Here are the names of 177 of those girls. The entire story is devastating, and then seeing their names like that....it breaks you.
The terrorist group, Boko Haram, has been on the radar of intelligence agencies in the States, but the U.S. State Department declined to add them to an official list of foreign terrorist groups back in 2011. It isn't clear what the U.N. can do here, though it has condemned the act. Nigeria's president is determined to act.
We have a sense of what "boko haram" means. Some are claiming it means "Western education is a sin," others say that is a simplification. I think it doesn't matter, because the men using it to describe themselves have determined that they will prove their resolve by punishing girls. They ripped those girls, those daughters, from a school, while they were learning. We are foolish if we miss the significance of that. Whether "boko haram" refers to a resistance to "western" education or indoctrination or if it is slang for toilets flushing doesn't matter. Their actions speak very loudly.
What can we do, the world wants to know.
I don't know the answer to that. I am not sure who does.
Right here, in our own backyard, there are girls who have been sold into slavery. Human trafficking is a huge problem right here, even in Texas.
If we are sickened and shocked by what is happening in Nigeria, we should be devastated, crushed over what is happening much closer to home.
What can we do. We can help whomever it is within our power to help.
Free the captives. Free the Captives, a 501(c)3 in Houston, is reaching out to help victims of sexual slavery in that community. They are doing incredible work. I had the opportunity to talk to Free the Captives' founder several months ago, and I was awed by what they are accomplishing, saddened to learn what they are up against.
It isn't much. But I think if we help even one girl, we are making a difference.
Doing something, when it seems we can do nothing.