Boko Haram

Look, I know that entering the world of politics, in the blogosphere, is a dangerous thing. We’ve had two failed attempts at producing a ‘politics issue’ and thus our coverage of politics tends to be of a ‘soft feminist’ variety (particularly where nude protest, something of a trope in the protesting arena, is concerned).

But we simply cannot allow the abduction of schoolgirls in Nigeria -over 200 of them at the hands of Boko Haram– to go uncommented.

boko haram


A radical Islamist group, Boko Haram’s name is generally considered to be translatable as ‘western education is sinful’ (I note there are discussions on an exact translation). The group’s leader is Abubakar Shekau, as odious a piece of work as we’re likely to encounter until the next odious piece of work comes along.



I’m delighted to read that President Obama is giving up his weekly address in place of his wife, who has spoken out on the subject. The greater the coverage of this situation, the greater pressure can possibly be brought to bear and bring those girls home safely.

“What happened in Nigeria was not an isolated incident. It’s a story we see every day as girls around the world risk their lives to pursue their ambitions,” she said.

She cited the Pakistani schoolgirl and campaigner Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head for speaking out for girls’ education.

Shekau is simply another one of those failed human beings who shocks with his inhumane approach to life, and his hijacking of Islam, skewed into a uniquely personal view that cannot be found in or justified in the Qu’ran he apparently quotes in videos which mock attempts to capture him.

Those of us in ‘the west’ cannot afford to be smug about these matters. There are times when, for girls and women, there can be a ‘glass ceiling’ in terms of true equality. But some other parts of the world are centuries behind us in this respect. Overseen by fanatics for whom the west, liberal ideals, Christianity or anything else aren’t just ‘the enemy’. For these morons, women and education for anyone/everyone is the enemy too.