Everyone remember Kony 2012? It was the social media campaign designed to enlist the support of millions of affluent Westerners to join in the fight against Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony simply by altering their cover photos and tweeting out #Kony2012.

It ended up gaining an incredible amount of support and was one of the major cultural phenomenons of 2012. But it ultimately resulted in zero actual results–except making millions of SWPLs feel good about themselves for taking 30 minutes out of their day to care about the child soldiers of the Lord’s Resistance Army.

In 2014, we are once again seeing a similar story take over the media and tingle the white paternalistic instincts of SWPLs everywhere. The abduction of over 250 girls (which are always referred to as “schoolgirls” by Western media outlets) by the radical Islamist group Boko Haram shocked many in the West and prompted many self-righteous outcries.

Of course this is a tragic situation and shows how merciless life is in sub-Saharan Africa. But despite the brazenness and the quantity of the victims, how is this worse than any of the other ravages typical of Third World conflicts?

Similar to the Kony campaign, it began with social media—in particular, a hashtag. That hashtag is #BringBackOurGirls. Being somewhat of an expert on hashtag diplomacy, I was not surprised that this was the method to enlist SWPL support in the cause of finding the missing girls (schoolgirls, I mean). But after three weeks, the vast majority of girls are still unaccounted for and Boko Haram is threatening to sell them off as soon as possible (which prompted another hashtag: #RealMenDontBuyGirls).

And this brings up why this case has grabbed the attention of white liberals: it has all the trappings of a perfect narrative for them. It involves black, African girls going to school against the wishes of the traditionalist Islamic sects that dominate Northern Nigeria, then being abducted by reactionary elements who want to force them into slavery, and the media insinuating that the only way to solve the situation is with the courageous help of Westerners rushing to the aid of the abductees…with tweets.

So, a perfect situation with minimal risk and investment makes this a story that’s ripe for Western attention. Except it looks like not much will come of it. The Nigerian government is already upset that this story has been become an international topic and has arrested protesters demanding the Nigerian army do more to save the girls. They have also done little to “bring them back” in the past three weeks.

What has also been little discussed in this black-and-white morality play is that the government has committed similar actions against the Nigerian Islamists. Several women and children of the militants have been arrested by the government and interned in camps, thus prompting Boko Haram to pay the government back in kind with abductions of their own.

But don’t expect that side to come out in too much—they already have an established villain and they want to bring “our” girls back no matter what the facts. This played out in the Kony case as well when millions of young Westerners took to Facebook and Twitter to shriek at the war criminal for employing child soldiers without bothering to research that the people he fought against and who would be responsible for bringing him to “justice” also employed child soldiers.

The point of these stories is not to motivate Whites to actually solve these issues, but to give them something to briefly care about, tweet about, and feel morally superior about. It also reinforces the impression that only people who live in Western countries can rescue Africa from itself. But that is the whole root of the problem.

We’re trying to transform Africa into the West when it can never become the West. Instead, this attempted transformation only results in war, overpopulation, misery, genocide, famine, unbridled corruption, slavery, and disease for the Africans who have to live with the consequences of White paternalism.

White liberals don’t. They go off to Whole Foods, buy some organic kale, tell the bearded cashier how awful it is that people would abduct little schoolgirls, score some morality points, and go on with their day like they never knew that some people might have to deal with seeing all of their children butchered before their eyes.

And the instigator of this situation is that these girls are attending schools against the cultural traditions of the area. While Hillary Clinton can pontificate about how education is apparently a basic human right, how are these girls benefitting from this education? Seriously, how are they benefitting? It is destroying their communities, causing them to become prime targets for the slave market, and fuelling a bloody civil war. What is the gain except it makes a few Whites and Oprah Winfrey feel good about themselves? White countries have been investing in education initiatives like this ever since we decolonized the continent and the continent has only become worse. Is it all worth it if the girls can now use their newly learned math skills to count how many of their family members have been slaughtered because of their educational pursuit?

Here’s how to solve this situation for good: stop imposing our idiotic liberal values on other peoples and let Africans solve their own problems. We can only delay and make their problems worse. We hope that the girls are found safe, but they are not “our” girls. They are Nigeria’s girls and it is best if we stay out of the country for good. Let them live their lives the way they always have and stop forcing them to live like our degenerated selves. Then maybe the dark continent can find a semblance of peace.

Until that time, we can only watch this scenario play out like the Kony situation: a whole lot of sound and fury that ultimately leads to nothing except SWPL masturbation.

Let us call Kony a Christian!!!


Hunted Children and Fundamentalism in Africa

Posted on May 7, 2014

By Juan Cole

    Hundreds flooded New York City’s Union Square on May 3 to protest the abduction of 236 Nigerian schoolgirls by the terrorist group Boko Haram. Michael Fleshman (CC BY-NC 2.0)

This post originally ran on Juan Cole’s Web page.

