Boko Haram

Western Education is Forbidden.

The Taliban thrive because it is easy to endarken the mind than to enlighten it. It takes years to create the sort of mind that would think the Taliban are souce of good. But that is a self perpetrating cycle. It is harder to make a teacher or a doctor.

It takes 20 to 30 years to train one. It takes seconds to pull a trigger.

Enough triggers pulled means the minds of children and the health of people are yours. Only you have the medicine and only you have the textbooks. You can teach people whatever you want them to hear.

Boko Haram are the same. Create a Afghan Paradise of war and tribal feuds. Shake your fist at imagined slights and plot the deaths of people whose lives were little different to ours. They too want hope, love and stability.

230 girls are missing, sure some may say that roughly the same number of people went missing in that plane crash! Why do we care so much about that?

It’s simple. We all fly more. We see that as a much more real fear than this. Particularly in light of the puzzling behaviour of the plane and the subsequent knowledge that our cars are more traceable than planes because of an unwillingness to upgrade systems.

We don’t live in a world where Islamic Militants ambush and kidnap 250 odd girls, that’s far away in places like Nigeria. So we simply don’t know what to do or say. It’s why I am often mocked for writing up posts about war and deaths or reporting on things such as the deaths of MSF staff in the CAR (Central African Republic) after an attack on their clinic.

I know it’s not a nefarious plot by FTB to suppress my posts, but just the reality of how many people read this blog versus our layout issues. I know people may not see these posts. It doesn’t mean a population that doesn’t care.

What does it mean we can do?

Well frankly nothing. Sure you can sign a petition but what can Nigeria do about the Boko Haram? That’s like signing a petition against the Taliban. Twitter is great to get people pressurising the government of Nigeria but again the Boko Haram are not on twitter worrying about hash tags and retweets.

I fully accept that this post will do nothing apart from get more people who are angry about this nodding their heads.

The Boko Haram are operating in a lawless area of Nigeria utilising guerilla tactics to run an insurgency movement and utilisation of terrain. They do not engage forces of strength. Being an irregular army they have an advantage in seeing what is coming and what is not. This is similar to how the Taliban operates or how the Viet Cong operated.

They also have hostages. 230 of them. Now the question remains. We know the Boko Haram have no qualms about killing. So why do they need these girls alive. Sex Slaves? Wives? Hostages? None of the options are good. But whatever it is we have to help.

We have to. On a purely humanitarian status these are a 230 young girls who face an unknown future. We hypothesise about their faith but we don’t know. None of the options seem good. That alone drives us but there is more at stake here.

If this succeeds and the government of Nigeria backs down, there will be another attack and another. You cannot negotiate with something that is antithetical to any values you hold. If it fails then a lot of these young girls may come home. A lot may also die. We need to figure out a way to track these girls first and then remove them from the hands of the Boko Haram. This will require Nigeria to work with neighbouring governments and indeed experts on the ground. It will need a huge detail considering any force big enough to take 230 people is probably big enough to make a fight out of any attack.

To crush the spirit of women was one of the first major plans of the Taliban. Destroy their education, destroy their health and keep them at home. This is the same.

We must bring the girls home, the Boko Haram forced our hands but this isn’t just Nigeria’s problem. They are creating an Islamic State are not going to be progressive and will become another Somalia or Afghanistan. A post apocalyptic world where violent Islamic Jihadis can be trained and exported to create more Somalias and Afghanistans.

This is the world’s problem. Nigeria may lack the skills and equipment? Let’s help them out. Let’s put our runaway military budgets to some good use. Provide drone coverage to help track Boko movements. With thermal imaging we can see in the dark and stop the girls being smuggled. All we need is one lead an we can start hunting down the rest we should start looking in neighbouring countries too. We should also figure out how they moved so many girls.

We have technology, we should offer it to those who need it and the expertise to use it. This is for a good cause.

We have experts in sieges and hostage situations. We have people who communicated truces with the Taliban. We should have some capacity to push for their release. Let us use our expertise to help out.

Mine’s medicine and writing rambly posts. So while it pains me to not be able to help more? That’s what I will have to do because that is what I can do..


  1. smrnda says

    I often feel similarly helpless and useless given issues like this. As you said, nothing you can fix with a petition since it’s not an action of a stable, functioning government which can change a policy, not a problem where I could make a donation that would fix a problem.

    Agreed that we should have technology enough to do something, particularly the US.

  2. says

    Your last few paragraphs: That was the science fiction-inspired future I wanted to see develop from out technologies, not this spying on your own and starting wars based on lies stuff. And if the US military wants to wank around in their advertising claiming to be A Force For Good, well, go get ‘em, tiger. Hell, I’d be looking for higher paying jobs just to pay more taxes to a government like that.

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