With the recent mass murdering of 310 people in Nigeria at the hands of Islamic terrorist group, Boko Haram, I’m starting to believe that there’s no helping Nigeria. 276 Nigerian school girls are still missing and much of the world has joined in the outrage, via social media, with the emergence of #BringBackOurGirls. However, this hashtag may not be offering the help you think. It might actually be harming the folks in Nigeria.
Nigerian-American writer, Jumoke Balogun said it best:
When you pressure Western powers, particularly the American government to get involved in African affairs and when you champion military intervention, you become part of a much larger problem. You become a complicit participant in a military expansionist agenda on the continent of Africa. This is not good.
You might not know this, but the United States military loves your hashtags because it gives them legitimacy to encroach and grow their military presence in Africa. AFRICOM (United States Africa Command), the military body that is responsible for overseeing U.S. military operations across Africa, gained much from #KONY2012 and will now gain even more from #BringBackOurGirls.
#KONY2012 was the last time military advisers were sent to Africa. Remember that tragic moment in time? President Obama sent 100 combat-equipped troops to capture or kill Lord’s Resistance Army leader, Joseph Kony in Central Africa. This man has been killing, abducting and displacing civilians in East and central Africa since 1987. They still haven’t found him and in 2008, the AFRICOM helped plan an attack on Kony, but he was evidently tipped off and escaped before the attack claimed his life. In retaliation for his missed attack, Kony killed hundreds of nearby villagers in revenge, leaving behind scorched huts. President Obama sent more troops in March 2014 who now roam Uganda, Central African Republic, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Evidently, the U.S. involvement in this crisis undermines the democratic process in Nigeria and no matter how many heartfelt hashtags we create, nothing seems to be able to change what the violent terrorist group has planned. These terrorist groups are going to do whatever they see fit. Brave Nigerians took President Goodluck Jonathan to task and challenged him to address the tragedy of the missing girls and to do something! It is in their hands to seek justice for these girls and to ensure that the Nigerian government is held accountable. Yes, we can support, but we should more more mindful of how. Emphasis on U.S. action does more harm that help to the Nigerian people. Look at the recent attack that claimed the lives of 310 innocent villagers. This was in response to efforts being made to locate the girls. The rescue efforts have to be perfectly planned and strategically executed or more innocent lives will be claimed at the hands of the Boko Haram.
I’ve recently questioned Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan’s devotion to those poor, missing girls, because in my limited understanding, he wasn’t making many moves to ensure their safe return. However, the president touched on the the president opened up and asked for international help.
Doyin Okupe, a spokesman for Goodluck Jonathan, told CNN, “The President and the government is not taking this as easy as people all over the world think. We’ve done a lot but we are not talking about it. We’re not Americans. We’re not showing people, you know, but it does not mean that we are not doing something.”
Nigerian-American writer Teju Cole says that the involvement of the U.S. government and military will only lead to more militarism, less oversight and less democracy.
There’s a reason the Nigerian military initially lied about the number of girls who were abducted and found. With a history of extreme violence against their own people, the Nigerian military is not to be trusted. According to reports in 2013, the Nigerian military was killing, torturing, illegally detaining and raping civilians in a fight to halt an Islamic uprising in northeast Nigeria that has killed nearly 2,000 people since 2010. Could that Islamic uprising be the Boko Haram? Because if so, the Nigerian military’s solution to being dominated by the Boko Haram was to kill their people, so the Boko Haram wouldn’t. I’m not sure if I trust or understand their actions.
Nigerian-American writer, Balogun offers an alternative to overusing the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag:
If you must do something, learn more about the amazing activists and journalists like this one, this one, and this one just to name a few, who have risked arrests and their lives as they challenge the Nigerian government to do better for its people within the democratic process. If you must tweet, tweet to support and embolden them, don’t direct your calls to action to the United States government who seeks to only embolden American militarism. Don’t join the American government and military in co-opting this movement started and sustained by Nigerians.
And please don’t get me started on American filmmaker, Ramaa Mosley, who took it upon herself to take credit for starting the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag. “I was looking on Facebook and Twitter to see if anyone was talking about it, and people were not talking about it,” Mosley explained on Nightline. “There were a few people who mentioned it who were Nigerian and were posting about it, but other than that no one in the United States or in Europe had made any calls.” Mosley even claimed that although “there were a few people who mentioned it who were Nigerian and were posting about it, but other than that no one in the United States or in Europe had made any calls.”
