Leonard Pitts Jr.
Nigeria: Extremist Islam Scared of Little Girls (Photo: Gates Foundation)
There was a method to this madness.
Meaning that night more than three weeks ago when a caravan of trucks and buses descended on a boarding school in rural Nigeria and more than 200 schoolgirls were abducted from their beds. As is often the case with acts of terror, this mass kidnapping was accomplished with a theatricality and audacity designed to inspire awe.
But the act of terror was also an act of fear. What the 2012 shooting of
As well they should. A nation where women have access to education is a nation where Islamist extremists lose much of their power to cow and bully them. A little learning, as they say, is a dangerous thing.
The kidnappers concede as much in their very name: Boko Haram. It translates as, "Western education is a sin." The group issued a video this week. "I abducted your girls," says a man identified as group leader Abubakar Shekau. "I will sell them in the market, by Allah." The video is said to ramble for an hour, filled with condemnations of Western education. "Girls, you should go and get married," says Shekau.
The international response to all this can be characterized in a word: outrage. Protests and calls for action have risen from Dakar, Senegal to Los Angeles, Calif., to Washington, D.C., to London, England. A cross-section of luminaries -- Secretary of State
I wrote this column to add my voice to theirs.
But I wrote it also because I felt a need to do more about this atrocity than talk about it. Which is how I happened to find
He is a retired educator in suburban Washington, D.C., but in the late 1960s, he was a
So in 2003, he and a few colleagues formed a nonprofit organization, the
PCNAF is a small group and it has made a small impact; by Hannans' count, they've assisted maybe 25 girls since '03. "Our scholarships are for
I agree. That's why I just sent PCNAF a small check c/o P.O. Box 65530, Washington, D.C. 20035.
No, it isn't a terribly significant gesture. Abubakar Shekau will never even feel the thumb in his eye it's meant to represent. Makes me feel better, though. Maybe you think that's crazy, and maybe you're right. But I tend to believe in the power of ripples in ponds.
There is method to this madness, too.
- How to Reverse Nigeria's Oil Curse
- Africa: The Soldier and the Street
- Africa: Exploiting Minerals, Exploiting Communities
- Nigeria's Critical Juncture: Boko Haram, Buhari, and the Future of the Fourth Republic
- Congo: Is Democratic Change Possible?
- Nigeria's Youth Factor
- What Now for Burundi? Five Key Risks
- Kenya's Sorrow and How the U.S. Fueled Al-Shabab in Somalia
- Kenya's Garissa Attack Wasn't Just a Tragedy
- Chad: A Precarious Counterterrorism Partner
- Western Sahara Since the Arab Spring: Any Hope for Change?
- Sexual Terror and Impunity in Somalia
- South Africa Resists Nuclear Oversight
- Nigerian Women in the Crosshairs
- Four Years After Gaddafi, Libya Is a Failed State
- Tragedy in Tunisia: Targeting Cultural Heritage
- Tragedy in Tunisia: Perfect Storm of Islamist Extremist Indoctrination and Lax Security
- Authoritarian Symps
- Learning the Lessons of Ebola
- Healing or Harming? The Provision of Health Care by Peacekeepers
- Nigeria: Rebuilding After Boko Haram
Article: Copyright ©, Tribune Content Agency
Nigeria: Extremist Islam Scared of Little Girls