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May 01 2014

Bring Back Our Girls: African Agency & the Kidnapping of Nigerian School Girls

In the post, “Everyone is an Expert on Nigeria Now” blogger Atane discusses African political agency and why Western takes on the recent kidnapping of Nigerian school girls in Chibok by Islamist terrorist organization Boko Haram reek of paternalism:

1. After the news broke that some of the kidnapped girls had been taken across the border into Cameroon and Chad, and some might have been forced into marriage, one of the most disgusting things I read was from someone going on about “Nigerian culture”. This person went on to say that this is normal in Nigeria. Yes, they were serious. If it isn’t clear by now, no it isn’t normal in Nigeria to storm schools with guns and kidnap young girls, take them deep into the bush, hold them against their will, rape them and then traffic them into neighboring countries as your new forced teen brides. WTF?

How can anyone insinuate that this is “Nigerian culture”? I’m sure people in Iraq and Afghanistan and those from Iraq and Afghanistan in the US were constantly in a state of uneasiness and anger by the outright lies propagated about their country by some westerners. I understand this feeling now. This is where I am at the moment. I’m angry. These people saying these awful things don’t understand that they are dealing with human lives. These are people. Your lies and distortion has an affect on public perception and day to day life. Ignorant people also imbibe this nonsense and it will shape their beliefs and ideology about people they don’t know and places they have never been. It’s why my former neighbor who is a Sikh had to prop up a US flag after 9/11, because he wears a turban and didn’t want to be assaulted by the roving gangs of white dudebros who wanted to exact revenge on any brown person they saw. The flag didn’t help him because he was still accosted and harassed. His store was vandalized several times.

2. Stop using Nigeria as a stepping stone for your talking points…More @ http://atane.tumblr.com/post/84316429194/everyone-is-an-expert-on-nigeria-now

5 comments

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  1. 1
    CaitieCat, getaway driver

    I think in many ways, it being a story set in Nigeria allows people to indulge their racism without having to say “Black”. They’re the same slurs, the same ignorant stereotypes, used against Blacks within the Western cultures whence these criticisms are coming: “they” don’t look after their kids, they’re all sexual at early ages, they’re closer to bestial in this regard, savages, uncivilized…the criticizers are gleeful because they can get to share all their racist fantasies without being attacked for being racist (as we know, the single worst thing that can happen to a human being is to be called racist), and have their ignorant friends nod along like bobbleheads.

    Xenophobia disgusts me.

  2. 2
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    Really? I thought it was something something they did every year at this time, as a staged festival. Even the parents out of their minds with worry and grief is just part of the holiday.

    So, how long was it before most western media covered this atrocity? And how long did it take before people made comments like this? If you’re pissed, who can blame you. Not I. And here in the States, being pissed about this, I can actually do something about it if I hear some idiot say something so ridiculous. Unlike in Nigeria, where I can’t do anything to help these girls and young women, but I can only feel sick about it.

    It’s all outrageous.

  3. 3
    Great American Satan

    Getting slightly off topic, shit like this makes me think everyone in the world (especially europeans+americans) needs to learn more about everyone else, even if it’s just the travelogue version. I can name bits of info about all the large western european countries – these things are common knowledge here. But one difference between Honduras and Ecuador? Between Côte d’Ivoire and Congo? Nope.

    Having at least a cursory idea of what the different countries of Africa actually are like, this could help us see the place as anything other than a weird wild bogeyland full of terrorists, savages in loincloths, and starving christian children who need us to make Sally Struthers rich.

    That’s a whole big-ass continent full of intelligent modern people (plus some crappy jerks, but same here), and it’s nothing but tourism and self-aggrandizing charity to us.

  4. 4
    dickspringer

    I have a somewhat unsavory but practical suggestion. If the girls really are for sale, why don’t we buy them in order to save them?

  5. 5
    CaitieCat, getaway driver

    dickspringer, for the same reason you don’t negotiate with terrorists or hostage-takers: you make it a successful strategy, if you give in far enough to negotiate like that. It then moves from crime to grey-market business, with an identifiable return on the investment, and most likely a lucrative enough return to make the crime a very attractive one in a region hard-pressed economically.

    You get back these girls, maybe, but you also then put a price on the head – a semi-legitimate price – on every other girl in that country, and probably others nearby.

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