Our hearts can’t help but ache for the distressed and anxious parents of those quite young and innocent Nigerian kidnapped schoolgirls – even more so for these surely traumatized daughters themselves.
We cannot help but feel emotionally and intellectually terrorized by the thoughts and imaginings of graver events yet to come – after the comforting imagery we had hurriedly (possibly prematurely) formed past the genocidal killings, religious murders and assassinations, and forced mass starvation that had become a staple of the African continent.
We share the outrage vented upon the emboldened, backward and unenlightened Boko Haram who would turn these kidnapped schoolgirls,
for a generous price, into child brides and sex slaves.
That the Boko Haram spokesman, on video, can say to the Nigerian authorities, being held to ransom – and the world at large – that these abducted young girls are up for sale on the market by instruction of Allah or God, and that said commands would be carried out smack of a disorder that transcends the acutest of schizophrenia and settles snugly on naked, obscene criminal madness.
More disturbingly, the mass kidnapping of Nigerian schoolgirls by Boko Haram is said in some quarters to be only the tip of the iceberg of slavery yet in Africa. This slavery, we are told, much like drug trafficking, has its connections with shady dealers in high places in Western countries: operators –– actually schemers –– who have their toes in the doors of many a terrorist organization, as sure as they have their feet planted in respectable agencies and intelligence services.
Contradistinctively, sovereignty issues via slavery and child prostitution, and drug trafficking are surreptitiously tied to matters of respectability and even the current professed outrage which we ourselves honestly and genuinely share.
If such chicanery and deception do exist, it would be simple to grasp how such criminality could take cover under the projection of the anti-Western image being constantly played before our eyes by a seemingly uneducated, idiotic, felonious and lawless ragtag bunch of misguided fundamentalist Islamists calling themselves Boko Haram.
It would be even simpler to conjure up influential powers so adept in manipulation that we the genuinely concerned could be the actual ignoramuses instead of Boko Haram who would be pretending to be. We might take with a pinch of salt this group’s acclamation that Western education is evil and, moreover, that the Koran says girls should not be educated, but instead farmed out to men for wives.
All this would be feasible, if the conspiracy theory were true. Is it?
And, is there a case for present-day Africans, as a matter of course – and separate and distinct from the Boko Haram travesty – trafficking African migrants into Europe, in much the same way South Americans smuggle illegal drugs into the United States and our neighbouring Caribbean?
Doesn’t this offer encouragement to the conjuring up of an uncomfortable “truth” – anathema to the pan-Africanists – that in very many cases the intrusive white Europeans did not enslave Africans so much as buy them from fellow Africans as chattel, property on the market?
We draw no pleasure from the dilemma, of past or present, one way or the other. But, sadly, these kidnappings of one’s own kind are nothing new. There are another outlet for the more powerful inflicting pain and despair on others of their own.
Boko Haram began its insurgency about five years ago, allegedly surviving because of covert funding by influential Western interests. The reason for Boko Haram support? One plausible answer is that it might destabilize Nigeria and thus justify an intervention by any of the superpowers, and ultimately a lasting NATO military presence.
An International Labour Organization report once suggested that in 2003 approximately six million Nigerian children had been trafficked at some point in their lives; and there has been no indication the trafficking had ceased since the ILO announcement, which has been low-key. Human trafficking experts insist that tens of thousands of people, mainly children, are still bought and sold in Nigeria every year.
With apologies to the Saviour Jesus, we can’t help but ask as well: For what shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own beloved country?