Boko Harmen: Remembering the Chibok Abductions. Will Stop the War Coalition do too?
Relatives rally to mark anniversary of abduction by Boko Haram and demand security from new Nigerian president.
Let us also remember the Stop the War Coalition’s response to this tragedy,
Nigeria, Boko Haram and the fantasies of benevolent western intervention Xavier Best. May 2014 (originally from Counterpunch – where else?)
Nigerian militant group Boko Haram has kidnapped over 200 schoolgirls and US policymakers and the “free press” have exploded into a fit of pro-interventionist hysteria. It’s hard to escape media reports about the ruthless cruelty of Boko Haram’s leader Abubakar Shekau and his vow to sell his hostages into slavery.
Outrage has covered a broad spectrum of media and political personalities from Rep. Peter King who said “If the president decided to use special forces, I certainly would not oppose them,” to Michelle Obama who joined the “Bring Back Our Girls” Twitter campaign and released a video condemning the “grown men” in Boko Haram attempting to “snuff out” the aspirations of young girls.
Missing from this hysteria is a serious look at the US role on the African continent and the credibility of its “humanitarian” claims. Since the early post-war period the US has been an overwhelmingly negative force in Africa. Shortly after the Second World War US policy makers decided that the African continent “was to be ‘exploited’ for the reconstruction of Europe.”
The author adds,
It is widely conceded that the popular base of Boko Haram is a response to severe economic inequality that has disproportionately impacted Nigeria’s northern region. Unlike the south, Nigeria’s north faces severe problems meeting basic human needs of education, healthcare and clean water. Unemployment among young males in northern Nigeria “is in excess of 50 percent.”
This stark inequality is largely a symptom of what’s commonly called its “oil curse”, nations which are extraordinarily rich in natural resources but, due to corporate and often western-backed policies, are unable to meet the basic material and educational needs of its citizens. Consequences of this curse can be deciphered in the Pentagon’s latest Quadrennial Defense Review where the Department of Defense outlines a policy “to sustain a heightened alert posture in regions like the Middle East and North Africa.” The review also highlights “the security of the global economic system” as one of the primary goals of US “National Security Strategy.”
Many would dismiss these observations as a “justification” of Boko Haram’s crimes but it’s quite the opposite. The crimes of the Nigerian state, amply documented by reputable organizations like Human Rights Watch, have done far more to strengthen the arguments of Boko Haram than any analyst ever could.
The crimes of the Nigerian state apart, as far as one can tell the StWC’s main concern was the stop a Western Military intervention…….in Nigeria!
There is absolutely no analysis of the totalitarian machine and murderous ideology of Boko Haram.
That they regard the kidnapped women as war booty, in line with their version of Islamism, is just pushed aside with a few words. ‘Hysteria’ – they call it.
Nothing about the history of the North of Nigeria, their background as Muslim states, where slavery was continued well into the twentieth century, and where the Sharia is increasingly imposed – making non-Muslims into second-class citizens. Nothing, for these self-declared ‘anti-imperialists’, on the enduring imprint of Shehu Usman dan Fodio (1754 – 1817) who established a government in Northern Nigeria based on Islam before the advent of Colonialism. The British Colonial Government thereafter established indirect rule in Northern Nigeria based on the structure of this Islamic government.
Nothing on how Nigerian governments have failed to tackle the deep-rooted bigotry of the Northern Islamists, and in particular the cultural presuppositions that have favoured the growth of Boko Haram, that interact with social inequalities. Or indeed the rest of the religious-social issues in the country’s complex politics.
In these conditions religious ideology, worked out in proto-state military apparatuses like Boko Haram, are, to put it mildly, material forces.
Instead we had a range of the same commentary from the StWC people about ‘imperialism’.
This is one: How Nigeria’s kidnapped girls have become tools of US imperial policy in Africa. Glenn Ford 21 May 2014.