This is what we should all want this Mother’s Day: Bring back our girls.
I wasn’t going to add to the voices posting on personal blogs about the girls gone missing in Nigeria until I was reminded—once again—that if we don’t collectively raise our voices when others are silenced, then who will? And after seeing this chilling video on CNN this morning, I couldn’t not write something about the girls.
They are my sisters, they are my daughters.
Maybe hundreds, thousands, millions all singing the same chorus is what’s needed to raise the profile enough so that these precious girls are not forgotten.
And so I add my lament.
If this abduction had happened in Seattle or Sydney we’d be seeing 24/7 coverage on news channels and breaking news interruptions during regular entertainment programming. People would be rushing to gather their families and congregations to pray, social media would be saturated with articles and posts and hashtags uniting the public’s voice in righteous fury and demand for swift action, and multiple arms of government would be out in full force tracking these kidnappers, human traffickers, murderers down.
When a Malaysian aircraft carrier recently went down carrying roughly the same amount of people, twenty-six nations rallied to the tune of millions of dollars to uncover the mystery. For weeks I watched news coverage—daily—with fascination and sorrow as the whole thing unfolded. I prayed with the rest of the world that this plane and those dear ones would be found.
But this? Teenage girls in the bosom of Africa kidnapped by militants to be sold into slavery, raped of their dignity and future? Three weeks in and we’re just now beginning to hear the international uproar.
I’m outraged—boiling in fact—and I’m in shock that something like this not only can happen underneath our noses, but that the perpetrators of such violence and inhumanity can laugh in the face of opposition. (See the video of the alleged leader’s message here.)
Even as I write this (admittedly in anger) my fingers shake and my heart pounds as I blink back the tears of rage, confusion, and heartbreak. On my facebook page when I implored others to share and pray into this situation, someone actually urged me to “stop interrupting their way of life.”
Violence and terror is no way of life and I’ll be damned if I ignore injustice and perpetuate a “not my problem” attitude.
Because friends, this is so our problem.
These hundreds of girls stolen by extreme Islamic terrorists in the dead of the night and faced with being sold as child brides in the name of Allah* for $12 a precious head? This is only the straw that has broken the camel’s back. The extremist group Boko Haram (loosely translated as “Western education is sin”) is responsible for horrific acts of violence to the tune of thousands of lives murdered in cold blood, and then they’ve gone on to flaunt it, as if the world won’t even care. (AND HELLO, DOES THE WORLD CARE??) The girls gone missing is no isolated incident, but hopefully it’s enough to outrage us and spur us into action.
Oh God, forgive us. But first, rescue them.
There’s no reason for me to regurgitate what’s already being reported through news channels. (If you’d like more info read reports on BBC or CNN.) But I do want to use this little online platform to garner others to action as much as I possibly can.
Here are four ways you can help bring back our girls:
1. Sign // Sign the online petition to implore the Obama Administration to intervene and this one or this one imploring the Nigerian president to action. (How about all three?)
2. Speak // Raise your voice on social media using the hashtag #bringbackourgirls.
3. Report // Report the Boko Haram page on facebook as inappropriate. Warning: extremely graphic images. DO NOT open with children in view. (I’m not sure how to do this on a phone/ipad, but from a desktop/laptop you should see three dots to the right of the friend request/message options near the top of the page. Click on the dots and then select “report” from there.)
4. Pray // Pray for a miracle, for intervention, for calloused hearts to soften and the grip of terrorists to loosen. Pray for governments to spring to action and for investigators to have divine inspiration to know which way to turn as they search and dig for answers. Pray for surrounding nations to tighten their security so these girls can’t be smuggled across their borders. Pray for protection. Pray for supernatural peace to smother the terror. Pray for strength amidst brokenness. Pray for rescue, for redemption, for evil to be overcome by good. Pray for God’s kingdom come in Nigeria and every area that these militants are instilling intimidation and igniting terror. Pray for the hearts of parents and grandparents and siblings and friends that are breaking into a million pieces with each day that passes as their girls remain lost. And pray for these dear girls—each one named and loved by God—that they would be rescued and restored and given the life they so desperately deserve.
I generally make it a rule to not write (and immediately publish) in anger but am breaking my own rule today because this issue is just that important (the video footage pushed me right over the edge) and I think we should be angry and let our anger drive us to action.
Please join me in raising your voice to #bringbackourgirls. It’s what every woman should want for Mother’s Day this year.
It’s what every human should want for today.
*Although Boko Haram is claiming these acts as according to Allah’s will, Muslims by and large absolutely do not stand with this kind of gross militant abuse and extremism. They are as horrified as the next person and should not be lumped together and labeled along with these terrorists. Mass stereotyping does not help bring our girls back. And let’s not forget, these are their daughters, their granddaughters, their sisters and nieces, too.
Update – May 6, 2014: Reuters reports 8 more girls between 12-15 abducted by Boko Haram overnight in northeastern Nigeria.
P.S. Need more? Here is a wonderfully thorough post written about some of the why and how surrounding this crisis by Kristen Howerton on her personal blog. And if you want more fuel for prayer but don’t quite know what to say, please read Sarah Bessey’s #bringbackourgirls prayer – read it aloud in agreement and breath AMEN as you do.
Stella Damasus speaks on the abducted Nigerian girls: