Rush Limbaugh thinks that Michelle Obama holding a sign that reads “#BringBackOurGirls” is all that’s being done to address the atrocities committed by militant group Boko Haram, because Nigerians apparently don’t exist in Rush Limbaugh’s world. He also doesn’t seem to think that having the First Lady of the United States out there to raise awareness about the abduction of more than 200 girls matters all that much.
The official media and political responses to the April abduction of the girls from their school in Chibok was slow — from the United States.
Nigerians and the African press? On it from the start. Here’s Jina Moore from Buzzfeed on how Nigerians — parents of the girls, community members and other officials — kept pressure and continue to keep pressure on their government in the wake of the mass kidnapping:
The Nigerian military claimed it had rescued most of the girls, but the school’s principal said it was untrue. Parents cried for help, and then tried to take care of it themselves. Fathers rented okadas and rode the motorcycles into the Sambisa forest, where the girls were believed to be held by Boko Haram, an armed Islamic separatist group that terrorizes northeastern Nigeria. Mothers threatened to storm the forest on foot, hoping that “as mothers, we are in a better position to have the sympathy and concern over the fate of the missing girls” than, perhaps, fathers. The parents’ desperation became a national cause, and hundreds of women rallied in the capital of Abuja and the metropolis of Lagos, demanding that the government do more to bring back the girls.
And here’s a report from Amnesty International on how local officials and regular people around Chibok acted as an alert system to try to stop Boko Haram militants from reaching the school:
According to sources interviewed by Amnesty, local civilian patrols (known as “vigilantes”, set up by the military and local authorities) in Gagilam, a neighbouring village, were among the first to raise the alarm on the evening of 14 April after a large group of unidentified armed men entered their village on motorbikes and said they were headed to Chibok. This set off a rapid chain of phone calls to alert officials, including the Borno State Governor and senior military commanders based in Maiduguri. One local official who was contacted by Gagilam residents told Amnesty: “At around 10:00 PM on 14 April, I called [several] security officers to inform them about earlier information I had received from the vigilantes in Gagilam village. They had told us that strange people had arrived in their village that evening on motorbikes and they said they were heading to Chibok. I made several other calls, including to Maiduguri. I was promised by the security people that reinforcement were on their way.”
And here’s an image from one of the many protests that have been staged over the last three weeks by Nigerians demanding action and accountability from their government:
And here’s Rush Limbaugh, acting like a bigoted fool, pretending none of it’s happening:
I just think this is pathetic. I’m just stunned. … Now, all of a sudden, for some reason, we’re on a big push to get ‘em back and this is how? Well, you can’t read the writing. It’s a plea for people on Twitter to get in gear and bring the girls back. It’s #BringBackOurGirls. [...]
Anyway, there’s Mrs. Obama looking sad and grim, and the sad thing here is that the low-information crowd that’s puddling around out there on Twitter is gonna think we’re actually doing something about it. (interruption) Exactly. Yeah, they’ll say, “At least she is trying, Mr. Limbaugh. What are you doing? At least Mrs. Obama cares! At least they’re trying to get them back.”
Here it is again, closer. See it? Is that not pathetic? What the hell message does that send? Imagine if bin Laden were still alive. Imagine Ayman al-Zawahiri. Can you imagine? They’re laughing at this over in the huts and so forth wherever they are. It is just unbelievable. #BringBackOurGirls. They’re Nigerian, unless there’s something that we don’t know.
But are we really this powerless? The correct way to look at this is the audience that will see it — the Twitter, low-information universe — will say, “Oh, Mrs. Obama! At least they care, and at least they’re trying to do something.” If somebody — sadly, unfortunately — had a family member kidnapped, this is might be what they would do, right?