Boko Haram probably sounds like a made-up word to some Westerners, much like al-Qaeda did at first, but the grim reality of the Islamic terrorist group’s brutality truly makes one wish for a more fictional foundation. Sadly it is genuine, and the scores of nameless Christians and education-seeking citizens put to the blade or bullet continue to fill unmarked graves. These revelations are just the tip of the iceberg.
The international rally cry to bring back the 276 abducted school girls from Chibok village is a good sign, especially after the years of barely noted wholesale slaughter in the region. Unfortunately, this is hardly viable without military action, as Boko Haram, which is known to slit throats and burns villages, is a heavily armed militant organization. Like so many other trouble spots in modern times, Boko Haram commits these barbaric acts under the guise of Islamic religious purity against Western imperial philosophies.
Boko Haram translated means “western education is a sin.” These are very telling words that thrust the core ideology of the terrorist group right out front, and utter a staunch warning to anyone trying to get a foothold into the Nigerian economy as it continues to grow internationally.
Aaron Sayne enunciated in a United States Institute of Peace (USIP) special report, that a relationship between global warming/climate change and Boko Haram exists. The USIP report from 2011 correlates a lack of governmental responses to climate change to violence: “Poor responses to these, in turn, open the door to conflict.” This creative attempt to link the two might have some merit, but the larger issue of violent, fundamental Islamic terrorists, hell-bent on imposing a form of Sharia law on unarmed and helpless people is much simpler.
The frequency of similar attacks and patterns in many Islamic countries continues to be an issue, but cherry-picking stories out of the ravaged basket of morbid reality tales yields the minimal response from the powers that be. Having First Lady Michelle Obama join the “bring back our girls” campaign might be the leverage needed to get something done, but no matter how stirring this story is, it is just the tip of the iceberg.
Politically correct attempts to keep the Muslim world from being demonized as a whole continues to paint a lacquer over the reality of the problem. All the while, the faceless victims of violent fundamentalism continue to stack higher and higher. The breaking point of this muted conflict, that in the case of Boko Haram claims lives daily; not just from murder, but from rape, torture and other crimes against humanity, is hard to see without some kind of intervention.
The truth of the matter is that this is a war against the world. The global economy needs people with educations that range from chemistry, mathematics and literature to economics, engineering and art. The workforce needed to bring Nigeria into a more stable regime lies in the economic benefits of empowering its citizenry to engage in the ever-expanding global world market. Without the “sinful” western education, poverty and desperation, not global warming, will continue to ravage the minds and wills of people struggling to fend for themselves and their loved ones in a region torn by scarcity and strife.
Boko Haram and other such terrorist organizations represents a particularly troublesome ideology which creates a cycle of economic depression by omitting the core skills needed to engage the world we share together. It further deadens the ability for growth by neutering the only institutions capable of enriching the youth with knowledge, and brainwashes them into a dismal pattern of destructive fundamentalism and social blindness.
Bringing back the abducted girls would be a small victory, but the larger war against ideas of division and anger rages unchallenged in the many dark regions of the world. One day a head-on collision against this growing form of tyranny is going to be necessary, and getting beneath the surface to see the whole iceberg is essential to deal with the untouched caches of power, like Boko Haram, which exist in wayward third world countries.
Opinion by J. Benjamin