Three weeks ago in the remote northeastern Nigerian town of Chibok, over 200 girls were kidnapped from their boarding school dormitories in the middle of the night. By some reports, as many as 275 children may have abducted; more than 40 escaped. The militants who abducted the mostly 16-18 year old girls are from Boko Haram — a group whose name means "Western Education is Forbidden." As the name implies, they are on a murderous campaign to eliminate education in West Africa.
Reports are surfacing this week that the militants are treating the girls as sexual slaves, "marrying" them to soldiers who have carried them off to neighboring states including Chad and Cameroon. In plain words, this means the girls are being raped and impregnated against their will — and who knows what additional forms of torture and abuse, or how many have died.
Why has this story received so little attention in the West?
For example, the New York Times has published exactly one reported piece, on April 17. Perhaps if the girls were on a ferry in Korea, a jet liner in the Indian Ocean, in the owner's box at a Clippers basketball game, or if they were white, we'd care more.
Today in Nigeria, women are marching to demand more resources to find the young women.
In the New Yorker, the voice of a girl who escaped and survived.
"It's a situation of present, continuous agony. Everybody is terrified at the thought of what they might be going through. There's just no reason why these girls could have been targeted. They're so innocent, so harmless," [Author Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani] says. "They're probably Muslim and Christian. It's frightening. They're not being seen as Hausa, Yoruba or Igbo [three of Nigeria's major ethnic groups]. They're not being seen as northerners or easterners. They're just seen as children."
— Nkem Ifejika (@nkemifejika) April 30, 2014
By joining the March today, you are make a statement that these our Girls' MOTHERS are not ALONE in their pain. pic.twitter.com/ikdeU043VY
— oby ezekwesili (@obyezeks) April 30, 2014
— Adetola Adekunle (@mrpirazzy) April 30, 2014
— Waziri Adio (@Waziriadio) April 30, 2014
House of Commons, United Kingdom, wades into Chibok Girls saga … Letter below pic.twitter.com/d7q0DzVBlb
— APC United Kingdom (@APCUKingdom) April 30, 2014
— Skytrend News (@SkytrendNews) April 30, 2014