Today is the two-month anniversary of the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which disappeared on March 7 about an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur and heading to Bejing. The plane, with its 241 passengers, has been missing ever since. Just this morning, I got a push notification from CNN on my cell phone letting me know that there would be a press conference today to discuss the most recent developments in the case of the missing plane.
It’s funny how the world’s attention works. By now, there is no possibility that the passengers of Flight 370 are still alive, but we are obsessed with mysteries. What happened to the plane? Why did it change course? Where is it now? We want to know.
Another story of missing people has also been getting traction in the world, thanks largely to social media sites that have kept it alive in the absence of 24/7 coverage on CNN. Three weeks ago, on April 15, about 300 girls were abducted from the dormitory in their school in Northern Nigeria. The girls were taken by a terrorist group claiming to have something to do with Islam. The leader of that group has stated publically that he intends to sell the girls as wives and sex slaves in Nigeria and neighboring countries. As many as 276 of the girls remain in the hands of these human traffickers, who have reportedly also abducted other young women from their homes.@foundersteinIt's not OK that we live in a world where teenage girls are kidnapped and sold into sexual slavery.
At the bottom of this post, I have typed in the names of 177 Nigerian girls who were kidnapped and confirmed to be still missing. I used this list as the basis for the names. It is an embarrassingly small gesture, born out of frustration, compassion, guilt, horror, and a feeling of utter helplessness about a tragedy unfolding thousands of miles away in a country that I am unforgivably ignorant about. Like so many people around the world, I want to do something, and there is nothing I can do.
Except pay attention. Really pay attention. And unlike the passengers of Flight 370, or even Clive Bundy’s cows, these young women are in a situation where the attention of the world might really matter. It is not OK that we live in a world where teenage girls are kidnapped from their schools and sold into sexual slavery in the name of religion. This is a situation that really matters, and we owe it to these girls–and to all girls–to pay attention.
Mwa Malam Pogu
Saraya Mal Stover