Boko Haram kidnapped 10,000 boys and the world remained silent

It says something about a culture that prides itself on humanitarian concern that this culture could care so much about 200 kidnapped girls, but not bat an eye over 10,000 kidnapped boys.

The Wall Street Journal published an article detailing the extent of Boko Haram’s cruelty against boys. I previously wrote about how the terrorist group spent the better part of 2013 murdering hundreds of men and boys in Nigeria.These acts made some international news, but it was only when Boko Haram kidnapped 197 girls that the world took major notice of the group.

The mothers of some of the girls created the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls, which went viral. First Lady Michelle Obama famously tweeted a picture of herself holding a sign with the hashtag written on it. Yet during that time Boko Haram continued to murder scores of men and boys. Shortly before and after kidnapping the girls, the group when on a killing spree, the latter of which resulted in about 400 men and boys, including infants, being slaughtered.

This received limited news coverage, yet nowhere near the amount of social media attention that the kidnapping of 200 girls received. What does our apathy buy us? What comes of this level of utter indifference to boys’ suffering? This: Continue reading

Boko Haram kidnaps 97 boys and the world remains silent

I knew this would eventually happen:

The Islamist terror group Boko Haram kidnapped at least 97 men and boys and killed 28 people this week in a raid on villages in Borno State in northeast Nigeria, a local leader and residents said Friday.

Boko Haram gunmen also injured 25 others during the raid in which scores of homes were burned, the sources said.

The gunmen raided the farming and fishing village of Doron Baga and surrounding villages on the shores of Lake Chad, about 110 miles north of the state capital, Maiduguri.

The raid and kidnappings occurred on Monday, but the news did not emerge sooner due to lack of communication and because cell phone towers were destroyed in previous Boko Haram attacks.

It is worth noting that even though the majority of the victims of this series of kidnappings and murders were male, various media outlets chose to ignore their sex. For example, the CNN article quote above is titled “Boko Haram kidnaps at least 97, kills 28 in raid.Continue reading

Boko Haram kills hundred of men and boys in village raids and #theworldremainssilent

Several days ago Boko Haram attacked another village. The militant Islamist group killed hundreds. As CNN put it:

Hundreds of people were killed in raids by Boko Haram Islamic militants in northeast Nigeria’s Borno state, on the border with Cameroon, with some sources putting the death toll at 400 to 500.

On Tuesday, heavily armed men dressed as soldiers in all-terrain vehicles and on motorcycles attacked neighboring Goshe, Attagara, Agapalwa and Aganjara villages in Gwoza district, shooting residents to death and burning homes.

The attacks forced surviving villagers to flee to Cameroon and into the Mandara Mountains on the border.

“The killings are massive. Nobody can say how many people were killed, but the figure runs into some hundreds,” said Peter Biye, a lawmaker in Nigeria’s lower parliament representing the Gwoza region.

“The area is still under the control of the insurgents, and residents can’t go back to bury the dead because of the danger involved,” he said.

That is absolutely horrific. It is also misleading. Yes, people were killed and it is difficult to say how many. However, it is not difficult to say what kind of people they were. Buried in the middle of the CNN report is this information:

The attackers, who posed as soldiers, told residents they had come to protect them from Boko Haram and asked them to assemble. They singled out men and boys and opened fire on them, Biye said.

A local leader in Attagara village, who fled to nearby Madagali town in neighboring Adamawa state, said the death toll was staggering.

“The death is unimaginable. We have lost between 400 and 500 people in the attacks in which men and male children were not spared,” said the local leader, who asked not to be named for security reasons.

“The gunmen pursued on motorcycle people who fled into the bush in a bid to escape and shot them dead.

“Even nursing mothers had their male infants snatched from their backs and shot dead before their eyes,” the local leader said.

To paraphase: Boko Haram went from village to village singling out and killing men and boys, including babies.

Of course, the attacks have failed to prompt more than a casual mention in United States media. The news outlets are far too obsessed with the Bowe Bergdahl story to worry about some militant group killing Nigerians. However, to my knowledge no one in U.S. has led with the fact that Boko Haram targeted men and boys. Even CNN titled the article “Reports: Boko Haram village raids kill hundreds in Nigeria.”

Hundreds of what? People? Animals? Trees?

Certainly not men and boys. Yet that is what Boko Haram did.

When people mentioned Boko Haram’s gender-specific violence, many liberals and feminists dismissed it. They argued that the focus was on the kidnapped girls because the girls were still alive. Fair enough. Three hundred kidnapped girls may be more important than two dozen burned, shot, and slit-throated boys.

How about 400 to 500 dead men and boys? Infants boys torn from the mothers’ backs and then “shot dead before their eyes?”

Are they important enough to mention?

Imagine if the reverse happened. Imagine if Boko Haram spent several days traveling from village to village singling out women and girls and murdering them. Imagine the social media response. The news media response. In the international response.

Now go and look for that response following the recent attacks. That is not a rhetorical joke. I want you to stop reading this, open a new tab in your browser, and search and see if you can find anyone condemning the recent violence. Now check their political affiliation.

I do not expect much from people. Humans have a tendency to latch onto what is trendy. If it is trendy to tweet #bringbackourgirls, people will do it. However, I do expect people to be consistent in their concern. If the kidnapping of 300 girls riled you up, how can you be silent when the same group murders 500 men and boys? How can you be silent they target babies? Where is your outrage? Where is your activism? Where is your decency?

And just to hammer the nail harder, I saw the news reports a few days ago but did not have time to read them. I spotted it again on men’s rights sites. The people who are supposed to be raving misogynists hellbent on finishing what Elliot Rodger started are the only people talking about this.

The irony writes itself.