Not too long ago there was the global twitter campaign #BringBackOurGirls headed up by none other than the First Lady Michelle Obama. This campaign raised awareness about a large number of Nigerian girls that were kidnapped at school by the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram. And according to some reports this campaign helped put pressure on the Nigerian government to try to save these girls.
Fast forward to the last month and a half and we see a similar kidnapping story coming out of our southern neighbor Mexico. In the Mexican state of Guerrero, 43 “normalistas” (student-teachers) went missing hours before a scheduled protest in the town of Iguala. These students, who were studying at the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers College in the small pueblo of Ayotzinapa, were apparently intercepted en route to this scheduled protest on September 26, 2014. The protest was intended to raise concerns about discriminatory hiring and funding practices by the Mexican government that seems to prefer hiring inner-city teachers to those from rural areas like Ayotzinapa. The protest was scheduled to coincide with a political conference celebrating a local politician’s public works.
What happened instead is now being called a kidnapping and mass murder. On September 26 just outside the town of Iguala, law enforcement intercepted the buses of protesters and a shootout ensued. Six students were killed and 43 went missing. According to reports, students were rounded up by law enforcement and taken to a police station in Iguala.
After that it is presumed that these students were handed over to Guerreros Unidos, a criminal organization within the state of Guerrero. Now, just in the past few days, reports are circulating that all these students were executed, incinerated, and disposed of, according to several members of this organization that have now turned themselves in. The local government appears to be in collusion with this criminal organization and authorized the release of these students to Guerreros Unidos.
HUMAN RIGHTS DISASTER. SUPPRESSION OF FREEDOM OF SPEECH. GOVERNMENT CORRUPTION AND COVER-UP. KIDNAPPING AND MURDER.
These are things that should upset any American, and yet where is the outrage? There isn’t even a puny twitter campaign. Latin America sure is pissed. So why isn’t the White House and Michelle Obama? Where’s the media outcry? Oh, it must be that Guerreros Unidos doesn’t perpetuate Islamophobia. They’re just funded by drug money filtering in from the U.S.-Mexico border. Or maybe Nigeria is more important because their main export country is the U.S. And guess what their number one export product is? Yes, oil.
How is it that Americans can jump onboard a futile twitter campaign like #BringBackOurGirls which focused on an equally disturbing event in an African country that many Americans probably can’t even find on a map, but, they can’t get upset over a mass murder-kidnapping that occurred in a town just north of Acapulco in a country that borders the U.S.? And by the way, those Nigerian girls were never “brought home,” according to Boko Haram they are now “Islamic converts.”
So, are twitter campaigns even worth it? Yes, there are. They raise awareness about certain historical events that might otherwise be forgotten, BUT, an outcry goes beyond just writing a hashtag with four words and then going back to binge-watching The Walking Dead. How about supporting and voting for politicians who have comprehensive reform ideas for ending the drug war on our border? Comprehensive ideas that include working with the Mexican government. Or maybe donate money to a non-profit organization focused on Nigeria, like the Grace Foundation, which aims to help poor citizens of this oil-rich nation have a sustainable and healthy community, because that’s what they should be allowed to have.
Yes, the White House and the media have dropped the ball on this story. And yes, they each have their own agenda to attend to. But, let them know your agenda. And simply being a cynic is not an agenda. Yes, you can be wary of the political system and complain about how corrupt the government is. Or maybe you think the drug war can’t be fixed and oil will always be America’s opium. But, where have new ideas and innovation gone? The future tycoon of renewable energy is currently sedated by technology and cynicism. But, I implore him or her to ask: Do I dare disturb the universe? Please do.