Over 200 Nigerian Girls Were Kidnapped…So Where’s All The Media Coverage?

bring-back-our-girls

It makes me sad to think we live in a world where over 200 girls (Associated Press puts the official number at 276 girls) are kidnapped from school all at once. We don’t yet know why or what for.

All we know is that these girls aged between 16-18 from the Chibok elementary school a couple of weeks ago, were kidnapped by the Boko Haram Islamic extremist terrorist group and possibly forced into marriage. Boko Haram, founded in 2002, are against anything western. In fact their name means “Western education is a sin.”

Around 50 girls managed to escape, but there has yet to be any reported sightings of the rest of the girls. One of the girls who escaped, Deborah Sanya, gave her chilling account in an interview with The New Yorker. The parents are worried sick (can you imagine?!?!) citizens are staging protests demanding the Nigerian government take action (their military claims they have, but there is no evidence) and the rest of the world is left wondering why.

Well, those who care anyway.

Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan has reportedly said he will accept foreign help from the US and the UK. Many of the parents are starting to lose hope that they will even find the girls. The Boko Haram terrorists recently released a video saying they will sell the girls into human slavery, and were basically boasting about this.

Why has it taken close to 3 weeks for the rest of the world to even catch on?

I’ve seen a fair few posts about this continuing story on the obvious big news outlets like the New York Times, CNN, NPR, Huffington Post, Al Jazeera, The Washington Post, The Guardian, USA Today and Fox news. Sure that is a good amount of coverage, if you’re talking about the Grammys, a football game, a celebrity wedding, the latest reality TV stunt. Actually, those listed events would get even MORE coverage!

Yet this is a serious issue, and the world just continues to turn? There is only so much awareness the average citizen can spread. The hashtag #bringbackourgirls and #bringbackourdaughters has been used tens of thousands of times on twitter and Instagram alone. But it’s not enough.

People are asking if there are going to be any international rescue missions from the US and other nations. I want to know why the mainstream news media, who have the power to sway public opinion and force governments into action (especially when it comes to politics) can’t let go of their prejudices and party boundaries for one second to band together for the sake of a group of innocent teen girls.

Do we want to see another Rwanda? Do we want to see yet another African war happen and ravage another nation?

Perhaps I am coming across simplistic in my statements so let me clear up what this whole blog post is about: the lack of media coverage for such an important human rights issue, and the lack of immediate help. The US was so hell bent on starting a war with Iraq and Afghanistan immediately after September 11, 2001, and decided it was our job to then police the country. Yet a bunch of kidnapped girls aren’t priority even though the nation is asking for help?

I’m not trying to pose theories and suggestions as to proposed military action or UN interventions. I’m just talking about what I know and what I see (or don’t see).

There’s just no excuse these days. Everyone has the power to be a content creator and a reporter whether it be on social media, or on a blog. I have seen more “coverage” on social media than I have in the mainstream media. I have seen everyday citizens mobilize and create awareness for these Nigerian school girls. But there’s only so much that we can do. We need our military and our governments to act on our behalf and listen to the cries. It’s not about priorities or politics, its about a human life and human rights!

It seems we really DO need more women involved in the US government as it is the female politicians who have been reportedly urging President Obama to do more.

Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland) were seen gathering signatures from the other 18 female members of the senate today for a letter urging President Obama to further use his influence and help return the girls to their families.

The letter from Senators Collins and Mikulski, according to the Washington Post, requests that Obama and the United Nations classify “Boko Haram as a terrorist organization and take steps to impose sanctions against the group.”

Collins said she and her colleagues are also mulling “additional steps” that could be taken. She said every one of her colleagues is “utterly appalled that this could happen in this day and age and that it appears so little is being done.”

The senator knows that simply writing a letter to the president will not be enough to help the girls on its own, but adds: “I think having the 20 women senators lead the way is the beginning of sending very powerful signal. It’s not sufficient, but it’s a first step of the actions we want to take.”

