I have generally stayed out of the Boko Haram issue. Mainly because I really had nothing to say on the topic. I understand the problems with the Boko Haram in that they are similar to the Indian Naxalites, operating out of strongholds where there is an effective governmental black hole, but I also didn’t want to speculate.
It turns out that their leader likes supervillain rants and hamming it up, while they girls are hostages.
Now here is the thing? There is precious little we can do about this. We are in effect all “slacktivists”. Boko Haram kind of hates western influences. They aren’t worrying about the number of likes their page on Facebook is getting nor about twitter campaigns.
So it’s mainly for the people of Nigeria who want to see these girls back. It is standing in solidarity and showing them we are interested in the fate of these children.
And there are defenders of this.
See my take is rather simple. Mrs. Coulter is an oxygen thief. She literally exists to rob us of oxygen. Her insightful commentary reads like the fictitious writings of the old women who would take their knitting to the guillotine as a spectacle.
Mrs. Coulter is an odious vicious harpy whose sole role in life is to serve as an anti-role model. Children? You must good and behave or else one day you will be vapid idiot who doesn’t understand what being a decent person means.
But she has her defenders. See the thing is? She is being portrayed as sarcastic. To which I have to say? Humour and satire and sarcasm is generally done by the straight man. The person who is the only sane man in a mad world. Satire and Sarcasm bring to light the foibles of the majority and of the dominant.
When used to bludgeon the weakest and the poorest and most vulnerable? You don’t come off as whip smart and a champion of the weak.
But of a bully. A douchebag.
Everyone can breathe a sigh of relief. Our girls will be returned because Michelle Obama has tweeted a picture of herself looking sad and holding a sign.
On April 14, the Islamist fundamentalist militant group Boko Haram kidnapped more than 300 schoolgirls from a boarding school in northern Nigeria. On Monday, May 5, the group’s leader, a man named Abubakar Shekau, announced that he will be selling the girls as brides, declaring that “women are slaves.”
The Nigerian government’s reaction to the abduction has been, predictably, poor, to say the least. Nigeria’s president, Goodluck Jonathan, did not even address the kidnapping for two weeks after the event, and Jonathan’s wife has stated that the abductions are a farce designed to ruin her husband’s political career.
The Nigerian government’s blatant disregard for these young girls’ lives has, understandably, inspired rallies and protests throughout Nigeria. One Nigerian protester even started a hashtag, #BringBackOurGirls, which is currently trending all over the world, thankfully bringing awareness to this serious issue.
And how does the United States react to this terrible neglect of human rights, brought about by a group that is evil personified?
And what have you done that’s so amazing? The photograph is of Michelle Obama.
You do realise Michelle Obama has no real powers except for the fact she can probably ask the President of the USA to take the dog for a walk.
She’s famous cause she’s married to the President of the USA. She doesn’t really do anything, she wasn’t elected to any role in the USA. She’s kind of like the Queen of England in that she has little actual power. Shelly from Basingstoke has as much power as she does. Well technically. She can always ask the President directly unlike Shelly from Basingstoke.
But don’t worry, Michelle brought reinforcements:
“Holding up a sign that says something profound while looking solemn” is a popular trend in the Twitter-verse, especially on websites like The Huffington Post and BuzzFeed that specialize in “Click here!” journalism. The content tends to be short, often written in a “listicle” format. It features some kind of schmaltzy human-interest story or liberal political message, and the headlines often claim that the content of the article is “hauntingly beautiful” or “powerful” or will “take your breath away” or “make your day.”
Oh no! People are holding up signs! Rather than what? I don’t see any gung ho Republicans offering to go wrestle the Boko Haram into submission? The NRA were all talk and no trousers considering I know actual people who work in the regions or who are from regions affected by the insurgency.
It is also kind of hypocritical to be pointing out slacktivism from behind the safety of your own slacktivism. I mean none of these four people are capable of doing anything.
Except bringing Sexy Back.
Social-media strategists will tell you that these websites turn out obscene amounts of this kind of content per day to generate more page views, and whenever these websites want to pretend that they are producing meaningful news, they stick a few twenty-somethings in front of a camera, tell them to look sad, and give them a sign to hold.
This trend is the perfect blend of the social-media generation’s laziness and the need to belong to something. In fact, when ABC News reported Michelle Obama’s sign-holding, the headline read, “Michelle Obama Joins #BringOurGirlsBack Movement on Twitter.” Since when does tweeting a picture of yourself qualify as “joining” anything? Is this really the best the government of the most powerful country in the world can come up with in response to this abuse of human rights? Tweeting a pop-culture reference? Holding up a sign is the Internet mavens’ way of pretending that they care about an issue, but not enough to actually do something about it.
