Boko’s Harem

I have witnessed two motorbike accidents in my life.  The first occurred in Bali, Indonesia.  I was travelling in the back of a taxi when a downpour started, and a girl in her late teens on a scooter skidded in a traffic jam at low speed and went over on her side.  I was two cars behind her, and after a few seconds of wondering what had just happened I told the taxi driver to stop and jumped out to help.  By the time I got to her, 5-10m away, all traffic had stopped, one man was picking up her belongings, another two were helping her to her feet, two more had gotten her scooter upright and were wheeling it into a nearby gas station, and a dozen more were stood nearby willing to help, the expressions on their faces and body language displaying obvious concern for her welfare.  From what I saw, she was fine but obviously shaken up.

The second occurred in Nigeria on a busy road on my way to work one morning.  A girl had just come off the back of an okada (an unofficial motorbike taxi) and had skidded along the road some way.  She was bleeding badly and screaming in agony.  As we drove past on the other side of the road, I saw Nigerian youths stripping her of clothes, telephone, and belongings and disappearing into the crowd.  Nobody was inclined to help her, and people just stood and watched as she was robbed blind.  I heard similar accounts from people who had been involved in car accidents in Nigeria, who told of being robbed while still in the wreckage or by the police on the way to the hospital.

Back in May of this year 200 schoolgirls were abducted by Boko Haram in the north of Nigeria.  Among all the (often hysterical) reporting that took place at the time, there was an elephant in the room which went unmentioned by any media outlet covering the story.  That is, the abductions were a symptom of the appalling state of Nigeria, a mere continuation – albeit escalated – of the depravity, violence, and backwardness that one encounters on a daily basis anywhere in the country.

This abduction of the 200 schoolgirls and their (presumed) subjection to physical, mental, and sexual violence is unique only by virtue of its scale, audacity, and the tenuous links it has with the perpetrators’ political aims.  But are we to believe that Nigerian girls of similar ages are not subject to the exact same treatment on a daily basis up and down the country, only on a lesser scale and without the perpetrator making political hay?

The response by the West was pathetic, due either to appalling naivety or desperation of its leaders to not offend Nigerians.  Some suggested getting the Nigerian army to assist, as if they had been American girls taken from a suburb of Phoenix and the Arizona National Guard was being asked to help.

Nigeria is on most measures a failed state, a situation caused entirely by the fact that a huge majority of its population is incompetent, dishonest, amoral, greedy, lazy, and corrupt.  Other sub-Saharan Africans detest Nigerians, as the streets of their main cities are filled with Nigerian criminals and more thrown into their jails.  It is a certainty that Boko Haram members hold positions in the Nigerian army; it is a certainty that many Nigerian soldiers will be sympathetic towards Boko Haram; it is a certainty that elements of the Nigerian army knew about the abduction in advance; it is highly likely that elements of the Nigerian army have supplied Boko Haram with weapons and information, either for ideological reasons or for money; and it is a certainty that out of every 100 Nigerian men in the area, 99 will be looking to make a quick buck out of the situation somehow.

This abduction did not come out of a clear blue sky to a functioning society.  The West’s response, if they were going to make any at all, should have been to first call Nigeria for what it is: an utter basket-case where almost every individual from the feckless president down is a despicable shit who would sell out his best friend for ten bucks rather than get off his arse and do an honest day’s work; and then to say, quite accurately, that the 200 girls are lost forever, that the fault lies squarely on the shoulders of Nigerians (Boko Haram or not), and they should all hang their heads in shame.

Instead, we got this:

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with the comment “In these girls, Barack and I see our own daughters” presumably (what other similarities are there?) due to the color of their skin.

Pathetic Twitter campaigns and opportunistic photos by politicians wives were never going to get the girls back; a refusal to acknowledge the true nature of Nigeria will ensure it happens again.  Which it has.

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