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This Is Not OK: Paying Attention to Nigeria's Kidnapped Girls

by Michael Austin, published

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.

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.


Blesing Abana

Yayi Abana

Deborah Abari

Deborah Abbas

Hauwa Abdu

Safiya Abdu

Sieker Abdul

Awa Abge

Deborah Abge

Kummi Aboku

Hamsatu Abubakar

Mairama Abubakar

Hasana Adamu

Naomi Adamu

Arnina Ali

Asabe Ali

Mary Ali

Comfort Amos

Deborah Amos

Mary Amos

Rifkatu Amos

Ruth Amos

Saraya Amos

Esther Ayuba

Saratu Ayuba

Hauwa Balti

Awa Bitrus

Christina Bitrus

Godiya Bitrus

Na'omi Bitrus

Rahila Bitrus

Ruth Bitrus

Nguba Buba

Maryamu Bulama

Abigail Bukar

Yana Bukar

Gloria Dama

Maifa Dama

Muwu Daniel

Talata Daniel

Filo Dauda

Mary Dauda

Saratu Dauda

Patiant Dzakwa

Saratu Emmanuel

Lydia Emmar

Monica Enoch

Aisha Ezekiel

Rifkatu Galang

Halima Gamba

Aishatu Grema

Comfort Habila

Liyatu Habitu

Febi Haruna

Tabitha Hyelampa

Ladi Ibrahim

Rahap Ibrahim

Hanatu Ishaku

Ruth Ishaku

Zara Ishaku

Hauwa Ishaya

Hauwa Isuwa

Awa Hames

Deborah Jafaru

Ladi Joel

Esther John

Jummai John

Laraba JOhn

Rhoda John

Eii Joseph

Esther Joshua

Hauwa Joseph

Rebeca Joseph

Ruth Joshua

Yana Jushua

Rebeca Kabu

Ruth Kollo

Hauwa Kwakwi

Rikiya Kwamtah

Kauna Lalai

Aisha Lawan

Faita Lawan

Maryamu Lawan

Ruth Lawan

Kauna Luka

Ma'omi Luka

Rebecca Luka

Gloria Mainta

Kabu Malla

rebecca Mallum

Laraba Maman

Asabe Manu

Kwadugu Manu

Esther Markus

Saratu Marcus

Aishatu Musa

Awagana Musa

Hanatu Musa

Hauwa Musa

Helen Musa

Maryamu Musa

Palmata Musa

Rejoice Musa

Saraya Musa

Hauwa Mutah

Kame Mutah

Lugwa Mutah

Ruth Ngladar

Hauwa Nkeki

Rachael Nkeki

Hanatu Nuhu

Pindar Nuhu

Grace Paul

Jummai Paul

Laraba Paul

Ladi Paul

Mary Paul

Saraya Paul

Deborah Peter

Hauwa Peter

Rhoda Peter

Naomi Philimon

Mwa Malam Pogu

salomi Pogu

Tabitha Pogu

Yana Pogu

Luggwa Samuel

Saraya Samuel

Serah Samuel

Luggwa Sanda

Rejoice Sanki

Margaret Shettima

Yanke Shittima

Tabitha Silas

Kwanta Simon

Lydia Simon

Deborah Soloman

Rifkatu Soloman

Hana Stephen

Mary Sule

Saraya Mal Stover

Fatima Tabji

Hauwa Takai

Hauwa Tella

Solomi Titus

Esther Usman

Maimuna Usman

Mary Usman

Ladi Wadai

Muli Waligam

Margret Watsai

Marayamu Wavi

Hauwa Wule

Glory Yaga

Mairama Yahaya

Christy Yahi

Anthonia Yahonna

Deborah Yahonna

Laraba Yohonna

Mary Yohanna

Na'omi Yahonna

Rahilla Yohanna

Dorcus Yakubu

Hadiza Yakubu

Juliana Yakubu

Mary Yakubu

Maryamu Yakubu

Rifkatu Yakubu

Suzana Yakabu

Jinkai Yakabu

Jinkai Yama

Margaret Yama

Saraya Yama

Yana Yidau

Hauwa Yirma

Naomi Zakaria

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