About two weeks ago, hundreds of young Nigerian school girls had their lives altered. They were abducted; thrown into a realm of uncertainty which outsiders like you and I can only weakly attempt to define by the boundaries of our imagination. These girls HAVE dreams, aspirations, hopes and plans none of which foretold the tragic fate which has befallen them. These girls ARE daughters, sisters, aunts, nieces, cousins, grand-daughters, friends and much more to people who currently experience unimaginable pain. Regardless of gender, age, religion, ethnicity and social class, we all share something with these girls. We share a bond; our humanity is a common denominator.
The saying “life goes on” always holds true even after war and in this case, will unfortunately be same. But how should life go on especially in the wake of this and other recent occurrences? Do we fold our arms, remain “powerless” and allow politically motivated insurgents define life for us? Do we go on with our lives, offering the occasional “hmms, oohs and ahhs” when such things happen and continue in our own bubbles with the erroneous beliefs that our buildings, our streets, our states and regions make us impossible to reach and so, far from harm’s way? Do we carry on, attribute this to destiny and assume that our “destiny” would be different from theirs? Do we offer supplication to God as lone solution? Or do we merely wish our problems away?
These problems we face are collective. They are not just the government’s and not only the victims’ but ours as a people. Stop for a minute and reminisce about the life you have now then imagine a scenario where you are forcefully extricated from your current position and the world as you see it, as you know it, and as you live in it gets replaced with chaos that you not just passively observe but actively live through. Picture a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a grand-daughter, a niece, a cousin, or a friend of yours and imagine that one day they are taken from you. Consider the many possibilities- sexual, physical, psychological abuse and torture. Go a step further to consequences- unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, malnutrition and many more. How about death maybe not before but even after experiencing all that was previously mentioned? This is the very depressing but harsh reality for many right now.
There is only so much most of us can do but every little bit counts. Through prayers, petitions and protests we have to continuously speak for them and demand that this ugly occurrence be given the highest level of attention by the powers that be. It does not matter if just one or one million girls were kidnapped, the cause must be fought for. It does not matter who does what in what manner and the least concern should be intents or genuineness of the messengers as long as the message- to bring back the girls- gets spread. We have to make conscious efforts to see that this is not swept under a rug and ensure that no one forgets if not this will become just another feature in a long list of unending sad tales in our country. We must demand action. We must demand peace. We must speak. If we do not then we have failed those girls and ourselves and in the nearer future, we could be calling for more people to be brought back- our sons, mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, friends, you and I.
This is one in a series of causes that must be fought for in order to restore some semblance of normalcy in our society. Nigeria’s turmoil has gone past the point of generating passive response. Way too many lives have been lost in recent times, way too many tears have been shed, a lot of families have been forever disconnected and properties to the tune of billions lost. At the centre of these goings-on are power hungry individuals whose insatiable appetite to conquer and devour has reduced the populace to pawns in a political game of chess. Individuals who must be held accountable and peace demanded from. Nigeria as we once knew it (even with its former peculiarities) has been stolen from us. Terrorism is here and is very real and if not checked, soon no barricade- physical, mental or social- will suffice for the masses regardless of who we are, where we live, what we look like and what we do. Control must be regained lest we become controlled. We must do something- We must all lend our voices.
This is a #BringBackOurGirls fight and a #BringBackNigeria war.