Reports claim that while Mosley did create a Facebook page that now has over 100,000 likes, the #BringBackOurGirls movement was already in motion by the time Mosley jumped on the bandwagon. It was actually first tweeted by Nigerian citizen Ibrahim M. Abdullahi after hearing Oby Ezekwesili, Nigeria’s former Federal Minister of Education, demanding the exact phrase at a protest. And yet, ABC’s Nightline chose to crown Mosley as the patron saint of the movement, effectively giving her credit for the tireless work of Nigerian activists, families and citizens. So of course Black Twitter banned together to give Ramaa credit for…oh man, just click to find out.
Mosley represents something bigger than a thief without integrity. She represents the idea that Africa isn’t self-sufficient enough to solve its own problems. This isn’t true. Nigeria is more than capable of saving these girls. With military forces and the largest economy in Africa, Nigeria has what it takes to take down the Boko Haram. And with the intelligence, weapons and planning help from the U.S., Nigeria’s got an upper hand on the violent group, they just can’t predict what psychotic actions they will take.
What do you think is the best way to help #BringBackOurGirls? Let’s chat @Rhapsodani.
Lift Your Spirits Today!
1. 1. Play With A Puppy
It's no secret that people with pets live longer. Petting a puppy increases blood levels of the brain chemicals serotonin and oxytocin, which are both mood elevators.
2. 2. Get Less Sleep
Usually, we're told to get more sleep, but science proves that if we get less, depression lifts! Although researchers aren’t sure why it works, they speculate that one night of sleep deprivation may reset the sleep clock, enabling people who are depressed to sleep better.
3. 3. Play Peekaboo With A Kitten
As an admitted cat hater, even I can't deny the power of an adorable kitty!
4. 4. Become A Drummer
Drumming relieves stress and even allows for your aggression to be expressed in a healthy way. While it may be helpful to bang out a few notes at your desk, joining a drumming circle could be as therapeutic as, well...therapy!
5. 5. Walk It Out
Taking a walk is often used to relieve stress, but little do you know, fresh air does wonders for the brain. It energizes and uplifts!
6. 6. Smile
Turn that frown, upside down! We all know it takes more muscles in your face to frown than it does to smile. Research proves that the physiology of smiling actually makes you happy. Go ahead. Try to smile and see if notice a change in your mood.
7. 7. Feed Your Face
A dip in your blood sugar can effect your mood in a negative way. What causes your blood sugar to dip? Not eating! So make sure you get in your three square meals plus snacks, everyday! Make sure you're looking for foods rich in Omega-3 fats., as these foods have been shown to lift moods and can possibly alleviate depression. Omega-3 fats are found in oily fish like salmon or sardines, canola and olive oils, as well as flaxseeds and walnuts.
8. 8. Listen To Music
Music has a way of creating a cocoon of positivity around you. Tune out and tune into some of your favorite songs. Get lost in the melody, lyrics and soothing tunes and you'll feel better in no time.
9. 9. Volunteer
Taking yourself out of the picture and focusing on helping someone else keeps your own stress down to a minimum. Nine times out of 10, you realize that people have it worse than you, and that allows you to put your own troubles into perspective. It could always be worse.
10. 10. Get You Some
Recently a 100-year-old woman expressed that for her very special birthday, she wanted to get her some, you-know-what. But here's the thing, sex does wonders for your mood and evidently it's the fountain of youth too!
11. 11. Laugh A Little
Nothing says good mood like a healthy and hearty laugh! Making sure giggles are inserted into your day is a bonafide way of just letting it go.
12. 12. Get A Massage
By adding therapeutic massage to your routine now, you'll feel, look and simply be healthier. In fact, stress relief alone can improve your vitality and state of mind.
13. 13. Take A Deep Breath
When you're feeling frantic, you should stop, close your eyes and refocus your breathing pattern. Shift your breathing and take longer breaths. This will soothe your nerves, send oxygen to your brain and refresh your mind.
14. 14. Press Your Palms
In case you can't afford massages, give yourself one! Start with your hands, focusing on pressing the thumb from your opposite hand on the fleshiest part of your palm and firmly kneading in tiny circles and repeat.
15. 15. Let Them Eat Chocolate
Chocolate causes euphoria. No, really. The sweet treat contains alkaloids and magnesium, copper and other minerals that regulate and stabilize brain chemistry.
16. 16. Beautify Your Surroundings
Nothing says happy like looking around and catching all the beauty that's around you. Taking pride in your personal space and keeping it beautiful, makes your mood beautiful. And if that fails, surround yourself with Idris Elba.
17. 17. Stretch
Stretching a few times throughout the day stand up stretch out your arms, your back, your legs, and your neck. Be gentle and don’t over do it. Stretching should feel great and renew your energy.