How about more attention on massacres, at the very least?
That’s what Nigerian Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama virtually cried out for after the latest breathtaking wave of crimes against humanity there.
As the world mourns the vicious massacres in Paris, one of Africa’s top religious leaders suggested that the lack of a similar outcry across the globe over the slaughter of up to 2,000 people by Boko Haram last week in northeast Nigeria is further evidence that Black lives don’t matter as much as whites’.
Ignatius Kaigama, the Catholic Archbishop of Jos and president of the Nigerian Bishops Conference, said the international community has expressed “solidarity,” but hasn’t done much to offer real help.
“We have always said that there should be concern expressed more concretely by the West beyond just expressing their solidarity,” Kaigama said. “They should do more than that. Compare what has happened in Paris and what is happening here. There is a great difference.”
According to Amnesty International, most of the people killed in Baga and the surrounding villages were women, children and the elderly, who were not able to flee in time. Reports say that the villages are overwhelmed with dead bodies lying as far as the eye could see. Amnesty International said it was the deadliest massacre Boko Haram has staged in the years of its murderous reign.
In addition to the dead, another 30,000 people are thought to have fled their homes, with about 7,500 seeking sanctuary in Chad and the rest adding to the tens of thousands of displaced people already scattered throughout that region of Nigeria.
On Twitter, Imad Mesdoua, a political analyst at consultants Africa Matters, said, “No breaking news cycle, no live reports, no international outrage, no hashtags,”…
Harry Leslie Smith, the 91-year-old who the Independent said electrified the Labour Party conference last year with a speech on the NHS, said on Twitter: “Note to the media and Western politicians that Paris isn’t burning but Nigeria is.”
On his Facebook page, Hollywood actor Boris Kodjoe congratulated the world leaders for taking part in the Paris march and asked “can somebody tell me why nobody is marching for those [Nigerian] victims? Any world leaders planning a trip to Lagos or Abuja this week? Too Busy? Bad flight connections?”
Thankfully, Angelina Jolie gets a lot of attention on just about everything she does and says, and she’s stepping up and speaking out about these atrocities, and calling out world leaders to send relief. This CNN report tells the raw story.
The attackers sped into a Nigerian town with grenade launchers — their gunfire and explosions shattering the early morning calm.
As terrified residents scattered into bushes in Baga town and surrounding villages, the gunmen unloaded motorcycles from their trucks and followed in hot pursuit.
Residents hid under scant brush. Bullets pierced them.
Some sought refuge in their homes. They were burned alive.
Many who tried to cross into neighboring Chad drowned while trying to swim through Lake Chad.
By the time the weapons went quiet, local officials reported death tolls ranging from hundreds to as many as 2,000 people.
That was January 3, nine days ago.
On Monday, bodies still littered the bushes in the area.
“It is still not safe to go and pick them up for burial,” said Musa Bukar, the chairman of the local government where Baga is located.
No emergency crews will enter the villages where militants are still running amok, local authorities said.
“Baga is not accessible because it is still occupied by Boko Haram,” said Sen. Maina Ma’aji Lawan of northern Borno state.
The strategic Nigerian town borders Chad, giving the extremists better access to both countries.
Boko Haram has terrorized northern Nigeria regularly since 2009, attacking police, schools, churches and civilians, and bombing government buildings. The Islamist group has said its aim is to impose a stricter form of Sharia law across Nigeria, which is split between a majority Muslim north and a mostly Christian south.
The group’s brutal tactics have shocked and stunned the world.
It has kidnapped students, including more than 200 schoolgirls who were abducted in April — and remain missing.
On Saturday, explosives strapped to a girl detonated at a crowded marketplace in Nigeria, killing at least 20 people. Although no one has claimed responsibility, Boko Haram militants are the main suspects.
But the scale of the early January attack — the death of hundreds, possibly thousands — defies belief.
Any one of those sentences is a jaw dropping stunner. Why is this continuing? Isn’t anyone doing anything? Where’s the ‘international community’? Where’s the massive rally and outcry and gathering of world leaders? Where’s the social media campaign to activate people around the globe to stop the madness and inhumanity to innocent children, women, elderly, everyone in the path of this murderous gang?
Angelina Jolie wants to know, too. And in her position with the UN and the media in general, she has a voice and is using it, thank God.
“Each new crime committed by Boko Haram exceeds the last in brutality. This is a direct consequence of the environment of total impunity in which Boko Haram operates. Every time they get away with mass murder, rape and the enslavement of women and children, they are emboldened,” Angelina Jolie, special envoy of U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, said in a statement.
She urged the United States and other nations to offer Nigeria help to “collect evidence and bring the perpetrators of these attacks to justice.”
Amnesty International called the massacre Boko Haram’s “deadliest act.”
“If reports that the town was largely razed to the ground and that hundreds or even as many as 2,000 civilians were killed are true, this marks a disturbing and bloody escalation of Boko Haram’s ongoing onslaught,” said Daniel Eyre, Nigeria researcher for Amnesty International.
The Nigerian military said the description of the attack as “the deadliest” was “quite valid.”
“The attack on the town by the bloodhounds and their activities since January 3 should convince well meaning people all over the world that Boko Haram is the evil all must collaborate to end,” it said.
Should is such a weak term, an innocuous one in this case. Convince? Does a case need to be made? Don’t the brutal facts shock all “well meaning people all over the world” into taking some action, any action, to call their members of government to DO something? And to do something themselves to send any form of relief available to us all?
What forms might that take, many good people desperately want to know. The first things I think of are the heroic relief organizations on the ground desperately trying to get life saving help to the thousands and thousands of innocent people terrorized and barely hanging on to life and hope, if they even have that.
Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders seems to be assisting survivors in the stricken region. CNEWA, CRS, Caritas and Samaritan’s Purse are great organizations doing so much globally. It’s not evident they can get into Nigeria, though they’re certainly on location where Iraqi and Syrian refugees have fled persecution and need help. So I checked out what Archbishop Kaigama is saying. Here’s what he’s saying about the help his people need:
The Archbishop said prayer was necessary, because the situation has gone beyond what “can be managed at the human level.”