By Diana AbouSaleh
It’s been five months since extremist anti-Western group Boko Haram kidnapped roughly 275 Nigerian girls from their schools. I’m somewhat relieved to hear that they will be released soon, but that doesn’t mean that these atrocities will stop. This isn’t the first time this has happened nor will it be the last. Let’s recall the brave 14-year-old Pakistani girl Malala, who about a year ago, was shot in the head. And miraculously survived. She was the target of the Taliban threats ever since she started advocating for a girl’s basic right to education. Even since her recovery, she has been become a role model for women all over the world, promoting pacifism and raising her voice for women’s education rights.
It’s outrageous to think that in the 21st century, there’s still a huge wave of rejection of western education of girls. To me, it’s all just common sense—we are ALL the same. Girls, boys, old people, people with long hair, people with tattoos, homosexuals, grumpy people, short people, and so on. However, things become messy and convoluted when archaic and old-fashioned ideas come into the picture, like the Taliban advocating erroneous religious beliefs, condemning Malala for going against such principles.
I’ve been following Malala’s story very closely, and, like many other girls, have been inspired by her brave soul. Whenever I feel overwhelmed or strained with life’s problems, I consider Malala’s fight. Or I recall the abducted Nigerian girls. Inevitably, my mind drifts, and I imagine all the ghastly things that could be happening to the poor girls. Immediately, I realize how meek and insignificant my problems are: they are fleeting issues that will most likely have immediate solutions.
Whoever said ignorance is bliss was a fool. Sure, it’s depressing to hear about all of the horrible incidents happening around the world, but heed this: if you pity each victim that is kidnapped or rape , instead of say, opening up a meaningful discussion on the subject, how will these atrocities come to an end? Some people prefer to keep a blind eye and hope for the best. When I first heard of the Boko Haram kidnapping, I was enraged— I realized that there’s so many places in the world where girls and women are not only treated as inferiors, but also sold into human trafficking. So, it is imperative that you express your concern regarding this issue, and what better way to start than with the perfect tool for getting your message out there—social media. Share a link, a video or a promising message that will convince people to donate to a worthy cause.
What matters now is what you and me can do to create awareness. If you believe that the U.S. government can put more pressure on the Nigerian government, then do not hesitate to voice your opinion. Maybe they can. Women’s rights, human rights, and equality rights are all current conflicts that need our society’s utmost discussion and attention. There’s no better cause. Take your pick—and spread the word.