It’s only been a few short weeks ago that #BRINGBACKOURGIRLS was trending all over social media and world news outlets. Since that time there has been little coverage, salve commentary, decease or interest in the topic. The kidnapped Nigerian school girls and the plight of their suffering families and community are no longer titillating fodder for the “lead” story or even human interest tagline. How quickly we forget. Out of sight out of mind, and we’re on to the next thing. Be it the next big tragic event or update on never-ending wars and rumors of wars, invasions or missile launches that fills the airways and mass media interests, all newsworthy without question, but what about the forgotten ones? There are those whose unresolved situation, tragic event, or condition, once leading the headlines and igniting the righteous outrage of the world community, have slipped to the back pages of the press and finally out of any conscious consideration at all, and that cannot be right.
The general public allows themselves to be manipulated by the media conversation of the moment and the generated “memes” of the day, instead of recognizing that just because an important and compelling story disappears from the pages of public discourse or the techno tablets of social media does not mean they have been resolved or become less urgent, important or tragic. I imagine the indescribable suffering that those stolen girls are going through right now and how their loved ones are just hanging on any word, any piece of news or information about them and then there is nothing. Silence. No one even mentions or remembers that they have been taken, are being held somewhere suffering at the hands of a terrorist organization, and being used by men in whatever ways those men want to use them. These young girls of 11, 12, 13 and 14 years of age have been captured and enslaved. Sex trafficking is big business, and it is more likely than not that the girls are victims of the unthinkable. And yet, no one is talking about this horrific situation! Just like the thousands of other missing and exploited women and children worldwide, it has become so common that the once fervent outrage has melted into a faded hashtag on twitter. We cannot allow this to be. Life must become more important to us than that.
I see people gathered outside of abortion clinics daily to stand in protest for the rights and lives of the unborn? What about the BORN? What about their right to life? Do they not have at least the same right to protection as the unborn? What about the forgotten ones? Where is the outrage and the fervent outcry? What about their suffering and the suffering of countless others? Where are the signs, placards and protests? How can we continue to forget them and their plight, to consciously press them from our memory and do nothing while we choose so many “other causes” to channel our resources or time and treasure? What about the ones that have been forgotten?
Tawnya Pettiford-Wates, Ph.D.
Founder and Artistic Director
The Conciliation Project and
Virginia Commonwealth University
Up Next Week: Live and Let Live