When I was younger, I traveled to Nigeria as a member of the group Shalamar. The people were lovely and happy for us to be there, however I will never forget the fear of checkpoints when armed ‘police’ that would get in the vans carrying us around and point weapons at us, usually wanting money before we could proceed. There was a lot of corruption and instability even back then. The police or soldiers would then laugh, after we were all ready to pee our pants and say “Shalamar, we love you”, to extreme relief as they exited the tour bus or mini vans. I have never been back because it was all a bit upsetting. This was heavy intimidation and really, in those moments we were at their mercy. I totally picture the horrid Boko Haram invading the school in the darkness of the night in the village of Chibok taking young girls against their will looking to do harm and ‘sell’ them – when all the girls were doing is getting an education. I’m appalled as a human being, a Mom with a daughter, a woman who was once a young student herself. This has gone through my mind these past weeks, as I’ve tweeted it out and shared various news links..those poor girls being kidnapped. This tragedy followed the devastating sinking ship in South Korea with all of those children and of course the vanished flight MH 370. Crazy world we live in. With regard to the Nigerian girls, I wish the media would not say forced marriage – it is abduction and likely rape and all types of abuse. The media was also slow to report this story and naturally you wonder if these nearly 300 girls were in the Switzerland or France or the U.S..anywhere it would have been in the headlines. I’m keeping those girls, and all victims of these horrible acts in my prayers, and hoping the government finds them so they can return safely to their parents and lives.
I’ve been following this story in particular the past few weeks. The President of Nigeria finally spoke on it, and was accused of not doing enough. Luckily, the growing coverage is putting pressure, and the U.S. has offered to assist in finding these school girls. Human trafficking, modern slavery and abuse of children needs to stop. That’s my thought – always.