Should America and the West take on Boko Haram or not. The writer has been wrestling with the question for weeks. TIME magazine helped make up her mind.
Now, France–not the United States–has convened a meeting of five western African states in Paris. American, British, and other European diplomats attended what was primarily a regional African alliance (Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon, Chad, and Benin).
The Africans were, no doubt, assured of technical and behind-the-scenes Western assistance in order to take down Boko Haram. Israeli and Western experts have been on the ground for some time now.
French President Hollande has done the right thing. But, he has only done so only after Boko Haram and so many other Jihadic groups have slaughtered, enslaved, terrorized, and exiled an untold number of human beings in the Arab Middle East, Muslim central Asia, the Far East, Europe, South America, North America, and in Africa.
Americans do not really grasp what is going on in Nigeria. Our media are reluctant to publish the word “Muslim” or “Islam” when they cover terrorism; they justify or deny the Muslim hatred of Jewish Israel and allow the Muslim persecution of Christians to fly far beneath the radar. In fact, where Muslims are in the numerical “minority,” as in India, the mainstream media have viewed them as “persecuted.”
No articles appear about the persecution of Hindus in Pakistan or in Kashmir or about the ongoing illegal waves of Muslim Jihadists and criminals into India.
When Muslims are clearly waging a classic, military holy war (Jihad) against Christians–as Boko Haram is doing in Nigeria–TIME magazine presents it very differently.
In their current (May 26) issue, Belinda Luscombe puts Boko Haram’s “abduction” of 276 schoolgirls in a politically correct context. Her article, “Bring Back All Girls,” minimizes and “disappears” the fact that capturing infidel girls for sex is a legitimate act of Jihad. Instead, the 276 Nigerian schoolgirls are shown as only a very small part of the kind of “forced labor” that exists in the world.
“The most conservative abolitionists estimate that 21 million people are currently in some sort of involuntary servitude, while others say it is closer to 30 million….According to the U.N., victims from 126 different countries have been found in 118 other countries having been taken there against their will or through deceit. China, India, and Pakistan have the most slaves, followed by Nigeria.”
A pull quote reveals the article’s political intentions: “Move the spotlight that is currently trained on Borno almost anywhere else in the world and it will reveal trade in human beings.”
TIME presents a map which shows us rates of “slavery” “sex trafficking” and “forced labor” in Thailand, Australia, India, China, Russia, Africa, Mexico, the United States and South America.
Entirely missing from this map is the Arab Muslim Middle East.
The article goes on to describe how awful ordinary life is for Nigerian girls in terms of being sex-trafficked, forced into early marriage, etc. Luscombe does not add that many Nigerian girls are also genitally mutilated—somehow, she missed that.
The first time that TIME mentions religion is when poverty is discussed. Ultimately, TIME says, the country’s wealth is “unevenly spread” because it is “concentrated in the southern, predominantly Christian south…the north, where Boko Haram operates, is excruciatingly poor and mostly Muslim.”
The article concedes, once, almost in passing, that Boko Haram wants to establish a “separate nation under Shari’a” but, that “many experts believe the conflict in the north is more about economic desperation and thuggery than faith.”
The article drives home those main points again and again and closes with a quote from a Nigerian nun: “This is not just a Nigerian problem anymore. This is happening everywhere.”
It is true: Sex trafficking and varieties of indentured servitude and wage slavery exist globally. As does Jihad. The point here–one that PM Hollande obviously understands–is that terrorized civilians, both Muslim and infidel, have proved unable to defend themselves and that global Jihad is getting stronger, not dying out.
Since the entire world is, for a brief moment, paying attention to the face of Jihad in Nigeria, this might be a good place to start the necessary and inevitable push back–even if it is only “symbolic,” even if it only (!) manages to rescue a few hundred girls.
Let Boko Haram and other Jihadists know that innocent civilians and inept governments have had enough–and that the West is ready to place its technical and special forces expertise on the line to defeat evil, to tackle barbarism.
Prof. Phyllis Chesler
The writer, a Fellow of the Middle East Forum and recipient of the 2013 National Jewish Book Award, is the author of fifteen books, including Women and Madness, Woman’s Inhumanity to Woman, and The New Anti-Semitism. She has published three studies about honor killing and is at work on a fourth. Her new book, An American Bride in Kabul, (Palgrave Macmillan) has just been published to great acclaim. Professor Chesler may be reached at her website www.phyllis-chesler.com