That night was unusual, the ethereal attribute of the night engulfed Chibok, drowning it’s remnants into an abyss of sorrow and despair. At the stroke of mid-night Chibok, a small town in Borno State lost 300 “protectors of culture” into the hands of the Islamist militant group, Bokoharam.
The sectarian violence perpetuated by Bokoharam now seems imperishable, having no scope of reversal. Since 2002 Nigeria has been the victim to huge scale mass killing, abduction, kidnapping at the hands of the Islamist militant group Bokoharam- etymologically “No Western Education”.
In May 2014 Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan claimed, Bokoharam to possess eternal threat to the civilian population of the country, leaving at least 12,000 dead and over 8,000 crippled so far. Having gained tremendous strength since 1990, Bokoharam aims at manifesting a civil and ethnic strike in Nigeria. Under the stable leadership of Abudakar Shekau, the militant group aims at furthering the cause of Islam which is however subject to their interpretation. In 2013, the U.S department of State declared Bokogaram to be a terrorist group, potential threat to humanity.
While it is supposed to be a terrorist group, aiming at establishing an Islamic State, Bokoharam aims at rationalizing its goals by employing civilians including women and children making it seem incredibly devastating and excruciating.
Thus, the question of why women? How women? What role do women play in a conflict? Further, it enables one to establish a strong linkage between what women do and how they are beseemed to the interest and demands of the militant groups.
Women supposedly, fall under the ambit of the minorities which also includes religious, ethnic, cultural groups who are least accumulated into the dominant fabric/mainstream. As the causal effect of a conflict might be hindered by the process of peace building, a certain section of the society continues to reign under despair, agony and sorrow. While the world forgets the conflict, some just cannot afford to let the memories of the massacre go down easily. Legion of example fall our way which sanctifies the above statement-the actions of Bokoharam being a very prominent one, some other includes that of militant groups in Afghanistan, Liberia and also in several western countries. While these remain some of the tangible accounts of women being utilized as weapon of terror, the violence perpetuated on women bottled up in the domestic space is no less devastating than those men who are sent to provide testimony to their valor on the war-field. For women, as Cynthia Enloe adequately hints, the post-conflict scenario brings in worst conditions subliming war victory and defeat alike.
The sagacity of the tumultuous path of terror, opened before the world the cruelty with which Bokoharam as well as the society sees women. The protector of culture while being closer to nature is attributed with several other features-weak, frail, docile, modest, kind, humble. Further on women moving beyond this established paradigm are subject to alienation and widely assorted as undignified and characterless.
Women are supposed to abide by the rules set up by the patriarchal society and so did those 300 women and several others in different parts of the country when smashed under a crisis. Bokoharam moving violently against the Christian minorities in Nigeria urged them to either convert or give up on their lives. Women as supposed to be the most shuttle creature on earth however come to resist such enforcement with great vigor and therefore more tranquilized and pulverized by the odd forces of the society.
On 27 of July, the wife of the vice-president of Cameroon was kidnapped followed by 3 other being abducted in the northern town of Kolofata, still the head of the state remains clueless and the bottom rules remains the same. With the rapid intensification of the activities of the militant group, Nigeria seems to be forced into oblivion. As reported by several news bureaus, the women under captivation were forced to take up Christianity be rigged off to the last bone. They are not only sexual assault but also turn victim to incessant torture, mental and psychological torments. Bokoharam militants also threaten to sell off those captured girls, if they do not adhere to their understanding of Islam, i.e not converting to Islam and abiding by the rules of a pure Muslim as interpreted by them. They are imposed upon the tradition of “hijab”, along with several other orthodox understanding which might fall off the course otherwise.
As tears solidify, families still cling on to their hopes of seeing their daughters face again, dead or alive. Mercilessness, unsympathetic, inhumane treatments have now got internalized; kidnapping and abduction not being treated with aghast and tearful eyes.
Hundreds of parents along with several social organizations have made their voices bolder with ever passing day materializing their demands further in the form of campaigns such as “Bring Back Our Girls” to make their voices count and whisk off the reckless attitude of the government of the day. With such counter hegemonic strikes, hope arises for a better tomorrow which on one hand might be treated with suspicion but greater affability. The hopes and aspirations remain unfathomable and not yet ceded into the grasp of impracticality at times. However, with an understanding of the pitiful condition of those nullified in the middle-east or in the house next door in the slum, our conscious indulgence can only bring about a difference, a difference very much conceivable and tangible in nature. Need arises not just to see conflict as a perpetuation and humanitarian crisis but also need arises to recognize who falls as the “human” in the “humanitarian”. Do women also possess an equal stake? Is the voice of the distressed woman of Gaza also as audible as someone on the streets? If not, then why and when wil this change. To change, need is to realize and set the rules differently, not to dominate but to engage and ensure a space a of greater freedom and autonomy.
Copyright © 2014 • UN Post • All Rights Reserved