Presidents differ in #BringBackOurGirls attitudes


By Carmen Glover

U.S. President Barack Obama authorized 80 military forces to be deployed to Chad to conduct aerial searches and intelligence in the effort to rescue the close to 300 Nigerian school girls who were abducted six weeks ago by the Islamist terror groupBoko Haram. Conversely, Nigerian PresidentGoodluck Jonathan refused to meet with scores of protestors who marched to the presidential home on Thursday, leaving a representative to deliver a stern rebuke instead, the Associated Press reported.

nigerian president
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan seems indifferent to the plight of the kidnapped girls.

Thursday’s protest was a coordinated effort, with many schools closed across the country in order to keep the spotlight on the #BringBackOurGirls campaign. The protests were also organized to voice displeasure about President Jonathan’s tepid efforts to secure the girls’ rescue as well as mass murders of innocent civilians in the country by the terror group.

men get involved
Male supporters make their voices heard as the uncertainty grows about the girls’ well-being.

While some Americans have argued that President Obama should send “boots on the ground” to augment the aerial crew that he committed to the search and rescue efforts, President Jonathan has been universally chastised for his slow, and seeming nonchalance in speaking out against the abductions and mass murders or coordinating efforts to rescue the girls. Indeed, he was vilified for rejecting the United States’ offer of help when it was initially offered, until he reversed himself due to public outcry.

women rally in Nigeria
Women continue to wear red and lead the effort in organizing rallies in Nigeria and around the world.

Meanwhile, another week begins and the fate of the girls as well as the fear struck in the hearts of the other residents who are being killed with impunity, continues unchecked.–

#BringBackOurGirls is the global cry this Mother’s Day

mothers weep for their girls

Nigerian mothers weep for their  daughters who were kidnapped nearly one month ago.

By Carmen Glover

Today is Mother’s Day, a day when mothers typically revel in the joys of parenting. But for the mothers in Chibok, Nigeria, whose 276 daughters were kidnapped by members of the Boko Haram, an Al Qaeda-trained Islamist group, today is not a happy day.

While the initial 276 girls have yet to be found, another 9 were kidnapped on Monday, as the leader of Boko Haram, Abubaker Shekau, gleefully threatened to sell the girls into slavery or forced marriage for $12 each. On May 15, exactly one month will have passed since the 276 Nigerian girls were kidnapped from their school and close to two weeks will have passed since the additional 9 girls were taken. The kidnapped girls range in age range from 9 to 18.

girls protest

The pained and saddened faces of girls as they bravely protest the kidnappings.

“I will sell your girls,” said Abubaker Shekau, the group’s leader, mockingly waving his fingers in the camera with impunity. “I sell women. I will sell them for $12.”

Shekau and his members have unleashed a reign of violence and terror in Nigeria for the past four years, ramping up their exploits in the recent months, published reports indicate. The name of the terrorist organization Boko Haram means “Western education is sinful,” and the group has rampaged across Nigeria murdering innocent civilians and kidnapping children in a bold quest to convert the residents to their way of thinking or punish them for daring to reject such extremism.

mothers wail in despair

Nigerian mothers weep and wail in despair, consumed by grief and uncertainty about the fate of their beloved daughters.

As global attention coalesces around the #BringBackOurGirls campaign, mothers in Nigeria can take some solace this Mother’s Day that the world is finally paying attention and making concerted efforts to find their kidnapped daughters and bring them home. However, while other mothers celebrate with their children this Mother’s Day, the mothers of the kidnapped girls in Nigeria weep. Some mothers across the globe will weep too, cognizant of the fact that their daughters were spared such an awful fate, merely due to their geographic location.

mothers protest

Pain and anger are emotions that are visibly etched on the face of this protestor .

U.S. President Barack Obama sent a team of security experts on Friday to Nigeria to provide intelligence and specialized support to the Nigerian Army in the effort to rescue the girls. Britain, France and China also sent experts to the region and it would not be surprising if more countries decide to provide aid of some kind. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, who has been reviled by his people as being too slow to act, offered a $300,000 reward for information leading to the location of the girls and said “everything must be done,” to bring them back safely, because “as a father I feel pains.”

U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama joins the movement.

U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama joins the movement and poses with her sign.

Delivering her first solo message this weekend, First Lady Michelle Obama said that both the she and President Obama “are outraged and heartbroken by the kidnappings,” which she called “unconscionable.” She added, “We can only imagine the anguish their parents are feeling right now.” Earlier in the week, she posed with her #BringBackOurGirls poster, making it clear that the issue resonated with her as the mother of two girls.

Children have played a vital role in publicizing the plight of the kidnapped girls.

Children have played a vital role in  joining their parents to publicize the plight of the kidnapped girls.

Last weekend, social media was ablaze and exploded as online news organizations and people who care sent the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag trending. Social media users showed their disgust with the lack of solid action in the wake of the mass kidnappings. The unrelenting #BringBackOurGirls movement has garnered international attention and forced Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan to publicly state that he will take action to secure the girls’ safe return. But his actions have been viewed with skepticism by Nigerian nationals, especially since he declined international help for so long, further endangering the girls’ lives.

Protestors have been vocal, vigilant and steadfast in their efforts.

Protestors have been vocal, vigilant and steadfast in their efforts.

It does not help President Jonathan’s case that Amnesty International asserted on Friday that the Nigerian government was warned that the Boko Haram troops were targeting the area hours before the girls were taken, but nothing was done. Reports have also emerged to suggest that the terrorist groups could be better armed and more motivated than the official government forces, which makes preserving the safety of the country’s residents very problematic.

Women protest and grieve for their kidnapped daughters.

Women protest and grieve for their kidnapped daughters.

“They have accepted our help through a combination of military, law enforcement and other agencies,” President Obama told news outlets earlier last week. Describing the terroristic acts of Boko Haram he said; “They’ve been killing people ruthlessly for many years now. This might be the event that helps to mobilize the entire international community to finally do something against this horrendous organization.”

Heartbroken fathers, uncles, brothers, cousins and supporters take action.

Heartbroken fathers, uncles, brothers, cousins and supporters take action.

For almost one month these mothers and their families have been in profound, indescribable pain that knows no limit. The sense of helplessness felt by the men in those families, wracked with guilt, anger and despair that they were unable to protect their innocent little girls is unimaginable.

For mothers who are able to hug their daughters today and celebrate the joys of motherhood, it is important to take some time to say a prayer for the safe return of all those abducted girls because their safety could depend on it. –  

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