As a young child, I was encouraged to be ambitious and to dream about my future. It was through those dreams that I created a portrait of what I wanted to do with my life. There were no limits. One day I wanted to be a zoologist because I loved animals. Another day I wanted to be an archeologist because I wanted to discover ancient ruins. Another day I wanted to be a mortician because of an episode of the I Love Lucy television show. I believed I could do it all because my parents and relatives were supportive of my bright future. They actually encouraged this unbridled thinking.
So, I can’t imagine what might be going through the minds of the nearly 300 young school girls who have been kidnapped and are being held hostage by Boko Haram—a terrorist group that believes women should not be educated. But it goes beyond that. Boko Haram has threatened to make the girls servants—revenge for Nigerian security forces capture of some of their wives and children (Duthiers, Karimi, & Botelho, 2014).
So far, some girls have been able to escape, but they live in fear. In one report, a young girl recalled how she was awakened in the middle of the night by uniformed men who deceived her into thinking they were going to help her. She followed them out of her boarding school only to watch in horror while they set her school on fire (Montagne, 2014).
People everywhere are taking a stand against Boko Haram. Some are soliciting prayers, and social media is buzzing with pictures and hashtags. The Sean Penn, Ashton Kutcher, Justin Timberlake, and Bradley Cooper pictures of them holding the sign Real men don’t buy girls have been shared over and over again. With #BringBackOurGirls posted and reposted by Michelle Obama, Chelsea Clinton, and Queen Latifah among so many others, I realized these girls are no longer Nigeria’s girls; they are our girls. And I am hopeful that because these girls have become our girls, enough people will pray, stir up support, and join forces to rescue them.
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The Memory Keepers' Daughter,
Duthiers, V., Karimi, F. & Botelho, G. (2014). CNN world. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2014/04/24/world/africa/nigeria-kidnapping-answers/
Montagne, R. (2014). npr. Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/2014/05/07/310300812/kidnapped-nigerian-school-girl-escapes-talks-about-ordeal