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What Boko Haram taught us about ourselves?
Recently Boko Haram was in the news for figuratively and literally propagating the idea that 'Western Education is forbidden'. They caught international limelight when #BringBackOurGirls occupied our prime time news slots. The tragic circumstances which highlighted the existence of such a barbaric and retrograde militia also exposed the prejudices of our own existence.

When Boko Haram carried attacks on girls - kidnapped them, fed them, kept them alive and converted them - they made headlines. But their actions prior to this, when they ambushed boys and burnt them alive, slit their throats while letting females go unharmed, no one even flinched. That my dear readers tell us about ourselves.

Boko Haram has carried out strikes in the North Eastern territory of the country repeatedly. But what gave it international attention was when on night of 14/15th April 2014, the Boko Haram attacked a secondary school in Chibok in the state of Borno. It kidnapped more than 200 school girls and abducted them to forests. The international media woke up to the news predictably aghast. Social media took up the cause in a big way and #BringBackOurGirls a tag on Twitter got the attention of celebrities to the issue. Even Michelle Obama demanded that the act was ghastly and the girls should be saved at all costs.

While this is something we should expect out of civilised societies, there is a piece of information that should make us ashamed of ourselves. This attack by Boko Haram was neither in isolation nor the very first. Boko Haram in its barbaric march towards power, had attacked Nigerian schools earlier too. There were several attacks on schools to justify it's disgust towards western education.

In one such attack in Yobe on February 25, the Islamists came in pick up trucks. They surrounded the dormitory where boys were sleeping, locked the doors and sealed all routes of escape. Then lit the rooms on fire to let the boys sleeping to be charred to death. Those boys who managed to escape got their throats slit by the militants waiting outside. 59 boys were killed in that incident. The girls being the weaker sex were asked to leave the school unharmed. They were asked to go back to their villages and get married to become good wives. This didn't happen once, it happened on four different occasions. No one outraged on these incidents of the death of boys. Not on this scale.

Let us consider, the flow of information about the Nigerian news. Most international news agencies would follow the news flowing from Africa with a disdain towards the perpetual violence that engulfs the beautiful continent. Most 'news experts' in this case, would be just readers about the news, due to lack of their own knowledge on the conflicts in this region. In such a scenario, the boring, regular news of being burnt alive to death or throats of school boys slit doesn't grab attention. What grabs their attention is that girls are being abducted and are being denied education.

While this situation would merit attention, it shows how shockproof we have become as a soceity towards the plight of men. Men dying doesn't make news anymore. It is the girls being denied education that becomes a more important news.

If the same militia had been condemned for hacking boys to death, if the same Boko Haram terrorists were chased out for their atrocities on boys of burning them alive, then there would be no kidnapping of girls. If #AvengeOurBoys was our reaction, then there would be no situation to have a tag proclaiming #BringBackOurGirls

This situation is scantly surprising when the UN itself is focusing on victims of circumstances based upon their gender. This incident and the media attention it has got, tells us about the things we are not doing right.

Men have been losing their lives donning their roles as protectors, ever since the dawn of civilisation. Modernity has given women the choice out of their traditional role as caretakers. This lack of empathy for male victims is a result of half-developed progression.

The western world has been the harbinger of modernity in its present form, yet it has failed to be sensitive towards issues of men. If this is going to be the result of modernisation, then it is shameful to admit that Boko Haram got one thing right, their name but for entirely different reasons. Not for the progression from western education they want to reverse, but for western education not being progressive enough.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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