Mexico’s 43 Missing Students vs Nigeria’s 200 Missing Students: A Tale of Reactionary Measures.
Anyone remember the events of April 14, 2014? No? Think again. Still no? It’s okay. Most of us have moved on too. Except for those directly affected, of course. The hashtags aren’t trendy anymore and the topic is generally stale news material nowadays. But the truth will not wane with the passage of time, that over 200 high school girls were abducted from their school in broad daylight and haven’t returned to their families since.
There were marches, protests and counter protests in the early days. Dr. Ezekwesili rallied troops everyday on twitter and on ground to push the government to get the girls back. Many cried foul, saying the whole thing was contrived. Then we saw the wailing mothers and other testimonies that were too difficult to ignore. The international community pitched in and, going by some campaigns and efforts I saw online, it seemed that they showed more concern about the matter than our own government let on.
But, by far the most surprising outcome of this whole story is how we as a people have collectively slumped into forgetfulness with time. The questions have stopped and the people who should be uncomfortable until the girls return safely (and their abductors brought to book) might as well be having a long summer break from work.
Last week, Jose Luis Abarca, the Mayor of Iguala, a province in Guerrero State, Mexico, was arrested along with his wife in connection with the case of 43 students who went missing just over 40days ago. Even though nothing has been proven yet, they are allegedly complicit in the the abductions. The arrest of the mayor and his wife – a power couple in the region by all means – hasn’t done much to stop the wave of protesters sweeping across the country. They recently demanded the resignation of the president as well since his government can’t seem to bring back the students.
The Mexican government is under immense pressure to deliver. And even though no one expects magic to happen, no one will accept inaction and nonchalance from the authorities vested with the responsibility of ensuring the safety and security of the citizens.
The Mexicans didn’t make a hashtag trend and celebrities didn’t exactly get in on the “we all must be seen to care” act [yet]. But they are closer to obtaining justice in 40 days for their 43 missing students than Nigeria is in regard to the 200 missing Chibok girls. Maybe we cut our government too much slack. Or we’re just as unfazed as they are, taking the far easier route of showing our angst by violently typing status updates on social networks instead of actually doing something to hold our government accountable. And that there might be our problem.
Election season looms again and the campaigns are in top gear. In the jostle for public office, you have to wonder what kind of debates will be thrown up at the primaries, given the ease with which we move on from every unresolved crisis. You have to also wonder what has become of those girls these many months afterwards. Politicians should have to expect that they will be held accountable to the full demands of the offices theyre vying for and not just think getting nominated by their party will do. Clearly, we all need to do more than just talk.