There has been a swelling social media campaign using the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls, as the world expresses concern for the girls who were stolen from their school in Nigeria in mid-April.
Critics of the campaign suggest that even if well-intentioned, these movements rarely affect the outcome of such events, and in this case, if you aren’t a Nigerian with the constitutional rights accorded to Nigerians to participate in their democratic process, you can’t do anything about the missing girls. Some go so far as to say, as in this Huffington Post article, that the international focus on the hashtag is actually doing harm by providing “legitimacy to encroach and grow [the U.S.] military presence in Africa.”
Supporters say that, at the very least, it can’t hurt… that “the world is now talking about 276 stolen girls in Nigeria when before it wasn’t talking about them at all.”
Personally, I don’t know who’s right, but my heart aches with compassion for those girls and their devastated families.
On this Mother’s Day, across the internet many blogs are in blackout, showing silent prayerful solidarity with the bereft Nigerian mothers. One of those bloggers is Sandra Heska King who has said, “If you land there [on her blog during the blackout], you will find a message and a link. Please lift a prayer before you leave. Praying that someone will hear. Knowing that One will.”
That’s the one right thing we can all do — pray!
(You might like to listen to this as
quiet reinforcement for your prayer.)
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.
~ ~ ~
4 thoughts on “Silent Prayerful Solidarity”
Thanks for this, Judith. I’ve been checking it out, and although there are some blogs with lists of names, there is also conflicting information about the list. The LA Times says, “A local Christian group released the names of some of the girls who are missing, provoking anger because the names of Muslim girls weren’t on the list, titled, ‘Daughters of Zion Taken Captive, to Be Treated as Slaves and Sold Into Marriage to Unclean People.'” Just yesterday the Voice of America site said, “Authorities have said 276 are still missing but have not provided a list of names or other identifying details. For the most part, the girls’ families have not released the names, either.” Regardless, as Jenn says, focusing on them… remembering the missing… holding them up in prayer, can’t hurt and may help.
The other criticisms may be fair, but I think international pressures do have an effect; the very act of turning a spotlight on events often has an impact, to some degree and in some direction. That’s a big part of what international human rights organizations do–bring that pressure and attention to those who might otherwise disappear in darkness.
You’re probably right, Jenn. While some countries’ officials seem to be immune to what the rest of the world thinks, others respond to the pressure. That the world sees and cares about “the least of these” and sheds a light on the injustices has to have some effect.