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Whatever happened to ‘Bring Back Our Girls’?

8 July 2014

5:00 PM

8 July 2014

5:00 PM

Whatever happened to ‘Bring Back Our Girls’? I only ask because it’s now three months since Twitter and all other social media, Michelle Obama, Christiane Amanpour, David Cameron etc. joined a hashtag group to ask Boko Haram to give back the hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls they had kidnapped. It almost filled the news cycle for a couple of weeks.

And yet nothing seems to have happened. That was April. This is July. The Nigerian security forces continue to appear incompetent. The foreign dignitaries who signed up to the social media campaigns haven’t done much more. And the newspapers, 24-hour media and assorted celebrities seem to have just, well, moved on.

Still. Another week. Another fad. Ping. Pong. Distracted from distraction by distraction. Perhaps nobody much meant it in the first place.

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  • Mando Pando

    ^^ its easy to forget a nation that the US is not involved with. Well Nigeria has very large oil reserves, so it all depends when the US will actually start paying attention to that region.
    I thought the whole bring back our girls was hysterical. Of course it would disappear, because sadly no one cares enough to do anything about it

  • Keith Jones

    Just destroy the bad guys and bring the innocents home. Sorry we are too Liberal.

  • Sinceyouask

    I don’t mean to be dismissive of the pain suffered by so many families, but in what sense are they “our” girls?

  • Liz

    Yes, what *have* the men of the Spectator done about it since then? Or indeed then.

    • mohdanga

      So getting together for a picture on the Commons lawn with a sign really helped free them? I believe there are Special Forces from the US/Britain (all men undoubtedly) that are assisting the Nigerians in trying to free these girls.

      • mohdanga

        I suppose the male staff at the Spectator could have a group photo taken together while posing with a Twitter sign….that would solve the problem.

        • Liz

          I suppose that would have been something.

          • girondas2

            “I suppose that would have been something.”

            The pretence that you are doing something is often worse than doing nothing at all.

            • Liz

              Not really.

              • girondas2

                I wasn’t trying to be smart with you – I mean what I say. Celebrities and politicians demonstrate their concern and their compassion. This is what is important to them. Then they walk away. Nothing has been achieved.

  • suzy61

    Douglas…don’t fret. Gordon Brown is on it.

  • rolandfleming
  • Cyril Sneer

    Another idiotic liberal fad that has accomplished nothing.

  • John welsh

    Didn’t Orwell say that dictators can stand moral force until the cows come home? It’s only physical force (backed by the West) that will stop the likes of Boko Haram. If we don’t have the stomach for it, we should stop wringing our hands.

  • Vengeful Fruitcake

    Thanks for the reminder Douglas. Hashtag diplomacy is the perfect way for a declining and washed-out civilization to advance its interests. Nobody thinks it will make any difference but at least they can show they care.

  • MikeF

    Nothing ever ‘happened’ in the first place just some facile posturing, so there is no ‘whatever happened to’ to discuss.

  • tjamesjones

    Well the question back in April was: who are these people lobbying? It’s fine for mr and mrs average to lobby their politicians to “do something” with a twitter campaign. But then, who are the politicians lobbying? Was Michelle Obama lobbying her husband? Who else was she hoping to influence?

  • Hippograd

    What happened? Like small children, narcissists have very short attention spans.

    Perhaps nobody much meant it in the first place.

    They were passionate about getting our girls back. I.e., they didn’t much mean it.

    • Damaris Tighe

      It was the hashtag version of the selfie.

  • swatnan

    The Govt of Nigeria is pretty incompetant and corrupt in most things at all times, but this really takes the biscuit. They need to pull their fingers out or they’ll soon find the Caliphate at the gates of Lagos.

  • Chris Quin

    Did you miss this ? Granted it got very little coverage. Surprising that none of the ‘look-at-me’ clowns who posed for the campaign wanted to claim some of the credit.

    • Damaris Tighe

      Thanks for this. We (or the press) really do have short attention spans. It would have made the headlines only a few weeks ago.

  • Donafugata

    All that is necessary for evil to triumph is that twits twitter.

  • Baron

    You didn’t seriously expect anything to happen after the anointed ‘brave and righteous’ got the ‘bring our girls back campaign’ going, did you, Douglas? You should know by now the Western elite is all yep, yep, yep, but nothing doing, well, nothing that would make a difference anyway. And perhaps just as well because wherever they’ve tried to do something the ‘liberal way’, they only messed things up, making lives of the people worse than before.

    • Makroon

      The Nigerian army is dominated by northern Muslims. Mild, old Goodluck is not inclined to mess with them, and they are disinclined to mess with Boko Haram.

  • andagain

    Perhaps nobody much meant it in the first place.

