The "Bring Back Our Girls" Campaign has spread like wildfire among westerners on social media this past week. The campaign is focused on spreading awareness of the kidnapping of more than 200 school girls in Nigeria by a terrorist group, Boko Haram. Concern for the plight of a distressed population has certainly resulted in a sort of "snowball effect", by which individuals who know little about Nigeria are working to give a voice to the voiceless. In a sense, The efforts of the Westerners are admirable. This movement has come to the attention of politicians like David Cameron and Michelle Obama, who have the capacity to influence action on the ground.
With that said, to suggest the campaign as a "success" is oversimplified in my book for a variety of reasons. Firstly, the girls are still in the hands of the terrorist group. Secondly, such interactions on media overlook hints of paternalism and Western influence in Africa. To think that a head of state relies on twitter for foreign affairs news is a bit of a jump. Nevertheless, I do agree with the author's assertion that the campaign may have forced the hand of the likes of David Cameron. Going forward, I cannot condemn the campaign; however, I would encourage advocates to think about ways in which Western governments can intervene without reinforcing colonial paradigms.
Boko Haram must be quaking in their boots. These ‘Islamic’ militants have razed entire villages to the ground, hacked men to death and killed children as they slept, but now the West has a hashtag campaign.