led to the deaths of 17, to the blaze of terror that has led to the slaying of up to 2000 people in Nigeria at the hands of Boko Haram. I'm guilty enough of failing to address the attacks that have levelled Baga and caused havoc in several other towns over the weekend.
The problem is complexity. The Paris story regarding the murder of the staff of Charlie Hebdo magazine and others has a familiarity and scale that I can grasp. The issues regarding deciding what to print and publish versus the reality that there are people who would very much like to curtail that freedom absolutely and remove that ability to choose how one uses ones voice is something I can find a fast position with. The scale of the tragedy is not dissimilar to mass shootings that have occurred here in the States, or in Canada or Australia recently. France, as with the US, is a majority Christian and white nation, where the Enlightenment traditions regarding freedom of speech, religion, and the press, have coincided with a history of colonialism that I feel competent to address in the microcosm.
The enormity of the scale of the Boko Haram attacks, (about which no true numbers can be found, because the people on scene have simply despaired of counting all the bodies, and because the government of Nigeria does not seem interested in the real numbers), is orders of magnitude greater, and coexistent with a more profound history of colonialism and without our little Western era of Enlightenment. In fact, Boko Haram, in name, is saying that Western Education--our Enlightenment concepts of science, liberalism, freedom, are forbidden.
I'm not on good footing discussing such realities. But I know I'm not on any kind of footing if I don't address them. Not addressing them is what allows these sorts of horrors to exist, and enables Boko Haram to occupy an area about the size of Belgium, and act out in fronts against Niger, Cameroon and Chad. Many countries, since the extraordinary high number of kidnappings that led to the popular #bringbackourgirls--which did not and likely could not have gone terribly far--have considered Boko Haram a terrorist group.
To me this looks very much like a war. It looks like a war where the group, Boko Haram, is forming a kind of ersatz caliphate similar to ISIL where they are carrying out missions that are acts of war--even if their method is not according to any lawful rules of war. To me--when I consider the kind of people who would turn little girls into bombs, I see a very real need to militarily address them in the most decisive way, to confront the country and mobilize them against the real threat to their lives--not to downplay the enormity of their actions. I can not comprehend a situation where the government of Nigeria cannot address the threat to their citizens as a war, and yet there is a reason--they can't?
This is well beyond the kind of thing I can speak to. It's madness.