There is a petition on the White House website that anyone can sign, called ‘We The People’ which will hopefully be another compelling reason for Obama to act.

Since GirlTalkHQ is all about promoting positive news stories, as there is plenty of bad in the world and we would rather start conversations to the contrary, we haven’t posted about this yet.

But because this is my personal blog post entry as an editor and publisher, I am freely ranting about how disappointed I am in my industry’s ability or interest in covering this more.

It makes me itch SO badly to be part of a news team or a network that could send me to places where I can report the facts, gather information and be on the ground getting the stories that people around the world want to see.

I’m not asking to be sent into a possible war zone or dangerous area for the sake of a news story, but I want to be in the field discovering the news as it happens and representing my generation of women who want to see more out of their daily coverage.

bring-back-our-girls

This isn’t just the responsibility for the CNN’s and the New York Times’, the millennial news carriers also have a duty to get involved and report what is going on. Where are all the millennial networks dedicated to the type of news we want to see?

If this happened in a western country, say America or the UK, the entire nation would literally SHUT DOWN (presidential election style) and report around the clock until the public had some answers.

Just look at the relentless coverage of 4 year old British school girl Madeleine McCann which who was kidnapped while on holiday with her family in Europe. We are still seeing news reports to this day!

And what about kidnap victims Elizabeth Smart and Jaycee Dugard in the US whose stories dominated news headlines time and time again?

I’m not saying this is an issue of race, and I hope to God is isn’t. But when I, as a heavy media consumer have to resort to searching hastags and specific phrases in a Google search to find coverage of a major news topic, something is very wrong.

A quick scroll through my Facebook news feed over the past few days has shown a total of 2 news items being shared about the Nigerian school girls’ kidnapping, versus plenty of funny memes, celebrity gossip, and heavily filtered selfies.

To all my generation: c’mon lets wake up to the issues that are real and affecting us all! Yes, this does affect us because we are all human, and these ARE our global sisters.

If you were kidnapped along with 199 of your colleagues or school friends, wouldn’t you want the rest of the world to unrelentingly post about your disappearance until something was done about it?

An incident like this has clearly proven to me, and perhaps many other people out there, what is inherently wrong with our western culture and news media.

It’s time to re-strategize, re-prioritize and realize that the world doesn’t revolve around us. We are blessed to live on this planet for a short 80-90-something years if lucky, and it is our duty to leave behind a legacy for future generations and fix any injustice we see in our lifetime. I know that is a big ask, but if I am willing and I am just an ordinary girl, then why shouldn’t I expect the same from others around me?

Is this blog post going to bring back the girls from Nigeria? Most likely not, but I hope that it will increase traffic to this issue on the internet and continue to show government officials and decision makers around the world that we will not just allow something like this to continue. That they are in positions of power to act and make a difference on our behalf. If thousands of people worldwide are willing to watch a fake documentary about Joseph Kony, then let’s use all that man power and social reach to create a movement dedicated to a real human rights issue.

Then when this is all over we can confidently point in the direction where the media went: toward change and influencing a successful rescue mission. Dear God, please let this be true! In the meantime, we will not cease praying for the safe return of our sisters in Nigeria.

bring-back-our-girls

 

10 Comments

  1. I hope this situation turns out right because boko haram ie the terrorist group are heartless…#Bringbackourgirls

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  4. So where has this blogs coverage of the kidnapping been ever since it stopped being headline news…?

    It seems feminist bloggers have the exact same priorities as the patriachal news media, only interested in the plight of young, black girls from Poorland if it increases click-thru traffic to their site & quite happy to drop the issue & move on to the next topic when it’s no longer trending.

    Don’t moan about the lack of media coverage of an issue then fail to cover it yourself. Makes you look like a bunch of hypocrites.

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  6. Pingback: Nigerian Military Giving Women & Girls Captured By Boko Haram A New Chance At Life

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