Although it may be difficult, with the high-pitched screams of Covid and the US Presidential election, but try to remember the horrible news story in February, 2018, that Boko Haram had kidnapped 110 girls from the Government Girls’ Science and Technical College (GGSTC) in Dapchi, Nigeria. Several of the girls died in the kidnapping or transport that day, and all the survivors were returned the next month except the one Christian girl, Leah Sharibu. The others told that she was not released because she would not denounce her Christian faith and embrace Islam. She has still not been released.
There have been reports that she has married one of the Boko Haram leaders and born him a son, but there is no proof of either, and the family insists that she was 14 when she was kidnapped (she turned 17 this past May; her third birthday in captivity), and that though she may have been raped, and perhaps even forced to marry, she would never have chosen to marry her captor. Money has been raised and many pleas have gone out from all over the world, but to no avail.
Part of the rumor that she is married and has a child also indicates that she has converted to Islam. However, her pastor insists that she “hasn’t apostatised as claimed by Boko Haram”. The obvious weakness in the Boko Haram story is that, if she had wanted to convert, she could have done it at the beginning and been freed. Not to mention that if she has converted since then, there would be no reason to continue holding her against her will.
But maybe even harder to remember is that Boko Haram had kidnapped 276 mostly Christian female students from a secondary school in the nearby town of Chibok back in April of 2014. Some have escaped, been freed, or been rescued, but at this point, 13 are presumed dead and 112 are still missing. What may spark your memory is that there was a Twitter hashtag campaign that was retweeted around the world, even promoted by Michelle Obama, with the hashtag “#BringBackOurGirls”, and has been tweeted over 6 million times. It may have raised awareness, but the kidnappers must not have a Twitter account. The UN says that as of April 2018, Boko Haram had kidnapped over 1000 children.
Although Boko Haram is militantly Muslim, many Muslim groups from Nigeria and around the world joined with Christian groups and others to condemn the kidnappings and appeal to Boko Haram to release the children. Of course, many of the victims are also Muslim, which never makes sense to me in situations like this. If they are so faithful to their beliefs that they’ll kidnap large groups of children to make a point or whatever, why would they victimize people of their own religion? “I’m just not sure how well this plan was thought through.” (my favorite quote from Meet the Robinsons)
In the meantime, I’ll return you to the current crises, such as the “WalkAway” Democrats voting for Trump and the “Lincoln Project” Republicans voting for Biden. I’m sure these apostatised voters will have an impact, though it may just be that they cancel each other out. But at least they haven’t started kidnapping each other.
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