Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Harem Scarum

--The Week magazine, 5.19.14 issue

Said I remember when we used to sit
In the government yard in Trenchtown
Oba, ob-serving the hypocrites
As they would mingle
with the good people we meet 
--No Woman No Cry, 
Bob Marley 

Woman is the nigger of the world...yes she is
If you don't believe me,
take a look at the one you're with
Woman is the slave to the slaves 
--Woman is the Nigger of the World, 
John Lennon

 “I have reason to believe Boko Haram
will see reason and let these girls go.
I think they will have a conscience
to let these girls go.”
Oronto Douglas, special adviser on strategy 
to Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan

The New York Times reported last week that Nigeria's army was "Holding Up the Hunt" for the abducted schoolgirls in Nigeria. "Foreign diplomats say that the Islamist group Boko Haram appears to be winning the struggle with a weak military." Yet Nigerian President Jonathan's policy strategist says "reason" and "conscience" will hold the day.

Good luck with that. 

And ... why is it we care? Not in the human, Christian, Enlightened sense, but would we take any military action (U.S. Sends Troops to Chad to Aid Hunt for Nigerian Schoolgirls)? Puppies, kittens, girls -- most people become upset when the innocent are abused, but why would we risk even one soldier's life or limb over Nigeria's endemic problems?

Is it because this Muslim group chose a really scary name? It sounds like the bogeyman from hell. Is it because they're taking young women and returning them impregnated -- the oldest "survival of the fittest" ruse in the book? Are we afraid there are sleeper cells of Boko Haram in Detroit or Cleveland, or that they'll come over here to get our women and children? 

Islamist groups do these things, have been doing these things, for a long time now. Our intervention in the Middle East had nothing to do with it, unless you think they are clever enough to be committing these abductions to provoke the guys in white, like catnip to the cat. Nigerian's Islamic leader Abubakar Shekau said of the girls in a released video, "They are slaves and I will sell them because I have the market to sell them"

If the military in their own nation is not too gung-ho on the matter, why should we be? Is it because we have a blackish President who is as angry over veterans dying for lack of medical care as he is over women in Nigeria nation being kidnapped? 

It's not our sense of immense paternalism toward the weaker sex, though I'm sure the military would like to feel or project the notion that they really are doing some good in the world. No -- if this were so we'd be intervening in too many countries to name that subject their women to servitude, prostitution and worse. Women will continue to be the Second Sex until enlightenment reaches all humans.

Since this has not happened here in the belly of the democratic beast, do not expect it to be enforced upon a tribal warrior mindset anytime soon.

No matter how many cups of tea you lay out, even with clotted cream, berries and scones.

No uh way.

[expanded version @ milpub]

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Blogger Ael said...

I blame the internet.

In the good old days, elites could tamp down most undesired information by influencing the media. This allowed them to stay on message.

Today, politics can be affected by internet viral marketing. This "flash fashion" can create a cause célèbre in mere hours. The elite then have to respond in some token way.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014 at 7:41:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


This is not "undesired" info -- the Boku Haram's escapades are just another pathetic fact of human behavior on this planet. As is the latest honor killing yesterday by a young woman by her family in Pakistan ... outside of the local courthouse.

Girls have been being abducted and forced into slavery or wifehood for many years to no noticeable outrage, so why the hubbub? It's life, turn the page. Humans have a loose wire or two.

Especially, why the mobilization of our military forces?

I am neither an elitist nor a naif. I think my position is being misunderstood, and I shall have to clarify it another day.

Per, "The elite then have to respond in some token way" - what "elite" are you referring to? Nigeria's? President Jonathan seems none too concerned.

Is your comment actually addressing my post?

Tuesday, May 27, 2014 at 9:46:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Ael said...

What I tried (and failed) to say is that North American elites like to control the information that the population is exposed to. In the past, outrages against women in the third world (and often in the first world) was simply not news.

When something *does* become news, the "public" demands a response from the government. This is why you need to beat the war drums *before* you send in the gun boats. Organizing the war drums is hard work and typically done by the political elites.

Recently, our attention can be captured by "viral" information on the internet. Since just about anyone can start a viral event, it no longer is under the control of the political elite.

In this case, there was a mothers protest and a semi-organized effort to get people to make a public internet statement (and keep the virus propagating).

Once enough people had bought in to the viral campaign, even the politicians were forced to make a statement. (see Ms. Obama holding up a sign).

Then, once enough of the elite were forced into making a public statement, they were forced into doing *something*. Preferably something visible and already paid for. The military are an excellent tool for this.

No American politician actually cares about the girls, they just got sucked into a "maintain the image" game. I am sure they are somewhat vexed at the interruption.

Mr. Jonathan is certainly vexed at this outcome. His freedom to act has be radically reduced by all this international attention.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014 at 12:26:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

After you entered this essay the Tallahassee local news at 11 indicated that people were arrested in Tally for human traffic activity.
We have plenty to take care of here in our town without having to jump the pond.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014 at 7:14:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


Thank you for your further; I see we are on the same page.


Then, once enough of the elite were forced into making a public statement, they were forced into doing *something*. Preferably something visible and already paid for. The military are an excellent tool for this.

No American politician actually cares about the girls, they just got sucked into a "maintain the image" game.

I would add, not only do the politicos not care, the people do not, either. By this I mean, they do not care to digest the situation, or to understand their role in it.

Too many just want to tap things out on their devices and seem outraged every day. This slakes off enough of their energy so that they will never actually be a potential threat to any status quo.

THAT behavior seems sad, pathetic, and quasi-elitist.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014 at 6:12:00 PM GMT-5  

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