If you watched or listened to much news last week you would have heard all sorts of news stories. Some about a racist basketball team owner, some about a botched execution in Oklahoma and limitless amounts of celebrity gossip and paparazzi photography.
To paraphrase something my beautiful wife said last week when we were watching a major network’s nightly newscast, “Why aren’t they talking about the kidnapped girls in Nigeria?”
Yes, why aren’t they talking about 270 girls who were kidnapped in Nigeria on April 15, 2014 while attending school? They were kidnapped by a group called Boko Haram which when translated in English means, “Western education is sinful”. Some reports state that the group plans to sell the girls and have them married, and the group has released a video saying as much.
Supposedly some girls have already been sold for about $12.
Also, I heard this morning that 8 more girls were kidnapped.
So, why has it been over 20 days and we in America are just starting to hear whispers of this story? If you’ve been on social media, you probably heard about it before you heard anything significant on TV. The #bringbackourgirls tag has been the rallying cry for this story on Twitter and Facebook. But why no major national attention? We will hear about missing planes for weeks but not about missing African school children?
The easy answer is…I don’t know.
The hard answers are…
Even though we may not hear, these girls have names.
Even though we may not hear, these girls have families who are grieving.
Even though we may not hear, these girls just wanted to go to school.
Even though we may not hear, these girls are worth far more than $12.
We can be shocked into inaction because we are so far removed from the real fear these girls and their families are going through. But here are some things I do know…
First, we should, “cry with those who are crying. Consider everyone as equal, and don’t think that you’re better than anyone else” (Romans 12:15-16 CEB). These families and mothers are weeping for their children and we should grieve with them. We should decry the injustice as if it were our own children, our own daughters, who were kidnapped.
Also, God loves these girls. God wants them to be reunited with their families and wants them to go to school safely. Jesus had strong words for his disciples when they tried to prevent the children from coming to him, from hearing him and from being blessed by his teaching.
But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.”
Mark 10:14 (NRSV)
Even though we are far away, we can pray. Blogger and author Sarah Bessey gave us a good start with her post, “In which we pray: bring back our girls”.
Finally, even though the major news networks are glossing over this story, others are not. We can read (see Nicholas Kristof’s column “Bring Back our Girls”) and listen to the story so that it doesn’t go unheard. We can have conversations and share the story so that the silence will not end with us.
Do not let the cries of these girls and their families go unheard. Do not let the media silence fool you that the story is not important.
Do not let the cries of a Nigerian mother go unheard.
May we hear, may we see and understand their suffering. May we be the voice of the girls that has been silenced. May we, like God, seek and pray for their deliverance.