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What Can We Do To #bringbackourgirls?

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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. 

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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.BmhrO4LCQAAPvqy

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

Pray

  • 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

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.

 

Author: karen d

Thinker, Dreamer, Traveler. Recovering Pharisee.

10 thoughts on “What Can We Do To #bringbackourgirls?

  1. Thank you for this informative article. I truly appreciate the work you put into it and your passionate desire to help.

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    • thanks tina! great to meet you! i mostly feel overwhelmed by the horrors of it all … by all the horrors that seem to arrive every morning via the news. good to be in the fight with you.

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  2. I just read this news story/analysis of the situation:

    http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/missing-nigeria-schoolgirls/why-bringbackourgirls-plays-boko-harams-hands-n99091

    One of the issues with bringing attention to the missing school girls is that the terrorist kidnappers thrive on attention. It seems counter-intuitive to say this, but we may be playing into Boko Haram’s hands by bringing attention to the girls’ plight. We (all of us who want these girls home) don’t think like they (Boko Haram, other terrorist groups) do, follow the same logic, or play by the same rules. For us to figure out what to do, I think we’ll have to think like they do. And pray to a God who is bigger than any human-made organization, good or bad, and who doesn’t play by our rules! (Maybe we could pray for the Boko Haram leaders to come to know Christ…that would shake things up a bit.)

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  3. Reblogged this on Laura Droege's blog and commented:
    I’ve been thinking about those Nigerian girls a lot, but didn’t have any idea what to do to help. Here’s some great ideas. Let’s work together to put them into practice.

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    • thanks laura! I keep hoping one morning we will all wake up to the news our girls have been rescued. Until then we keep making people pay attention, right??!!

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  4. I was thinking this morning about how some countries operate so differently form the way we do. As you said, here we’d bring the full force of our government to bear. I was even wondering what it would mean if we did that in Nigeria, with or without their sanction. It’s probably an act of war or something. But even if Nigeria itself had the resources to mount an effective rescue campaign, would they do so? I don’t know enough about the country (and a lot of countries all over the world) to have that answer.

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    • Indeed. One of the challenges of anti-trafficking work in other countries (the US too but to a far lesser degree) is that governments and law enforcement are too often complicit in trafficking, with there being way too many stories of top government and law enforcement officials pimping girls and women and raping them with impunity. There is no version of the US government going in looking for these girls — I can’t imagine we’d have the faintest idea where to start. But the US can put a lot of pressure on other countries to end trafficking. And we must.

      My understanding to date is that patriarchy reigns in some Muslim communities and so women actually ARE property, their value located in their ability to do chores and sexually service males. The kidnapping and forced marriage and/or servitude of females is seen as legitimate.

      Obviously there are a lot of Muslims who are outraged over what is being done in the name of their faith. It reminds me of the way I feel about Christian patriarchy — I want to stand up on my rooftop and scream — this is not the Gospel!

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  5. Wow! Thank you for this! Lots of actionable ideas. I’m usually so helpless as I just pathetically think about things.

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    • I struggle too with figuring out how to participate … the feelings come easily, but practical engagement is hard when its all so far away, so you and me both! Thanks for commenting and if you hear of anything else, send it my way.

      Like

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