The mass abduction of schoolgirls by militant Islamist group Boko Haram has taken depravity to a new low, and people are rallying behind the cause with the social media campaign #bringbackourgirls which is closing in on a million tweets, including First Lady Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton.
Global social media condemnation of the situation will not solve this problem and save these young women from a fate that can only be described as horrific.
But what more can be done?
There are two ways that people and governments can exercise their power to pressure change. The first, which I am NOT advocating, is military action.
The second is economic action -- including official condemnations and the cutting off relations with the local government. Why focus on the government?
Because it will take more pressure beyond hundreds of families to move the government that has been ineffective at containing this internal terrorist threat against its own people. The $300,000 reward (about $1,000 per girl) is a lot of money in that part of the world, but a drop in the bucket compared to the billions of dollars in foreign aid. Cut off all the money and you'll see what a real economic incentive is for change. Of course it is problematic because innocent people rely on the aid given from other nations and they often are the ones who suffer when sanctions are imposed. But those people can put pressure on their government and even, perhaps, provide information leading to the end of this horror.
Businesses must do their part as well. That means refusing to sell goods produced in Nigeria. Cut off the supply chain. And let's remember, this includes gasoline.
That means people must be willing to do their part as well. As I have written, consumers are more empowered to drive change than we realize. Will people take the time to check where goods come from and refuse to spend their money on Nigerian products? Will we be willing to spend more at the pump so that these girls might have a chance to survive and have a decent life?
Ask yourself this -- what if it were your daughter?
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