    I’m sure they meant it when they said it. And possibly for several minutes afterwards.

    • Damaris Tighe

      that long?

      • andagain

        In some cases. I think it’s only right to be charitable in my assumptions.

  • gelert

    Gone the way of red ribbons for HIV and a score of celeb/luvvie causes.

    • Damaris Tighe

      Yup. Cheap, action-lite compassion.

  • The Masked Marvel

    Rod Liddle said we mustn’t intervene in these things, so presumably all these bien pendants took his advice to heart.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Why are Boko Haram and ISIS given such an easy ride?
    Is this another “problem — solution” routine?

    • Donafugata

      Boko Haram, Al-Q’aida, ISIS, Al-Shabab, now what could be the common denominator, I wonder?

      • laurence

        Em, is it to do with ‘peace’?

  • will91

    As Mark Steyn so superbly remarked in the wake of Michell Obama’s photo op:

    “It is hard not to have total contempt for a political culture that thinks this picture is a useful contribution to rescuing 276 schoolgirls kidnapped by jihadist savages in Nigeria. Yet some pajama boy at the White House evidently felt getting the First Lady to pose with this week’s Hashtag of Western Impotence would reflect well upon the Administration. The horrible thing is they may be right: Michelle showed she cared – on social media! – and that’s all that matters, isn’t it?”

    The blogger Daniel Payne wrote this week that “modern liberalism, at its core, is an ideology of talking, not doing”. He was musing on a press release for some or other “Day of Action” that is, as usual, a day of inaction:

    Diverse grassroots groups are organizing and participating in events such as walks, rallies and concerts and calling on government to reduce climate pollution, transition off fossil fuels and commit to a clean energy future.

    It’s that easy! You go to a concert and someone “calls on government” to do something, and the world gets fixed.

    The rest of the article can be found via the link below. Mark Steyn is pure gold, wish he’d write for the Spectator along with Douglas.

    • global city

      Yes. The speccie should indeed get in touch with Steyn to see if he’d regularly contribute. Perhaps someone of his calibre from each of the Anglosphere countries would help too?

    • Baron

      The great Mark was there years ahead of Daniel Payne, will91, when he remarked in 2004 the liberals were all for ‘free this or free the other’, but not to free this or the other’.

    • sfin

      Good post.

      Margaret Thatcher, herself complained about modern politicians who think that, because they’ve made a speech about something, that “something” is resolved – when, actually all they’ve done is make a speech…

      There is a parallel, I think, with the modern trend for emotional incontinence – the ‘grief’ culture. Everyone has to show they ‘care’ – but the ‘caring’, whilst wide, is utterly shallow.

      It is depth that equates to longevity.

      • will91

        Here here. I think she had a quote, something along the lines of: “If your not causing trouble, your not solving the problem.” How one longs for a PM who’ll roll their sleeves up and get stuck in. That’s what one misses when they remember Thatcher. Her tenacity and conviction, that almost punk-esque spirit and her willingness to never shy away from a scrap.

        • Kennybhoy

          What was done to the late Ray Honeyford happened during Lady Thatcher’s government…

          • Damaris Tighe

            The Tories, even under Lady Thatcher, have for as long as I can remember been reluctant to roll back leftist policy. Thus we have creeping (or galloping?) leftism, salami slice by salami slice. The exceptions were the power of the unions & nationalisation, which are economic not social.

            • James Lovelace

              Hayek, 1961: “The British Conservative Party are socialists”.

              Thatcher attempted to pull the Tories towards Hayek. Once she’d served her purpose in taming the unions, she was stabbed in the back, and the Tories returned to their socialist policies.

              I highly recommend C4’s documentary on Thatcher last year. It argued that throughout most of the 20th century the Tories were not just socialists, but also that variant of socialist known as “fascist”.

              • Damaris Tighe

                It used to be called corporatism: the co-opting of business & the unions by the state. In other words, statism without much nationalisation.

      • Damaris Tighe

        I couldn’t agree more. I see it as the feminisation of society (& I’m a woman).

        • sarahsmith232

          Damaris, luvie, I thought we could be friends, and now it’s all over. What’s supposed to be so wrong with ‘the feminisation of
          society’? Think we could prob’ all do with a bit more feminising, actually. We’ve moved away from an emotionally cold, unable to express ourselves thing, to one that can. Not a bad thing.
          Actually, I think the problem lies in the movement away from a middle-class cold emotional sensibility, the middle-classes, especially the middle-class male, has lost it’s ability to assume superiority with this, can’t just expect to be viewed as of the superior orders because of their tight control over the emotions. It’s loss of class status, I think, that’s bothering people with this.
          So, you might well be a female, but are you v.much a middle-class female? Are we really becoming ’emotionally incontinent’ or is it that we’re becoming less admiring of your middle-class norms?

