social media

Social craze: #BringBackOurGirls Twitter debate

The tag which has sparked worldwide activism is also under much scrutiny, as well as support.

The tag which has sparked worldwide activism is also under much scrutiny, as well as support. 267 Nigerian girls were taken by terrorist group Boko Haram at their school overnight.
It is said these young girls, aged between 16 and 18, are being sold as brides and into the sex trade. It is reported some of them have escaped but there are still many who are being held captive. Since #BringBackOurGirls has gone wild on Twitter, with celebrities such as Emma Watson and even Michelle Obama offering support for the cause. 
This social media appears obviously good. However, I’ve seen many cynically attack the cause and one criticism strikes as worrying than most. “Do not aid the cause, it’s an excuse for American military expansion within African continents.” That one sentence flicked a switch. “Oh,” I thought. Maybe they are right?
KONY 2012
Two years ago, I am sure many of you remember the #KONY2012 episode. The short film was created by Invisible Children. Inc and aimed to have indicted war criminal and International Criminal Court fugitive Joseph Kony arrested by the end of 2012. The film went viral, and with it, so did American military presence within Africa. 
AFRICOM, aka United States Africa Command, carried out 546 military activities within Africa in 2013. Although this figure may seem small, the purpose of AFRICOM is to ‘advance US national security interests.’
This seems okay, these interests have never been detailed and having one and a half military missions a day within Africa seems a bit strange.
AFRICOM benefitted majorly from #KONY2012, and will do from #BringBackOurGirls. Nigeria is considered a democracy, as much as it is not like Great Britain or the States – it is still considered as such and should therefore be the ones accountable for bringing justice to the families of the young girls.
It is correct to say the president of Nigeria didn’t react quick enough, however it was the Nigerians who called upon him to act – not the international community. Nigerians are learning democracy and are slowly accepting their liberty, to get involved internationally assumes military action from the states, which in turn furthers Nigeria from democracy. 
Voices heard
Cynicism aside, the support is amazing and it’s the kind of support that shows how the human race can universally come together. However, considering the previous motives of the US government in Africa, it’s also understandable why many are so cynical. 
Nigerians are oppressed, and although they are considered a democracy they might need the support of the international community in order for their voices to be heard. This argument seems much better and is far less cynical and more positive. 
Cynicism is upsetting, considering the fact I’ve read so many articles on the ‘motives of the United States’ that it seems that a lot of people have completely forgotten the real reason behind the campaign – to get the girls back to their families. Surely, this is the most important issue? Whether sorted domestically within Nigeria, or internationally between co-operating nation states. The girls getting home is what matters.
What do you think of #BringBackOurGirls? Let us know in the comments below.
Photo: Nina Matthews / Flickr