In Mandera, 28 people were pulled off a bus and executed. They were on their way home for Christmas. 36 more were pulled out of their tents and shot dead. Their crime? Being different from their attackers. It seems in today’s world, any difference can get you killed. Being male, female, black, white, Christian, Muslim. In the wrong part of town, it can get you raped, hurt, humiliated … murdered.
I’m not going to rail against hashtag politics. As a (formerly avid) social media practitioner, I recognise the need to feel useful, to feel like I’m doing something. I understand the longing to add my voice to something important. To tweet, facebook, write a blog post. I get that, and I do it all the time. But it’s hard not to wonder if all the typing effort is useless.
Today, I thought about the schoolgirls that were kidnapped in Nigeria. Despite our best efforts, our keenest intentions, our highest profile celebrity endorsements, nobody has brought those girls home. In fact, according to the man that allegedly took them, they have converted to Islam and are now the ‘happy’ wives of their abductors. Some of those girls are as young as 12. And they look it.
My child is 12, and when I saw those photos, I wanted to share them just to show the horror of what is going on. But I stopped. I thought about it being my own child, abducted from her school. A child I may not have seen in six months. A child that may have me worrying constantly, torturing myself with images of what they might be doing to her. Then I imagined going online and seeing a picture of my child, dressed in a hijab, being marshalled as somebody’s wife.
In moments like that, it’s hard to believe that God exists.
And yet I must, because the alternative is to give in to the evil of the world. I have to believe that God is somehow watching over all those girls, and over all the other girls, boys, women, and men that are suffering sexual violence over some deranged human’s twisted ideals. I have to believe that somehow, some way, those girls will find their way back home, and that they can start to heal from the brokenness of these six months, knowing that they survived and they are alive.
I have to believe I can do more for those girls than just write pretty blog post.
Closer to home, two women have been stripped for ‘indecent clothing’ and our president has blamed a mother for leaving her child with uncles that raped her. I can’t even discuss that, because it’s far beyond anything I can fathom. Some of the ‘strippers’ were arrested and their cases are currently in court. And the government formed an ‘anti-stripping’ task force. That’s all good. But, again, I have to believe that I can do more than write about it. The trouble is … right this minute … I don’t know what ‘more’ is … so all I can do is say a prayer for that little girl, and for everyone everywhere that is hurting.
The question is though … what else can we do? The online population (for the most part) represents the
educated enlightened portion of the planet. We do have opinions and a need to voice them, and maybe if we put our minds to it, we might come up with ways to do more than type, vote, and like.
I admit, I’m a little curious to see where this kind of a discussion could go. What do you think can be done? The President said security is our responsibility. Maybe we can’t barge into the bush and grab those Nigerian girls from their captors, but what can we do here and now in our own country to make things better?
I’m not talking about politics or ribboned marches – I have little patience for that. I’m talking about practical, tangible solutions that may or may not involve #serikali. Your thoughts?