#BringBackOurGirls: More harm than good?

By now, it's a known fact that more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls were kidnapped and are being held captive by the extremist Boko Haram group, who have subsequently threatened to sell them as slaves on the black market.

And, although it warms the corners of my heart that people from every creed, colour and country has come together in a united front against the misogynistic anus that is Abubakar Shekau who swings around his AK-47 like he is the law, I can't help but mull over the effectiveness of the #BringBackOurGirls social media movement.

I know what you're thinking, and I do agree that it's a beautiful sight to witness Twitter and Facebook being used for reasons other than posting duck-faced pictures. But, I have to agree with Jumoke Balogun, who in a well-written article provided reasons as to why the movement could potentially do more damage than good.

In a very frank style he said that with the world urging on the intervention of American military power, innocent Nigerian lives could be lost if a struggle occurs.

His piece raises some other interesting questions.

For instance, would the Boko Haram group back down if American soldiers were to be deployed there?

What reassurance does Nigeria have that it won't be colonised by America or any other country using their military force for intervention?

This would cause another problem, no?


Then again, inaction could be perceived by the group as the world approving. Heaven forbid!

Now, taking into consideration the good intentions the world has by advocating for the release of the captured schoolgirls, is there anything we really can do without causing further harm to more innocent people?

With so much thoughts coming to me with the gale force of the south-easterly wind, I did what every woman with internet access could do - I posted it on Facebook.

After all, it's the next best thing to asking the infinite universe for some help (minus the dead silence of course).

And like clockwork, a close friend Carol, wrote a passionate post (I could tell she was overzealous by all the exclamation marks and capital letters she used).

She said that she now understands why France had become a secular state. Please understand that she was referring to the fact that Shekau, who in a video confessed to kidnapping the girls, believed he was working through God and that God condones his actions - which is utterly ridiculous.

In the same breath she said that Shekau was not Muslim because nowhere in the holy Quran did it state "thou shalt kidnap young girls, convert them to Islam and sell them into slavery."

In fact, no religion believes in the acquisition of women.

So, it's safe to say that their actions directly contradict the instructions of the religion they claim to serve.

I'm feeling hopeless and angry that I along with many other women out there can do nothing truly effective to change the situation in Nigeria.

Perhaps that is why the hashtag was created. To make us feel as if we are participating in some form of activism.

I don't know, what do you think?

Gadeeja Abbas is an EWN online producer in Cape Town.