Mother’s Day, like all feel-good family holidays, is often tainted
with some degree of tension and disappointment. At family gatherings, even in the best case
scenario where in-laws get along, there’s usually some friction between other relatives. Even if you’re lucky enough to have one big
happy family, usually somebody you love is missing from the festivities. Is
your son or daughter away at college, studying for final exams? Maybe Mom or Grandma is sick or recently
passed away. Or perhaps Mom or Dad is
overseas in military service.
case, I only had half my twin-chicks for Mother’s Day. Max is working in California and couldn’t
come home. So our family celebration was
smaller than usual, just Sarah, Henry, me and my mom. On Mother’s Day, Henry brought me roses, Mom
and Sarah brought cards, and Max remembered to call. With brilliant sun and blue skies in New York
City, the weather itself was my Mother’s day gift, perfect enough for a Big
Apple post card. Especially heartwarming
were all the Facebook pictures my friends were posting: fabulous photos of
several generations of mothers, grandmothers and themselves as the adorable
kids they once were.
in the midst of all this Mother’s Day appreciation for the feminine, the
heartbreaking truth is there are still parts of the world where girls are
denied an education and treated like slaves. The recent kidnapping of 276 high
school girls in Nigeria is a crime against every female on this planet. The Boko Haram, a militant Islamic group who
believe girls should be married and not
educated, is responsible for the kidnapping.
Fifty girls managed to escape; but over 200 other high school age girls
have been held hostage since mid-April.
Pictured on the front page of The
New York Times, these solemn-faced hostages are shown dressed in their
brand new, dark, head-to-toe Islamic garb—apparently forced to convert to Islam
from their Christian faith. The Boko
Haram wants to trade these children for terrorist prisoners, but–understandably—the
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has refused.
world has responded with outrage. First
Lady Michelle Obama kicked off a social media campaign by posting a photo of
herself holding a #Bring Back Our Girls” sign calling the abductions
“unconscionable.” All of our 20 female senators—16 Democrats and 4 Republicans—have united in
angry, bipartisan agreement to demand immediate action to bring these girls
home to their families and arrest the kidnappers. In a meeting with Secretary of State of John
Kerry, the female senators urged the following:
have the United Nations designate Boko Haram as a terrorist group on its
Qaeda sanctions list; provide surveillance assets to find the missing girls;
assist the Nigerian government with a team of Special Forces to locate and
rescue the girls; and coordinate an international search for the girls.
the girls who escaped, there’s no joy in their tales of survival. Whether they jumped from crowded, moving
trucks, taking them away from their school, or ran away later from the Boko
Haram camp, these girls were in deep fear for their lives. Six of the escaped girls went to Maidaguri
this week to watch the Boko Haram video of their captured classmates in order
to help the government identify the students in the film. All six of these “lucky” girls wept.
about the mothers (and fathers for that matter) who’ve been weeping over their
daughters for a whole MONTH? Forget
about missing a child on Mother’s Day, the families of these kidnapped girls
don’t know if their daughters will EVER be rescued. Although the United States, Britain, France
and Israel have offered to assist the Nigerian government, so far there has
been no real progress.
It seems to me that the more time passes, the
less likely it is these children will be found. Like the Malaysian plane that
disappeared into the ocean, taking with it the lives and hopes of so many
anguished families, there is the frightening possibility that these young girls
will vanish into the jungle—never to be seen again. If they are not found and rescued soon, they will cease to be front page
news. New tragedies and other
distressing events will claim the world’s attention. If these girls weren’t from a desperately
poor village in a country swallowed up in economic and political problems, they
might hold our attention a little longer.
But here in the USA—make no
mistake—if 276 of our daughters were kidnapped, our fury and focus would be so
intense, that our government would not (and could not) rest until our children
were restored to us and the kidnappers brought to justice. And it would NEVER take a month!
As a wealthy nation, we can always
marshal our considerable resources and power to rescue our babies. In this case, might really does make (some)
Perhaps we should all take solace on Mother’s
Day knowing we will never suffer the soul shattering loss of a Nigerian mother,
though we may miss our kids on an occasional holiday for all the ordinary reasons.
Labels: Boko Haram, Britain, daughters, female senators, hostages, in-laws, Islam, John Kerry, kidnapping, Michelle Obama, Mother's Day, New York City, New York Times, Nigeria, United States