Over 200 Girls Missing in Borno State, Nigeria | We MUST Care! #GraceClass

Its been in the news. We all have read or heard about it. More than 200 young girls are missing in Borno State, Nigeria. Last week, abductors kidnapped them from school at gunpoint. Reports reveal that Islamic radicals are responsible for this vicious attack in retaliation to the belief that girls should not be attaining education. This is part of the radical assault on human dignity. I believe that an attack on them is an attack on the entire human family. They are because we are. These are our children. Think about it this way. Part of our global family is under attack!

Indeed, our ears are often filled with lots of information. Our eyes see so much, mostly on the internet. The reality of suffering seems romantic against the backdrop of failed values. What in the world is the world coming to? We must not allow injustice to go unaddressed! While there are many global injustices that deserve our attention, the one that is on my mind so heavily this morning is this issue of more than 200 girls kidnapped in Borno, Nigeria. This issue does not affect me personally, except for the fact that I am part of a human family that is plagued by it. We have to see ourselves as a human family. Otherwise, we perpetuate selfish agendas — if it is not about me, myself, my, and mine (as in our immediate family), we often pass by on the other side.

Jesus addressed human alienation from others in need in Luke 10:25–37. In the story of what we call \”The Good Samaritan,\” Jesus condemns the religious, pious, and selfish men who overlooked a stranger who is, torn, abused and left to die. Jesus favors the non-religious, lowly stranger who seems himself as part of the global family, in spite of whatever differences he has. This stranger sees a need, sees an injustice, sees a man hurting and responds. If this stranger who is a Samaritan was more concerned about status quo, his own agenda, and his own \”kind,\” he would have been just like the religious folk and overlooked this needy guy. But, he was not like them. He was a Samaritan and Samaritans have no dealing with the Jews. It was socially taboo for the Samaritan to help the Jew. However, the beauty of the story is that this particular Samaritan in the story defied status quo, social biases and political agendas to help a fellow human-being in need. In this passage, Jesus applauds the Samaritan for being a \”good neighbor.\”

Relating this story to the issue of injustice towards women, issues of human trafficking, etc. – in many parts of the world women are most vulnerable to this violation of human dignity. I want to call all men to care about this issue just as much as women. We must not politicize this issue. We must not marginalize the issue just because it does not impact us directly. It effects all of us. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, \”Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.\” Human trafficking is by all accounts an extraordinary injustice. We must focus on it and tackle this problem with all of our might.

Think about this. More than 200 girls have been abducted in Nigeria. What if one or some of them were from your own house. This is a terrible tragedy for human kind! It is only one of the many equally as horrific situations to global citizens that go unaddressed. But we must tackle violations to human dignity. If we don\’t, who will?

Someone recently tweeted me to ask what do I think that Christians should do in response to the kidnapping in Borno. I responded that we must pray and act! This is not something that one or two of us can do in isolation. We must come together as a global church, lay aside differences and focus on a common agenda to snuff out injustice. We must not only condemn it but aggressively address it.

Although I am aware of the nuances as pertaining to Islamic religious oppression that are at work regarding a prohibition that women should not attain quality education, I can\’t help but locate this particular issue of female abduction in Borno within a broader conversation of human trafficking.

And, we have heard the stories. They are always devastating to hear. But, we can not even imagine the depth of the emotional and psychological horror that victims of human trafficking must endure. Many people, social groups, and political interest groups spend time fighting for \”human rights.\” Human trafficking is more than an issue of \”human rights.\” It is an issue of \”human dignity.\”

We must disempower the perpetrators, even by aggressive force. There is enough ammunition and intelligence around the world to smoke out the systems of sexual abuse and hostility towards the vulnerable among us. The perpetrators are not just a few savvy, abusive men. These are systems of abuse. I believe that just like we can find the mastermind of terrorism as related to 9/11 in the USA and weaken their systems of terror, we need to find the masterminds of gender violation and weaken their systems of sexual, emotional, and psychological abuse. God is a God of love and not of hate and human violation!

We must help and protect the vulnerable among us. What will it take to see this massive, yet growing tragedy in our world? These precious Nigerian girls need our help!

The International family must respond. All Christians (regardless of Catholic of Protestant) must pray for them. I applaud those who are already organizing in prayer such as the St. Patrick\’s Catholic Church in Akwanga, Nasarawa State, the Church of the Brethren, and others. All governments must come together and address this issue, not online in Nigeria but around the world. Whatever we do, let\’s not just watch and see what will happen. Let\’s not keep silent. Let the oppressors know that this is a problem that we will not tolerate.

We must not stop until they #BringOurGirlsBack. They are OUR girls; not THEIR girls. We are a human family. It is time we, as a society, put our foot down and say, \”Enough is Enough!\”

These girls are people and not mere property. They are human beings who deserve human dignity. Oppression must cease; Abuse is not the answer to human problems – only God\’s love!

On behalf of all of the followers of Jesus who are seeking to share His Love, \”We Care!\”

Dr. Antipas L. Harris
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