Over 250 girls were kidnapped from their school on 14 April 2014 by Islamist extremist group Boko Haram in Nigeria. The world decided to forget about them for about two weeks because, until we felt that it had become worthy enough for our attention. I mean even their very own president Goodluck Jonathan only made an official statement two weeks after the girls went missing. This is nothing short of an utter shame, what was the world expecting? The girls would be delivered back with ribbons in their hair. These girls may have been kidnapped kilometres away in Nigeria, far from Zambia and yet we have a reason why we should care.
I have a young sister of similar age to the girls who have been kidnapped and like them she too is at a boarding school, I cannot even begin to imagine what I would do if I was told the next morning that some militia had kidnapped her. It is this very thought that to a small degree I am able to empathise with the hundreds of fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters who find themselves in this predicament. The Nigerian school girls were kidnapped by a group that has become notorious for bombing attacks in Nigeria on several occasions. It must have equally been painful for the parents of the girls to cry for the return of their daughters and yet no one paying attention to their plight. It was as if the world had grown tired of their problems.
There is a sense that the world is getting, if it is not already fatigued by all of the problems in Africa. Every day brings with it the same old problems over and over, even the news networks are running out of novel ways to present the challenges. What is further frustrating is that even after decades of independence African countries are still unable to render any assistance to their neighbours and other countries on the continent. African countries decided to add their voices to the plight of the girls when countries like the United States of America and the United Kingdom decided to get actively involved. Our government has sent a message of solidarity to the Nigerian government in the recent week.
I may never be in a position to understand what it is like living in a country that has Islamist extremist like Boko Haram, or to be afraid to go to the market for fear of what will blow up in my face. I may live in a country that does not witness kidnappings and hostage situations. I may also be getting tired of hearing of the world’s problems. However, now is not the time to forget these girls, we cannot believe that 200 girls somewhere in the forest is an unfortunate case. The girls did not ask to be kidnapped; they should not be punished for seeking an education.
On the other hand we should be angry at the Nigerian authorities for doing nothing earlier on when the girls were taken. We should be angry at our own African authorities for not saying a word or offering solutions to our brothers and sisters in this position. We should be angry at ourselves for changing the channel each time the story of the girls appeared on the news. I should be angry at me that it has taken one month before the girls story has featured on my blog. Until the girls are back home, may we not grow tired of requesting our authorities to do something and let the noise only get louder. You may begin by joining the Facebook Page Zambia Cares .