Malala Yousafzai And The Chibok Girls, Same Coins In Different Pots.

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Malala Yousafzai And The Chibok Girls, Two Coins In Different Pots

Less than two hours ago, Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan and Kailash Satyarthi of India, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace, for their struggles against the suppression of children and for young people’s rights, including the right to education. For Malala, her global attention came after she was shot in the head by the Taliban — two years ago, Thursday — for her efforts to promote education for girls in Pakistan. Since then, after recovering from surgery, she has taken her campaign to the global stage, notably with a speech last year at the United Nations. As for Satyarthi, now 60, he showed great personal courage in heading peaceful demonstrations focusing on the grave exploitation of children for financial gain. Though this two shared the Prize for Peace, but my focus is on Malala whose antecedents are much similar to that of the 276 abducted schoolgirls from Chibok Community on April 14th.

Some months ago, Malala came to Nigeria and celebrated her 17th birthday with a handful of the 57 abducted girls who escaped Boko Haram. In her speech, she said to the girls, “Continue learning and you will succeed because we did succeed in our journey. There is peace in Swat. Every girl is going to school. The same way, we will be here one day we will see all of you going to school, getting your education.” Now if you read through Malala’s history before the Taliban attack, before her speech at the United Nations and before her very global ascension, you’d noticed that one thing does stood out -she was NO BODY! Just like the Chibok Girls who today are NO BODY, Malala was sometime a NO BODY. Her being SOMEBODY today is not by a touch of providence nor characterized by a divinitive attritions, but because the entire world fought for her. The world gave her voice, empowered her and re-engineered her course for a better future, not just for the Swat valley children, but for all girl-child around the world.

Malala felt the trauma of been shot, of her very existence been threatened. But the 276 abducted Chibok girls feel more. And yes, this is not to trivialize what Malala went through, but to build the pixated frame of what the Chibok girls are presently going through. Excuse my exposition of the reality of these girls, but they feel the trauma of being raped endlessly, for the past 180 days. They feel the agonizing pains of being tortured endlessly for the past 180 days. They feel the sting of being violated in all manner of ways, doing things that are completely unethical, unholy, and absolutely unjustifiable for girls their age. And worst, they feel the disappointment inspired by the neglect of their own government to rescue them, to provide for them, the succor that they need in their most trying time. Those are the true picture of the girls who are still held hostage against their wish. The world did not leave them to their fate, Gordon Brown who wrote an inspiring “I am Malala” petition to the United Nations never forgot about them, the people who are working tirelessly to have them forgotten, are the Nigerian government as well as individuals and groups who are making billions from their misfortune.

Gordon Brown offered to take the 57 girls to the United Kingdom for complete rehabilitation and education, but this offered was boycotted by Nigerians who felt that directly or indirectly, they won’t benefit anything from the process. They specifically told Gordon Brown that they won’t allow any of the girls to travel abroad for any reason whatsoever. After visiting Borno State with Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Nigeria’s Finance Minister, Brown offered to bring in professionals who will provide the psycho-social therapy they need, as well as educationists who will take care of their special educational needs…these offer too, was turned down. Your guess as regards to why, is as good as mine.

Malala was NO BODY yesterday but today she’s SOMEBODY. If the Chibok girls’ story can be trumpeted with the positivism that it requires, if the already escaped 57 girls can be given the attention and positive publicity as Malala was, then they can even become a greater SOMEBODY tomorrow.

Nigerians, the onus is no longer on the government to do the needful, it can’t and it won’t. The onus is on you to make sure that these girls are brought back and the already freed ones, be given the best attention. In the word of Betty Reese, “If you think you are too small to be effective, you have never been in bed with a mosquito.” Your voice can never be too low to be high.

God bless the Bring Back Our Girls Advocacy Group for their unflinching campaign.