Actually, the international discourse around this mass abduction has been terribly bizarre. Nigerians have been reporting on it ceaselessly and the entire country has been in an uproar since the beginning, but in the last week there’s been a massive explosion of support from non-Naijas overseas. Which is genuinely touching.
But there are things I haven’t understood.
It’s one thing to take, say, American media to task for not reporting the incident or misreporting it (though this really begs the question of if the implication is that Western news outlets taking interest in an event is what legitimises that event and makes it worthy of concern), but to say “no one cares” is sort of grating. Honestly, though, it’s a relatively minor complaint and is just the result of careless wording.
But it’s the way this has been contextualised that is really just inscrutable. I still don’t, for example, understand things like the “#200whitegirls” tag - and this is triply surreal and somewhat funny because we now have media like CNN praising white people/women for “sparking the protests” when they have done absolutely nothing within a framework whose aim was ambiguous to begin with - or what it was meant to mean. Assuming that there were ever a perfect storm of conditions that allowed the kidnap of 200 white, western European girls (because Eastern European women are trafficked with regularity), or white North American girls, or Afrikaners, it is a fair assessment that the global attention would be immediate and all governmental resources would be sent out in force. But I’m not sure what this has to do with the Nigerian situation in particular. If 200 expatriates/white kid immigrants were stolen out of one of the international schools, Goodluck Jonathan would never sit on his laurels as he has done and risk be damned, JTF would be organising at once. I mean hell, it’s three Dutch people who were abducted from Bayelsa just hours ago, and already the military is scrambling to account for it (meanwhile, Shell destroys the Delta, pollutes all of Ogoniland, and hires mercs to slaughter Naija citizens with not a peep from the government) when we are still unable to even get an accurate number of just how many of these children were abducted.
…But juxtaposing these kids with hypothetical white bodies strikes me as unnecessary and rather useless because at its core, the reaction to event itself demonstrates the chasm between the government of Nigeria and its people. For the most part the ruling body is a mob of men who abjure any responsibilities to their nation and are interested in only self-aggrandisement and lining their pockets with foreign bills. The domestic police and the SSS can snatch up anyone who speaks too harshly of their officials, but for some reason after all these years and public mobilisations, they are unable to produce even a theory of how a relatively minor group could go from the Maitatsine bullshit parade to a force with the motive and means to kill thousands of people in the space of five years.
And that’s because they don’t want to.
I mean there’s a conversation here, but about incredibly complex questions of Nigerian self-determination and the socioecomics of interethnic conflicts that precede even Eurropean colonialism. Not so much about why America isn’t paying enough attention.