Ohio has the miracle that is Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight to celebrate this year. Tuesday marked the anniversary of their escape from the 10-year plus captivity in Cleveland and The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) honored Berry and DeJesus with the Hope Awards to a standing ovation. The women had spent time in chains, were beaten and raped and made to feel their lives were nothing without Ariel Castro, but we get to shout out today about how amazing a gift it is to have them back.
The event was at the Ritz-Carlton and the women were among people like John Walsh, host of “America’s Most Wanted”, and Temar Boggs and Chris Garcia, both who are teenagers living in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Temar and Chris had ridden their bikes to chase after a van of the person who had attempted to kidnap a five-year old girl. The person driving the van was spooked and pushed the little girl out before speeding off and the boys helped her get back home safely.
The celebration had everyone in tears, thankful the girls were finally able to escape their chains and had the amazing help they had for getting back on their feet, but there are other things in the news these past couple days that also deserve a lot of attention. Especially with May 25 being National Missing Children Day all over the world.
They concern Nigeria and the 276 girls kidnapped from Chibok on April 14 by the terrorist group Boko Haram, the slow and painful way Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan and his wife are ‘dealing’ with it, the Obama Administration wanting to send a team to help, and the hashtag #Bringourgirlsback.
The terrorist group Boko Haram view women as having zero rights and were offended the girls, ages 16 to 18, dared to dream about having an education. They rounded them all up on April 14 and have since made their intentions very clear on what they are going to, or have already done, via online videos. They intend to sell them to “fellow rebels and Boko Haram supporters” and considering their attacks have spread outside the borders of Nigeria into neighboring countries, with ties to al Qaeda also being questioned, the children could be already be anywhere.
As a matter of fact, the U.S. State Department noted local leaders were saying some have already been sold to Islamist fighters in Cameroon and Chad and with Goodluck Jonathon dragging his feet and his wife threatening their protesters, this is allowing these terrorists even more time to abuse and sell them.
Jen Psaki, State Department spokeswoman, said the team the United States wants to put together “could provide expertise on intelligence, investigations and hostage negotiations, help facilitate information sharing and provide victim assistance. It would include U.S. military personnel, law-enforcement officials with expertise in investigations and hostage negotiations, as well as officials with expertise in other areas that may be helpful to the Nigerian government in its response.”
Press Secretary Carney’s official response was to make sure everyone understood, though, that it is “certainly Nigeria’s responsibility to maintain the safety and security of its citizens” and combined with the words “wants to put together” and “could” in Psaki’s statement, one could get the terrible feeling the governments have a lot to hash out before they can even begin to do right for those girls.
It has also been an incredible shame how slow the news had been to report this had happened. If it were talked about it was only in a spattering of notes. There had been no official brouhaha like there would’ve been if something of the sort were to happen here in the States. The combination of the hashtag #Bringourgirlsback, the facebook page 'Bring Back Our Girls', with the physical protests all across the world; it is showing that the world is finally listening and the news is finally starting to catch up.
Sources: 5ABC, Megan Shaw; Time, Zeke Miller; Cleveland.com, Phillip Norris, The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children