Malala Yousafzai Pleads "Bring Back Our Girls," Meets With Nigeria's Goodluck Jonathan
It's been nearly three months since over 200 girls were kidnapped from their school in Chibok, Nigeria, and while several dozen have managed to escape, the tale is still as grim as can be. They were stolen away by Boko Haram, a hardline Islamic terrorist organization which has been an ongoing scourge on Nigeria since its formation in 2002. Now one of the world's foremost advocates for anti-extremism and women's education is speaking out: 17-year-old Malala Yousafzai, whose birthday wish is to "bring back our girls now, and alive."
Malala delivered her message to the grief-stricken parents of the kidnapped schoolgirls, whom she visited with Sunday to pledge her support. Malala became an international icon of courageous resistance to antiwoman terrorism in 2012, when she was shot in the head in a failed assassination attempt by the Pakistani Taliban. For years, she'd been anonymously blogging for the BBC about her experiences trying to achieve an education amid threats posed by the Taliban. In other words, on the topic of being targeted by religious extremists thanks to a passion to learn, she knows what she's talking about.
As Malala told the victims' parents, some of whom were in tears, according to Reuters:
I can see those girls as my sisters ... and I'm going to speak up for them until they are released. I'm going to participate actively in the 'Bring back our girls' campaign, to make sure that they return safely and they continue their education. I can feel ... the circumstances under which you are suffering. It's quite difficult for a parent to know that their daughter is in great danger. My birthday wish this year is ... bring back our girls now, and alive.
Malala isn't the first high-profile woman to get behind the movement — Michelle Obama pledged her support in a very public way back in May. She tweeted a picture of herself holding up a piece of paper, simply reading "#BringBackOurGirls."
Some conservatives decided to turn this image into a ready-made anti-Obama attack, because obviously, no scummy opportunity should go untaken. President Obama, for his part, sent 80 U.S. troops to Chad to help the search effort in late May.
Boko Haram has given no indication that they plan to cede to this pressure, however, which isn't unexpected — if you loathe the thought of girls being educated so much that you'll kidnap hundreds of them, hashtags, activists, and modest military support aren't likely to sway you. In a video released Sunday, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau openly mocked the campaign.
Malala isn't done with her time in Nigeria just yet; she met with President Goodluck Jonathan Monday to further discuss the issue. Unfortunately, this tragic story doesn't yet have an end in sight.
Image: Getty Images