boko haram

Nigerian Schoolgirls and Hashtag Activism

By now, you and everyone you know has demanded on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media to #BringBackOurGirls. The hashtag has spread virally, rightly sparking global outrage over the violence inflicted on the young Nigerian women by the militant group Boko Haram. But are there unintended consequences to this kind of hashtag activism?

June 1 marked one-and-a-half months to the day that more than 200 Nigerian girls were abducted from a secondary school in the north-eastern village of Chibokby a group of Islamist militants known as Boko Haram. An obscure news story for weeks, it suddenly became ubiquitous with the viral hashtag #BringBackOurGirls raising a global outcry.

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Digital duas and real world action #BringBackOurGirls

This week has seen an uptick in activism – social and on the ground – and awareness raising of the situation of nearly 300 school girls who were abducted by the Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram last month. Protests have been planned in capitols around the world, a hashtag campaign #BringOurGirlsBack has trended on Twitter, and I’m beginning to see articles and photos in the mainstream press depicting the nature of this tragedy (though some of the framing has been problematic).

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Nigerian schoolgirl kidnappings: not #hashtagactivism, Muslim activism.

By now, social media has ensured that we are all well aware of the kidnapping of over 200 Nigerian schoolgirls by the Boko Haram group. (Although if you’re still puzzling over why your friends have matching profile pictures, here’s a quick breakdown of the situation.) Now that this news has spread like wildfire and the West has identified the current third-world-tragedy-of-the-week, most of us find ourselves at a loss for what to do next.

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