Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

300 Schoolgirls

 photo Bringbackourgirls_zps0051d06d.jpg

300 schoolgirls.  300 schoolgirls.  300 schoolgirls…stolen from their classrooms, kidnapped by men.  300 schoolgirls kidnapped by men who have publicly announced their intention to sell them as slaves.  To sell them into slavery.  To sell them to men who would rape them and terrorize them into drudgery.  No more school.

This morning I kissed my daughters as they went off to school.  I didn’t remember the 300 schoolgirls waiting to be sold.  I didn’t remember them until I read a headline on a left-wing blog and I think I know why.  And it’s the ugliest of reasons.  It’s a reason I only impute to others in the most severe situations.  It’s the reason that people were stolen from Africa and sold into slavery for centuries.  It’s the reason that stands behind slavery, murder, torture, humiliation, lynching.  It’s the reason that 6 million members of my own community were exterminated.  Racism.

There are only 4our girls in my eldest daughter’s class.  She attends a private Jewish elementary school, so the classes are small.  And I can’t help thinking that if armed zealots were to somehow seize them and announce their intention to sell them into serial rape and drudgery that people around the country, and in other arts of the world, would be keeping hourly watch for news about negotiations, the media would be debating rescue options, and we would tally the days of their captivity.  Everyone would know the number.  We would all feel our daily consciousness was is some sense also held hostage.  For four schoolgirls.  Four American schoolgirls.  Four Jewish schoolgirls.  Four white schoolgirls.  The same would be true if it were four Israeli schoolgirls.  The same would be true if it were four Palestinian schoolgirls.  The same would be true if it were four British or French or Russian or South American schoolgirls kidnapped by Islamist zealots for the auction block.  

But I don’t know how many days it has been since these three hundred schoolgirls have slept in their homes.  Do you?


  1. princesspat

    Nigerian Defense Chief Says Abducted Girls Located

    That appeared to leave negotiation the sole option, but a human rights activist close to negotiators said a deal to swap the girls for detained Boko Haram members was agreed last week and then scuttled at the last minute by President Goodluck Jonathan.

    The activist who is close to those mediating between Boko Haram extremists and government officials said the girls would have been freed last week Monday.

    Jonathan had already told British officials that he would not consider an exchange. The source spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

    It seems the schoolgirls are being used as pawns by those in power and /or those who wish to assume power. Using women and children as collateral damage is depressingly an all to common tactic.

    And no, I don’t know how many days and nights those schoolgirls have been away from their homes and families. I don’t like the sad resignation and outrage I feel either.

  2. anotherdemocrat

    I do have to push it to the back of my mind, because it gives me nightmares. Other than saying “hey, mister president of a foreign country, this woman in Texas thinks you need to make that prisoner exchange”, I don’t know what to do

  3. Portlaw

    push it away because, to be honest, I am always ambivalent about hostage/prisoner (or other demands) exchanges and don’t like my ambivalence. Does that then tell the thugs that hostage taking is a winning strategy and encourage them to take more hostages, kidnap more innocents? There has to  be some punishment not a reward for this heinous deed but would that endanger the girls? But, were I the parent of one of those girls think I would do anything to get my child back.  I am depressed by the whole thing.  

  4. Strummerson

    My point here isn’t to call anyone out, or question the vigor of any individual’s conscience.  Rather, it was a response to realizing how shockingly low a priority this situation has in national and global news and discourse and how this affects me personally.  And then pin-pointing what I think is the central explanatory factor in its relative low priority.  It’s aimed individually only at myself and only at others here as part of a first person plural “us”.  I don’t think anyone here is callous about schoolgirls based on their race.  I don’t think that anyone here is culpable in any direct or individual sense.  And I don’t think this horror is a litmus test for anyone’s moral character.  But I can conjure other long term hostage situations that were kept front and center in the news cycles.  And the major difference between those and this one is race.  And this is particularly glaring as few constituencies evoke automatic care and protectiveness as do “schoolgirls”.  Unless…apparently…they happen to be African.  My objection is to the hierarchy of victimhood that corresponds to factors of race and geography, not to any individual’s affective or active response.  

Comments are closed.