UPDATE: I just spent a few minutes (4:45 PST) seeing if the US news cycle was paying any closer attention and it is. CNN, FoxNews and the NYT are all running headlining stories about what is happening with our Nigerian girls.
The best assessment says that as of this morning (PST) 276 Nigerian students (and 8 more kidnapped last night) are in their third week as captives of terrorists who have stated within the last 48 hours that they intend to sell — TO SELL –– these students, all of whom are teenage girls, into sex slavery.
The public response has been steadily growing this week, due in part to the fact that Western media have finally started to cover the story.There have been a number of blog posts I have read, by people I respect, suggesting that the reason we are not more outraged by these kidnappings is because the girls are African. Had they been white, well the whole world would have cared.
That might be true, but oddly I’m not feeling that cynical right now. I think — maybe I just hope — that the reason the response in the West has been apathetic is that we don’t know what to do. Had Western girls been kidnapped, we would have witnessed a whole host of aggressive responses — from law enforcement, from government, from jurisprudence, from citizens. We would have had ample opportunity to give money to groups attacking the situation head on. We would have ways to join our voice to many and demand these cowards give back our girls.
I think many of us see these Nigerian daughters as our own. I do. The color of their skin, the nation of their birth, these matter not a whit to me. I don’t think they matter to you either. We just don’t know what to do.
My intent in this post is to brainstorm actionable ways we can participate in the global rescue effort of our girls. I hope this list gets passed around so others can add to it:
Get Educated & Get Vocal with Media Coverage
Most of the major news outlets are now covering the story, although some are burying it, so head to your favorite go-to news source and get educated on what is happening. If your news outlet of choice is not headlining this story, email the news desk or the editorial team and complain. Here are some links to make it easy:
- CNN International — CNN US, as usual, thinks Americans don’t care what’s happening in the rest of the world. Prove Them Wrong. Set your CNN browser to the International Edition and never, ever change it back.
- New York Times — the NYT is NOT headlining this story. To find the story, click through “International” and then scroll below the (traditional) fold to find the story.
- Fox News — Fox is NOT headlining this story either. It is located as a line item in the Latest News subsection.
- BBC — One of 8 top news stories.
- Reuters — Not top story but its at least above the fold.
- Wall Street Journal — Buried in World section (paid content). WSJ is running a Breaking News Banner — announcing the death of an 81 year old person. WSJ can do better.
If you want to make your voice heard by the news outlets, frequent the Websites of media who are covering this story. Write the editorial departments of the ones that are not. Demand they cover the story. Email the stories to everyone you know so they get ranked at the top of the “most emailed.”
Get Engaged via Social Media
- If you have a Facebook page, publish the story there — make sure your friends and acquaintances have access to information about these kidnappings.
- If you have a Twitter account, tweet at #bringourgirlsback and at #bringbackourgirls– join the conversation
- If you need some words to help you, read Sarah Bessey’s prayer that she posted this morning. She will usher you right into God’s presence. As Brian taught two weeks ago, a small faith in a great God is capable of planting the tree of life in the dead center of chaos and evil. Pray with me. Pray for their safety. Pray for their escape. Pray that God would raise up an army of rescuers. Pray that God fill the storehouses full of resources to help these girls reunite with their families, process their trauma, return to their studies and shape their world with their gifts. Pray not one of them is lost to us. Not one.
Petition the White House to Engage
- You can find the petition here. Every voice matters. Make yours heard.
Think of The Nigerian Students as Our Girls, Their Families as Our Families
- Do not shy away from using language that ties our community to theirs. We don’t use the words “our girls” to mean possessiveness but solidarity. These are children who belong to our global community, and we are horrified and outraged when the safety of our community is breached. We will rain consequence down on the heads of those who would violate the sanctity of our community. When suffering happens in Nigeria, when girls are trafficked for sex in our backyard or halfway around the world, we need to identify with that suffering, we need to sweat blood, lay awake sleepless, until they are home.
Support International Anti-Trafficking Groups
- There are some outstanding ones out there. My church community is engaged with International Justice Mission and I endorse them 100%. I guarantee you they are working covertly to bring back our girls. Support them. Send money. Get on their email list. Don’t expect to see anything about this on their Website or in their formal communications. They have to operate covertly given the evil they are confronting, not just in Nigeria but around the world. The thing about the global anti-trafficking response is that the more individuals do small things, the faster slavery will be destroyed. It is not only OK to do something small. It is necessary. It is valuable. It is essential. This is not a problem that a few “important” people can solve. This is a problem that will only be solved when millions upon millions of us do small things.
Spread the Word
I have this thought that the more precious these 284 Nigerian girls become in this, our global village, the harder it is going to be to sell them. Wouldn’t it be amazing if the whole world made it clear that no one was going to touch these girls without dire consequence, and they became unsellable, as if someone stole the Mona Lisa and found not even the black market would buy it? One thing we know about human traffickers — they are cowards motivated by money. Let’s raise our voices as one voice and make sure they know these girls, that all our daughters are beyond priceless. They are Not For Sale.
If you have information or ideas on what else we can do as we go about our daily lives here, halfway across the world from this atrocious evil, please comment and let the rest of us know what you know. I’ll aggregate what I can and keep refreshing this post as long as these girls remain in captivity.