They are still searching. On the one year anniversary, three powerful countries vow not to give up hope. Considerable work and commitment has been exerted in the past year, since the terrible incident. An impressive 23,000 square miles have been searched. The searchers announced that they will expand the search area, continue to scour the area and assured the public that they will stay optimistic.
They are searching for a plane in the bottom of the Indian Ocean, Malaysian Air Flight 370, not for the 275 Chibok girls who were abducted by Boko Haram, and believed to be still alive.
Both tragic events occurred within a month of each other. The global response was drastically different and highlights the disparity and attention given to children. The kidnapped girls of Chibok garnered little more than a clever, slick and meaningless 5 second cyber hashtag campaign #BringBackOurGirls. The media splash generated 5 million hashtags and lured the world into complacency, but not one child has been rescued from the barbaric Boko Haram who claimed that the girls were sold into sex slavery, forced marriages and intimidated into converting to Islam. While the world dawdled and dragged its feet over how to rescue these innocent children, precious time was wasted and precious little was done to search for the girls. The Hollywood inspired hashtag movement quickly faded into oblivion. Memo to world leaders: cyber hashtags campaigns are a pitiful and worthless substitute for a military campaign to stop and destroy these murderous terrorists.
Contrast the inaction of the world to the Chibok kidnapping, to the tragic event which occurred one month before. In March of 2014, when Malaysian Air Flight 370 went missing, the world leaders immediately coalesced to search for the missing plane. Every technological and military asset was employed to locate the plane with 239 people on board. Remember how the entire global community, 12 countries, many of whom were otherwise adversaries, organized at great expense and extraordinary cooperation to search for the plane’s wreckage. It was a marvel to behold how the world could galvanize such a complex undertaking in such a short timeframe.
Over 17 ships were deployed by various countries, and at least 19 sophisticated planes airlifted to the site to search for plane wreckage and listen for a ping from the black box of a plane presumed sitting in the bottom of the vast Indian ocean. No resource was spared in the search and recovery mission. CNN dazzled its audience with state of the art technology used by the United States and other searching countries to locate the plane.
But for the 275 innocent girls of Chibok, Nigeria abducted in the dead of night by the violent thugs of Boko Haram, the global community did not have the will nor leadership to mount even a drone to search for the girls in the hours following the kidnapping. No sophisticated planes, no international cooperation, no technological and military assets were worthy for the little girls of Chibok. The pathetic inertia and apathy speaks volumes about the status of children. The world did nothing, barely lifted a finger and Boko Haram continues its violent rampage of murder, rape, and destruction emboldened by global cowardice.
This sad chapter for Nigeria and the world hearkens back to the words of Edmund Burke, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
Where was America’s leadership in the fateful days of the Chibok kidnapping? The answer is revealed below. Now we know why nothing happened to rescue the girls. Now, we know why slick hashtag campaigns emanating from Hollywood and the White House fooled us into thinking they cared. They care only about their ideology, not innocent children. It’s not that Obama couldn’t find the girls, it’s that he wouldn’t. Read it and weep.
Elizabeth Yore is the former Special Counsel at Harpo, Inc. where she served as Oprah Winfrey’s Child Advocate. She was also the former General Counsel at the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, where she worked to find and rescue missing children around the world.