Two weeks ago, militants abducted over 200 Nigerian girls from their boarding school in the town of Chibok. It is now being reported that the girls are being sold into mass marriages for $12. Out of the 200 missing, 14 girls escaped, but large portions of them are still missing.
Parents and relatives of the missing children are not satisfied at the way the Nigerian government is handling the situation. They feel the safe return of the girls are not the government’s nor Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan’s first priority. Protests and rallies occurred in the wake of this devastating ordeal and sparked international outrage. But not in the way you would think.
I’ve been following this story for the past week and it gets more and more heartbreaking. Part of the reason why I started Candid Commentary was to write about difficult topics not consistently covered in the media, and unfortunately, this story is one of them. Every time I tune in to any type of mainstream media outlet, it seems as though this story is slipping under the radar. I keep hearing about the recent job report and even about Malaysian Flight 370, but no one can take the time to analyze or even report on the missing girls. The only way I could get updates was through the Internet.
The safety and protection of these young girls just trying to get an education is a REAL issue and should be covered 24/7 like everything else. It’s sad to say, but this story is just evidence of how society views black women. Much interest in this story appeared on social media and it has now sparked a full campaign. According to the BBC News, the hash tag #Bringbackourgirls generated over 360,000 tweets and retweets since it’s creation on April 23. Many celebrities and Nigerian residents joined the cause expressing their frustration with the Nigerian government and are demanding answers.
One cannot deny the power of social media. It’s known to bring missing girls home in the U.S., and can generate enough interest to increase change when it comes to activism. Even Black Twitter is known to have tremendous power in amplifying issues to initiate change. But is it enough? Will our concurrent likes, retweets and posts really make a difference in trying to find our girls? When the government fails, can we rely on social media to advocate for more media attention and involvement from international organizations? That’s why it’s so important for us to continue to follow new developments and to continue to tweet, post and talk about this story until each girl is rescued.
A petition on Change.org was created by Ify Euleze to support all efforts in rescuing the missing girls. The petition urges that all children deserve to be safe and protected especially in educational environments.
What do you think? Can social media be the driving force to help #bringbackourgirls? Click on the post and comment below! Be candid in your response!