Chibok Girls: Twelve Months and Counting

I know I haven’t written much lately.  There is much going on in life and my writing has had to take a back seat.  However, this is so important, I needed to take some time to write it.

Chibok Girls: Twelve Months and Counting
Twelve months. 
Twelve months is how long the Chibok girls have been
gone.  They’ve missed Christmas.  They should have started a new grade in
school.  They’ve missed birthdays with
their families.  Some have family that
have died, and they know nothing of it. 
They have missed birthdays, weddings, funerals.  They have had no place to worship, no home to
live in, no loving family embraces. 
365 Days.
What have these girls had? 
365 days of re-education.  365
days of sexual violence and rape.  Daily
abuse either mentally or physically. Maybe both.  365 dyas in a forced marriage.  365 days living in the bush.  If they haven’t converted, 365 days of
beatings.  Some are chosen to participate
in operations.  365 days of violence.
One Year. 
In this year, the girls’ families have been protesting daily
outside the government.  There have been
at least 11 reports of family members dying (7 fathers died in an attack, and 4
more from illnesses locals say were caused by trauma).   Whole towns have been razed and their own
town of Chibok has been taken over by the militants and then retaken by the
military.  It is now empty.  
Twelve months. 
These girls are currently in the running for 2nd place for
the longest mass abduction by terrorists. 
It won’t be long before they earn their spot in 1st place. 
In twelve months, the world has seen ISIS grow like
malignant cancer.  Boko Haram declared
its own Islamic Caliphate and has recently pledged its allegiance to ISIS.  Nigeria’s elections have been postponed.  Boko Haram has moved into Cameroon, Chad, and
Niger.  Mass abduction is not a new
tactic in Nigeria anymore.  There seems
to be no end to the violence.
Yet the girls know nothing of this.  Their world has been shattered.  Do they wake up everyday, like the Yezidi
women abducted by ISIS, begging to be killed so the suffering will end?  Do they still hold firm to their
beliefs?  Have they turned against their
families?  Are they now mothers
themselves? 
The world does not know the fate of these girls.  A recent captive, who managed to escape,
stated that Boko Haram militants told her that the Chibok girls have a new life
where they learn to fight.  Other
captives have similar stories.  One girl
spoke of how the militants enjoyed telling her stories about how they whipped
and slapped the Chibok girls until they submitted.  Another was told the Chibok girls were “ready
to slit their parents’ throats.”
None of the now-free captives can say whether the stories
are true.  One thing is certain,
however.  The Chibok girls’ kidnapping is
Boko Haram’s shining glory.  Those girls
won’t be returned without a fight.
But where is the fight? 
The families are taking up the fight politically everyday, but they are
becoming despondent.  Some even wishing
the military would just bomb Boko Haram and bring back their girls’ dead
bodies.  Victor Ibrahim Garba, a protest
leader stated, “People are saying bring back the dead
bodies so that we can bury our dead.”  
The Nigerian military, and government, say they are trying.  They have to be very precise in order to keep
the girls from being collateral damage, keep Boko Haram from turning on the
girls and killing them, and actually rescue the girls.  To make matters worse, the military reports
that Abubakr Shekau is using the girls as shields, to keep the military from
attacking.  If true, the tactic is working.
Twelve months of stalemate.
As the world grows more despondent and apathetic to the
plight of these girls, the clock is ticking. 
Are we going to write off these girls and their families?  Is the world going to shrug off
responsibility and allow these girls to be the cost of war?  Will these girls continue to live in fear,
abuse, and violence for the rest of their lives?
Twelve months and counting…
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