So you want people like me to give up our actual projects and move to Nigeria where we don’t speak the language, have little idea over the culture and pursue a heavily armed gang of murderous fuckheads to rescue these girls. I think you watch too much TV. Sieges with hostages tend to end poorly. A lot of them with dead hostages. In addition? Nigeria doesn’t wish to look weak so is unlikely to accept “American” help. Not when it would be safer to accept something like “French” help. In addition?
The sheer number of hostages held means that they are unlikely to be held in one place (over 150 girls still remain hostage) since they have had ample time to be split up. So any rescue will have to hit multiple sites in force and rescue the girls then withdraw safely. This cannot be over land but must be via air. Not everyone has the technology and capacity to do such an attack.
And as anyone will point out? The more complicated your plan the more things that can go wrong and usually the more simple things can go wrong.
I am not qualified to be on the ground for this. I can help with aftermath but frankly I know my limits. I do have ex-soldiers who can do the job. And indeed a variety of people are on the ground.
Now here is the thing. For all off Ann and indeed Christine Sisto’s bluster, I know that the USA despite having fantastic technology cannot keep it’s border secure and that both North and South are pretty porous.
I can categorically say? Justin Trousersnake up there is quite possibly the last person you should be bringing to solve the Boko Haram Kidnapping issue. Ann Coulter is definitely the last person to be called on for her skills as professional haver of a disease I like to call “Foot in Mouth Syndrome”.
If Michelle Obama had held up that sign and then scheduled a trip to Nigeria, or spoken to the families of the kidnapped students, or met with President Jonathan, urging him to take action, or donated some of her personal money to a Nigerian non-profit, her gesture might have been credible. Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani girl who was shot by the Taliban for advocating for women’s education, also posted a picture to the Malala Fund’s Twitter page of herself brandishing a sign with the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag. But she did it to advertise the fact that the fund is donating 100 percent of its profits go to “local Nigerian nonprofit organizations focused on education and advocacy for girls and women.” Clearly, a 16-year-old girl has upstaged the first lady of the United States.
Malala would think you are kind of a douche.
You see? Not everyone can donate massive money, not everyone can donate massive time and not everyone should. Why the hell do I want money to support my charity drives for both myself and indeed ASTI from minimum wage workers in the USA? They should keep the money for themselves! Help themselves first.
But Obama’s wife? See I don’t think she can use her personal wealth. Not without Ann Coulter claiming that she is giving money to Terrorists or some idiotic birther claim. In fact? I believe she may have given money much like the dozens of people who have donated money under the cloak of anonymity.
Not all people wish to tell others that they are giving money. One of the nicest MASH episodes was where Maj. Winchester gives a huge amount of toys to the kids of an orphanage under the cover of darkness. To him charity isn’t to be recognised. And he also demonstrates what real charity is. All those toys and sweets were more useful as barter to keep the orphanage in food than as toys and sweets. That is the very problem of charity donations by people who think they are doing “good” and doing things half cocked.
The fake pout and poster with no action is a silly Internet trend that should never have been used for a situation as grave as this one. In fact, it is a downright insult to the families of the young girls who were abducted. Imagine if you told a close friend that your daughter had been kidnapped and her response was to text you a picture of herself holding a sign that read, “I’m so sorry to hear that!”
Neither is shooting it down. Your demand is people don’t show solidarity unless they personally go there to Nigeria which is daft.
And you are treating random strangers on the Internet as Close Family. Michelle Obama is not that either. This is nothing like texting your friend and getting that back. This is like losing your son and having hundreds of thousands of people wish you good luck and say that they are rooting for your son to come back. It may not be as useful as the trained professionals doing something but it is what you can do and what you can spare.
Once again, the Obama administration has proved that it is all “coolness” and no substance. Maybe we should start calling it the BuzzFeed administration.
Bit Rich Coming From Someone Who Has Done Even Less. That’s an awfully high horse you rode in on for someone not doing anything really and crapping on people trying to do something no matter how pointless to show that they care.
But oh yes. Ann Coulter? Oxygen Thief.
Oh you need to know why?
For using a major tragedy and the political upheaval of another country to curry political points while understanding nothing about International Politics or indeed the local situation. The finest sort of thinking that dragged us into a war where we just killed distressing number of people, damaged our military’s capacity to respond and burnt money.
And the absolute worst thing is the fact I have to explain to people out here what an Ann Coulter is.
I am going to tell them that if they don’t eat their vitamins or get their vaccines, the Ann Coulter will eat their brains.