The horrific story of the kidnapping of nearly 300 girls from their school in Borno Province, northeastern Nigeria, by the Boko Haram terrorist group has again underlined the problem of violent fundamentalism in Africa.  Reports say more kidnappings were undertaken Wednesday.

Boko Haram, which was founded in 2002, has many resemblances to its Christian counterpart in northern Uganda, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).

Both groups have a holier than thou attitude to fellow believers.  Joseph Kony, an ex-Catholic leader of the extremist Christian Lord’s Resistance Army, says he wants to impose the biblical Ten Commandments in a literal way.  Christopher Hitchens wrote of Kony as described by an ex-associate, saying Kony “has found Bible justifications for killing witches, for killing pigs because of the story of the Gadarene swine, and for killing people because god did the same with Noah’s flood and Sodom and Gomorrah.”  Kony also upholds male dominance, urging polygamy; he has allegedly fathered dozens of children with several wives.  Both are characterized by magical thinking.  Kony teaches that wearing a Christian cross is protection from enemy bullets.  Kony led an insurgency to overthrow the Ugandan government but failed, and was forced into exile in Karachi.

Kony and his men kidnapped thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of children, inducting them into his paramilitary.  At its height it was alleged that Kony had 104,000 soldiers, many or most of them involuntary child soldiers.

Kony wanted to overthrow the Ugandan, but its army defeated his child soldiers, and his army was scattered.  He is now a fugitive with a smaller band, perhaps in the Congo.  President Obama sent a small troop contingent to Uganda to help with mop-up operations against his movement.

Boko Haram is the Nigerian Muslim counterpart of the Ugandan Christian LRA.  It was founded in 2002.  It has sometimes been called a Nigerian Taliban.  It wants to overthrow the Nigerian government.  In the past few years its adherents have killed thousands.  It has melded with local criminal gangs and sometimes does bank robberies.  Its leader, Abubakr Shekau, speaks of imposing a literalist understanding of Muslim canon law or sharia.  The movement reacted against the legacy of colonial education, forbidding Western-style schools.

Borno province where the kidnappings took place had been autonomous until 1967 and is not tightly integrated with the Nigerian state.  It had been a set of medieval emirates and the emir families are still notables.  It abuts the Cameroons, where Boko Haram also has bases.

In both movements, weak government played an important part.  Such movements are quickly defeated in countries with good militaries.  the important task of increasing governmental capacity has to be pursued by the UN and other multilateral organizations.  In the modern world, for any large patch of it to be poorly governed is a potential threat to us all.

Likewise, both movements depend on status inflation.  If a group could get extra status for some pious deed, these fundamentalist extremists would seek even more status by performing it hundreds of times.  This striving for extra religious status underlined that most adherents were not from wealthy or educated families.  But seeking status through extremist religion also often betrays the spirit of the religion itself.  The Muslim tradition never forbade women to be educated, and Muslim scripture encourages both sexes to seek learning.

Both groups turned into insurgencies, seeking the overthrow of their government.  Both prey on children in areas of weak government or conflict situations.  The Lord’s Resistance Army routinely kidnapped and raped girls.

Mainstream Christianity in Africa condemned the Lord’s Resistance Army.  Likewise, al-Azhar Seminary in Cairo, the chief religious authority for Sunni Muslims, this week condemned Boko Haram.

One difference between the two is that the LRA was hierarchical, with Kony clearly the central leader, and when he suffered reversals it deeply harmed his movement.  Boko Haram in contrast is a set of loosely related cells without a central leadership, which in a way makes it more difficult to defeat.

Just as in the end   Uganda and other regional states got their act together in confronting the LRA, Nigeria faces a crucial turning point in its postcolonial history.  Can President Goodluck Jonathan and his military recover the girls and take on Boko Haram?  The case of the LRA shows that united and concerted action by African governments can defeat such extremist movements without outside intervention, though the US and others did lend a small amount of support in recent times.  The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has a military cooperative dimension.  But it was late to the game in Mali, and it remains to be seen if it can help in dealing with Boko Haram.  President Obama’s sending of some military advisors should be supplemental to an African military push.  Otherwise, Africa had enough Western intervention in the 19th and 20th centuries to last for a while.

Comment: Let us not mince words, why would the interpretation of Joseph Kony be inferior to other Bible interpretations? Let us call a spade a spade, and everytime a Christian molests a Christian child, or an Atheist molests an Atheist child explicitly mention religion and race of both perpetrator and victim. There are two kinds of society. Societies which direct violence, including sexual violence, inwards, and societies which direct violence, including sexual violence, outwards. The Golden Rule is an impossible ideal, and destructive when attempted.