"230 School girls were kidnapped from their dormitory by the terrorist group Boko Haram. These girls were studying for their exams and in the middle of the night armed men ripped them from their beds. Educating girls will save the world and now we must save these girls. The future of Nigeria depends on the rescue of all of these girls and the stabilization of the country."
I have been watching this story develop for some time. It went from a tiny blip on the western world's radar, to a cry heard around the world. At the center is a group of 230 young women who have been kidnapped while they were away from their families at boarding school.
So many feelings, ideas and judgments come from this information. Robbing someone of their education is a powerful show of cowardice, the act demonstrates fear of what they will become.
For me, it hits home in many ways. I was very lucky, and went to boarding school for part of my high school experience (which was where I learned the importance of education, and began the process of maturing past the reactionary person I had been up until then). My Father is from The Gambia, in West Africa, very close to Nigeria, and I witnessed my female cousins be the first women in a monstrous family to pursue education seriously. I have younger sisters who are in school now, working themselves to the bone to make sure they have the credentials necessary to be successful in life. I am an arts educator, and have had the privilege of teaching, and mentoring many young women.
As a male who has had the privilege of education, I know first hand how far what I learned in school got me. We often take the things we know for granted, because in the US, we are lucky enough to have free education (standards, and the discrepancies of quality with relation to class aside, as those issues are highly important). These girls were ripped from a place that was supposed to be safe, while they were working to get themselves to better places in life. The thought that they were kidnapped while trying to build futures is disconcerting, as if there was no thought about them as contributors to society. That group represents our future lawyers, bankers, scientists, musicians, politicians, teachers, mothers, aunts, grandmothers, great-grandmothers, or ancestors.
This is not the first instance like this, and it will definitely not be the last. I feel that it is time for me to take a stand. I feel it is time for K-SISE to say that this is not okay, that taking education from ANYONE is wrong, and completely unacceptable to take it (by force and by kidnapping) from young women who have sacrificed more than many in the western world can understand to be there.
Education is critical; it gives compassion to the ignorant, power to the poor. I refuse to sit back and just let this happen.