has now been 25 days as I sit and write this post since over 200 Nigerian girls were kidnapped from a school in that country and carried off into the forest. No real word was heard of their whereabouts until recently, when the terrorist group Boko Haram admitted that they had committed this act. Boko Haram is a radical islamist group which fears Western education, and it justifies its actions by saying that the girls should be married instead of going to school. Subsequent announcements by Boko Haram now make clear their intention to ‘marry’ the girls or sell them. A few things must be said about this.
This crime has been perpetrated before, and in this very region of the world. A couple of centuries ago it was Africans kidnapping and selling Africans to Europeans. Now it is African men kidnapping and selling African girls, but at the heart of the matter it is the same thing. The terrorists counter that the sale price is the ‘bride price’ which is customary when a girl is married in that part of the world anyway, but this is a hideous perversion of the Nigerian process of marriage and family life. Boko Haram is not facilitating marriage. They are engaging in slave trading and rape.
And where is the appropriate world outrage for this act? Curiously it is for the most part absent. There are many people, women and men alike, disgusted by this crime. I know this because Twitter and Facebook are humming with condemnations of the cowards of Nigeria. Where are the denunciations by heads of state? Where is the African Union? More importantly, where are the denunciations by the Muslim world? Boko Haram calls itself a Muslim organization, and if any outside group has any chance of making them see the horror of what they are doing it would be fellow Muslims.
The most effective moral push-back to this outrage should come from Muslim religious leaders. Prominent and respected imams should issue a moral judgement called a ‘fetwa’ declaring that this crime is not the act of a true Muslim. Such pronouncements carry great weight in the Islamic world. A concurrent fetwa declaring that no true Muslim could buy one of the girls would be of considerable value as well. Unfortunately no such pronouncement has been made by any Muslim religious leader to my knowledge. An implication could be made that this practice is consistent with Muslim values. I am not saying that it is so, only that the absence of comment on such a monstrous event can only bring shame upon the religion of the perpetrators who do what they do in the name of their religion. The silence speaks volumes.
One final comment is in reality an exercise in fantasy. The terrorists are in fact cowards. They crawl around in shadows, plant bombs, attack schools and churches and kidnap teenage girls. They haven’t the courage to fight soldiers face to face, but I think that such an engagement should be arranged. I would love to see the intelligence capabilities of the Western nations combined to fine the ratholes where these cowards are hiding, and then infiltrate the area with specially trained American service women. It would be a fitting touch to see Boko Haram get its ass kicked by female soldiers, and to have the Nigerian girls rescued by butt-whipping American women soldiers.
I know, it’ll never happen. Not because it couldn’t be done, but because our leaders would never pull that trigger. We all know however that those Boko Haram clowns would never show their cowardly faces again after limping their wounded and bleeding selves back into the bush, knowing that they cannot stand up to a good woman.