Days have passed into weeks and we are hopefully not heading into months of captivity for almost 200 Nigerian schoolgirls abducted last month from a village school by the Boko Haram insurgent group. ‘It has been reported that some of these girls have successfully escaped their captors, according to a local official,’ Nigerian newspapers reports.
It was also reported that four girls fled “a little after the initial escapes” of 53 others.
The four have been reunited with their families. Islamist gunmen kidnapped 221 girls in mid-April as they took exams in the northeastern village of Chibok village in Borno state. Authorities said 164 are still in the hands of the militants.
What does this kidnapping say about a life form that roams the earth and commits such heinous acts and still is able to be labeled human? What classifies these kidnappers as a human? We are quick to say that those who commit acts of terror, destruction, torture or kidnapping are nothing but animals. How cruel we are to label animals as terrorizing, destructive, torturing creatures. Animals are protectors, hunters and friends who fiercely defend their young and even care for the wounded amongst them and the elders of their clans. Can we even say that about ourselves?
Hate crimes, crimes of war, the torturing of captive enemies – those who are deemed enemies- is the lowest form of human behavior. What takes these crimes to an unthinkable level is when they are committed against children.
I cannot begin to fathom the paralyzing fear and anxiety that any mother would be forced to endure because they don’t know what will happen to their daughters in the hands of these creatures. At a time in their lives when their days should be filled with learning, exploring, socializing and friendship, these almost 200 girls are under the threat of death.
The hands that hold the guns on these innocent children can be likened to the most devastating actions taken against our ancestors during slavery. Mother’s had babies snatched from their hands to be sold on auction. Any child was considered valuable tender for sale, no matter the age or the sex of the child.
Kidnapping these girls cannot be explained away as what is expected in war. These Nigerian school girls are not soldiers; neither should they be used to barter for the release of captured terrorists.
-Dr. Teresa Taylor Williams
We are so quick to hold those who fostered slavery and the treachery that was imposed on our ancestors as the worst crime against one race of people in the history of this country. As do those of Jewish decent view the Holocaust as the most brutal and inhumane acts against a people, we hold these embarrassments of our society as barometers. It is almost as if we are trying to compare and challenge the events surrounding each of these travesties to answer the question: “Which one was worst?”
Ideally, there is no answer as to whether the Holocaust or slavery was a more brutal period for humanity. We can agree that for each race, unfortunately, we all have our incidents of being mistreated at the least and tortured at the worst and having watched the burning or murder of our kin right before our eyes.
As a professional in the mental health field, I cannot find a viable reason for why we hate, torture, murder with no guilt. Yes, there are categories to label these creatures as suffering from any one of thousands of labels in a glossary of mental defects. But I refuse to excuse away the behaviors of individuals who have no love, no conscience, no compassion, no boundaries in the acts they will commit to have their voices heard or to promote their cause or to free their brethren from incarceration.
It appears that this is the motivation for the kidnapping of these Nigerian girls, to have those who are of this terrorist sect to be released. Should the Nigerian government negotiate with these kidnappers? Absolutely. Should every country, enemy or friend, to the U.S. or Nigeria lend a hand in freeing these young girls? Without a doubt. Can we for a short period of time put aside our strategic planning, dislike for a country’s leadership, set aside our grievances and agree to focus on the urgency to rescue these girls? Why can’t we?
In the end, war is war and when soldiers are captured by the opposition, it is a factor of war that we would hope would be eliminated. But captives of war are part of the worst reality of going into an unknown land to fight against an opposing group to effect change or create a safe and equal environment for its inhabitants.
Kidnapping these girls cannot be explained away as what is expected in war. These Nigerian school girls are not soldiers; neither should they be used to barter for the release of captured terrorists. Those who employ such a putrid act can only be deemed cowards. We pray for the quick and safe release of these girls to be returned home to their families. May God bless their souls.