A Prayer for Justice, Finally Answered?
by Ida Derish (Opinions Editor)
On April 14th 2014, the report of the kidnapping of 276 teenage girls from the Government Secondary School (GSS) in the Nigerian village of Chibok came as a shock. This is the news that made the world tremble and realize the threat that Boko Haram truly posed to the lives of millions of people. Boko Haram, a terrorist organization (labelled as such by the United States in the end of 2013), raided the small town of the Borno State roughly six months ago, abducting 276 girls, most of which were unable to escape their captors. As of today, more than 200 are still held in captivity. On Friday October 17th, the Nigerian government came forth with a much-awaited statement that divulged that Nigerian officials signed a ceasefire with the militant group of Boko Haram. It also stated that the latter had
the intention of releasing the girls that were taken away and promised to be sold into slavery in the weeks that followed the kidnapping.
The reason behind the kidnappings earlier this year is unclear; Boko Haram literally translates into “Western education is sin”. Just like ISIS, which resurfaced earlier on this month with the beheading of a journalist, Boko Haram is a militant Islamist organization that fights for a religious state, sacrificing millions of lives in the process. The Western world is unfortunately aware of the fact that such extremist groups deny girls education, and the GSS came as an affront to their conservative ideals. The militant group has had a long history of attack and warfare with the vacillating and fragile Nigerian government, which caused much tension and violence to erupt, particularly in the northeastern side of the country. Relentlessly assaulting intellectuals, outsiders and Christians (deemed as infidels), Boko Haram did not cease their onslaught of kidnappings, and the terror does not seem to have an end anytime soon. The tragic capture of the teenagers contributed to the wave of unspoken horror that spread out throughout Nigeria and beyond. The popular hashtag #BringBackOurGirls trend on Twitter highlights the grief and collective plea millions of people sent out in alarm. The ceasefire is glad tidings for the citizens as well as for the country that has been greatly criticized universally for not being able to put an end to the chaos caused by Boko Haram, which was originally funded and trained by the Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb to instigate the principles (the Sharia law) of the jihadi movement.
Goodluck Jonathan, the current president of Nigeria, promised to do his best to recover the victims. The world hopes that his efforts for the last half a year will not be in vain. His secretary declared that “a batch of them will be released shortly, and this will be followed by further actions from Boko Haram. It is a process… It is not a question of hours and days.” Hopefully, the ceasefire is not some cruel ploy by the armed forces of Boko Haram, because the torn families of the kidnapped schoolgirls rejoiced as the word spread about their potential release. The kidnappings have been particularly hard on the families: Six months after the heartbreaking news of the capture, the relatives of the teenagers still have undying hope that they will someday see the faces of their beloved children, sisters, or nieces again.