Real life has and always will be stranger than fiction. As last months kidnapping of more than 200 girls at the hands of terror group 'Boko Haram', causes ripples on the international scene, Nigerians are feeling a crisis of confidence in their own government. Many are scarcely able to believe what has happened.
Founded in 2002, 'Boko Haram' were subsequently proscribed as a terrorist group by the US in 2013. Their actions have drawn widespread condemnation from Muslim, Christian and non religious persons alike. In Iraq, the high frequency of beheadings ordered by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, led to leaders within Al-Qaeda denouncing such actions. It seems even bad guys recognise that not all news is good news.
A sad reality is that no amount of Facebook shares or hashtags will save these girls. Whilst celebrity action may help bring attention to unfolding events, 'Boko Haram' are not the kind of organisation that prides itself on mentions and retweets.
Groups such as 'Boko Haram' may be receptive to negotiation. Yesterday The Telegraphreported the kidnappers were 'seeking prisoner swap to return schoolgirls'. It remains unknown whether a group threatening to sell hostages, would be keen to give back kidnap victims without getting something in return.
The UK 'performed a drive-by shooting in Libya, rightly helping to depose a dictator' (Fraser Nelson). Yet appetite for action in Syria was minimal, despite Reuters reporting a death toll of over 150,000 people. Some believe Miliband needed to claim a 'moral victory' over the government when it transpired he didn't have the votes he thought he did. The game of politics may have aligned with public opinion but it could just as easily have not.
After Iraq and Afghanistan it seems the United Kingdom has somewhat lost its bottle. Has the UK turned into a nation of lemmings, where thoughts are shaped by others and we were prepared to stay out of Syria on moral grounds; yet we are desperate to get involved in Nigeria to save just over 200 girls? Clearly the actions of 'Boko Haram' are nothing other than outrageous and despicable. Sadly, in some cases it seems that morality - and the courage to do something about the wrongs in this word - is no longer absolute.
Failures by the Nigerian government didn't begin the moment these girls were kidnapped, it started long before. Military 'hard power' isn't necessarily a preventive measure that may have worked, political 'soft power' would likely have had more of an effect. Prevention is always better than the cure, however, no amount of rhetoric will save these girls now. Men committed this barbaric atrocity and much of the 'real men don't buy girls' is probably going to be lost on the kind of men who would buy a wife at market. I often wonder if such campaigns seek only to inadvertently enrage these barbaric people.
On Friday, Fleetstreet Fox argued the case for women serving on the front line in direct combat roles. She rightly says 'Women are already on the front line. And they've been fighting and dying on it for all of human civilisation.' Despite regular opposition to the use of British military power in foreign lands, I can't help but wonder that if mothers, daughters and sisters had acted to solve this problem - and not solely fathers, sons and brothers - something militarily may have happened by now.
Rhetoric and hashtags may prevent 'Boko Haram' style kidnappings from happening in the future but it won't solve the current problem. Ghastly as it may seem to some, it could be time for women to take up their bayonets whilst our male dominated Parliament is busy handbagging each other over fears that chivalry could kill them.
First posted at http://geordiebore.org.uk