Jeremiah 20:9 (NASB)
9 But if I say, “I will not remember Him
Or speak anymore in His name,”
Chibok,Then in my heart it becomes like a burning fire
Shut up in my bones;
And I am weary of holding it in,
And I cannot endure it.
“One lives in the hope of becoming a memory.”
― Antonio Porchia
On 14 April 2014 in north-eastern Nigeria the Islamic group Boko Haram orchestrated a mass abduction of almost 300 girls from Chibok, an isolated border town, Boron state. On 14 October after six months of no news the hunt to return the 219 girls still in captivity received some interest from the media.
But in fact these girls and their parents’ situations are mainly forgotten by others, including their own government in Nigeria. On Tuesday 22 July Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan met with some of the parents. But as parent Enoch Mark tells it only with “Those whose daughters escaped, they were brought to meet Malala (Yousafzai-the Pakistani teenager who survived being shot in the head by the Taliban in 2012) and the president. But most of us whose daughters are still missing, they told us that there’s no need for us to see the president. I just don’t know why this is taking this long. I can’t describe how helpless we feel.’
Malala told the media why she left Birmingham UK to come to Chibok that day in July, “I can see those girls as my sisters… and I’m going to speak up for them until they are released,” she said during a meeting on Sunday with some of the parents of the abducted children in the capital, Abuja. “I’m going to participate actively in [the] Bring Back Our Girls campaign to make sure that they return safely.”
…“I can see these girls as my sisters…”
As we approach remembrance day, especially as we focus on 100 anniversary of WWI and remembering the sacrifice of soldiers and others in defence in the past, let us also remember the present. Let us see these abducted Chibok girls with our honoured dead. These children and their parents must be remembered. If they can not be called to heart and mind alongside the soldiers we honour this day, if they cannot become present in our thoughts, then we diminish the past sacrifice of others. The sacrifices of those were not just for a long ago past moment, but an offering to stretch out to our present and beyond.
It has almost been seven months. Bring Back Our Girls. They are Chibok’s daughters; Malala’s sisters; our-our girls. Remember.