#BringBackOurGirls: Hashtags or Human Rights

(as told by A Daughter of the Diaspora)

Unless you have recently been seeking refuge under a rock, I am pretty sure you have seen the hashtag “#bringbackourgirls” trending everywhere. This was not a premeditated social media campaign, but it has nonetheless set ablaze all social networks and made its way to the top of the trending charts.

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Behind this hashtag lies a terrible story. On the evening of April 14, close to 300 girls were kidnapped from the dorms of Chibok Government Girls Secondary School in Borno State, Nigeria. Since then members of Boko Haram, an extremist Islamist group whose name roughly translates to “Western education is sinful”, have released a video admitting to not only kidnapping the young girls, but also plans to sell them as sex slaves and/or brides for as little as $12.

Adding to these dismal details is the general consensus that the government of Nigeria was more than slow to respond to their own domestic crisis. Boko Haram is not a foreign matter to the Nigerian government. The growing presence of this group has been plaguing Nigeria for years at the expense of many human lives. Three long weeks have passed since this most recent trespassing of human rights occurred and governmental action is just now being taken. To many, much of this can be owed to the international sensation of the hashtag #bringbackourgirls.

As a young Nigerian-American and a Daughter of the Diaspora, I have often listened to family and colleagues tales of our homeland and its hand in the “industry of corruption”. The beauty of a nation being robbed by its elected officials. Although there may be truth behind these claims, my concern is for my fellow citizens and their human rights. Our next generation of leaders is being threatened and this affects us all. If our children cannot even go to school in peace then what is all our labor for? And as elated as I am for all the support and media attention this crisis has now received, I must admit I am concerned by the direct and physical involvement of other foreign powers. Nigeria did not just earn her independence yesterday nor is she a new democratic nation. I welcome the pressure this international media storm has imposed, but I believe the Nigerian government must wake up from its slumber and begin to function on its own in the best interest of those they govern.

Although there are skeptics to the #bringbackourgirls social media movement, I remain hopeful and optimistic for its outcome. Not only are the issues of human rights being highlighted, but also the issue of accountability is being brought to the forefront. Human rights for all should be protected and a government should see that they do what it takes to ensure it is afforded to their citizens.  I am overjoyed that my fellow citizens of Nigeria, domestic and abroad, and her growing international supporters are rallying together and I have faith that this incident is about way more than a hashtag and that human rights will prevail over all injustice.

#BringBackOurGirls

 

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Sources:

http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/05/world/africa/nigeria-abducted-girls/

http://www.democracynow.org/2014/5/6/bring_back_our_girls_nigerians_caught

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