          • Cyril Sneer

            “What’s supposed to be so wrong with ‘the feminisation of

            Half of it isn’t female.

            That’s why.

          • Damaris Tighe

            Ah, I’ve blotted my copybook already.

            I have to admit to a very buttoned-up middle-class upbringing so I don’t like lots of public emoting. I get fed up when the first question a reporter asks on telly is ‘how do you feel..?’ The person being interviewed is asked, not what they think about something, but what their emotions are. As if we can’t guess in most cases! I mean, if your house had just burned down, how would YOU feel?!

            I’m a pretty emotional person myself but I just don’t feel it’s appropriate to parade my feelings before strangers, only my nearest & dearest.

            On a more serious note, public emoting doesn’t only mean, say, crying. It also includes rage which is increasingly common in public nowadays. There is surely something to be said for the old stiff upper lip where feelings were kept well hidden when in public.

            Without the stiff upper lip I doubt whether we could have won WW2. People who are always in touch with their sensitive side are unlikely to win wars I’m afraid.

          • Al

            Emotions are subjective reactions to outside events. All are truly unique and most make no sense. As such, emotions often sabotage the ability to reason and rationalise. I’ve seen women, who have had their arguments built solely on an emotional ground, get slaughtered in public debates by men who provided rational and well grounded arguments.

        • sfin

          “Feminisation of society”…

          Yes, I think that’s quite a good, catch all, term for it. The traditional male role, from family to society, has changed out of all recognition in the last 50 years or so.

          The caring nature of ‘feminine’ can be a good thing (it might produce fewer wars for one thing) but the downside, I think is less self discipline and control – I see the next world war in the behaviour of our young people today with their me! me! me! attitude to life.

          And of course, less self discipline and control means more imposition from government.

          • Damaris Tighe

            The decline in self-discipline & self-control & the rise of the nanny state are two sides of the same coin.

    • Kennybhoy

      Mark Steyn used to be a regular hereabouts man but got the shove when the twins took over….

    • JB_1966

      Ah happy days when he used to write for The Telegraph. The Spectator could definitely do with a column from him though.

      And ditto your comment.

    • Damaris Tighe

      Reminds me of the ‘nuclear free zones’ that were set up in parts of the UK back in the 80s – an act of futility if ever there was one.

    • James Lovelace

      Over the last 5 years, whilst I was involved in on-street political activism against islam, my erstwhile Leftist allies were only involved in “online activism”.

      These people should be designated as “political inactivists”.

      • Damaris Tighe

        May I ask if you’re still involved? And if not, why did you stop?

        • James Lovelace

          I’m no longer involved in anything I’d describe as political activism. My medical condition has worsened to the point where I’m on morphine and other pain-killers permanently.

          • Damaris Tighe

            Sorry to hear this. Keep commenting – always worth reading.

      • global city

        quite literally, sleepers!

  • JoeDM

    Its ‘cultural’ !!!!

  • Ricky Strong

    To be fair it is kind of hard keeping track with everything – not a day goes past without some unfortunate soul being raped, beheaded, shot, crucified, sexually abused et cetera et cetera

  • Colin56

    Too difficult, too far away. It’s not going to happen. The circus moves on. That’s the simple explanation. Truth is, we’ve lost sight of what matters and there’s no votes in this issue.

    • will91

      Precisely, reminds me of those who call for the troops to be brought home because “The British people are war weary.” They loftily announce. I feel like screaming “WHAT DO YOU MEAN THE BRITISH PEOPLE ARE WAR WEARY” Residents of Coventry were war weary during the Blitz, the residents of Fallujah were war weary, the residents of Baghdad, who experienced a car bomb a day for about 4 years. They were war weary. Every time this phrase is used by someone who is not serving in the Army or has not experienced a loss as a result of this war is effectively giving 2 fingers to those soldiers out there who are actually dealing with it. This war has asked nothing of most people. By comparison with any other war in history, a smaller sliver of our citizenry has being required to take up the burden. All the rest of us are required to do is put up with it for a minute on the news each night, but christ, people can’t even manage that.

      • Donafugata

        ” the British people are war weary ” means ” the British people are sick of seeing it on the tele every night”.

      • Damaris Tighe

        Not to mention that we have a volunteer, not a conscript, army. Soldiers tend to say that combat is what they signed up for. It’s up to them to feel ‘war weary’, not armchair activists.

  • UniteAgainstSocialism

    Twitter campaigns? #whataloadofbollox

    • balance_and_reason

      I thought I had dealt with this last time we were talking about it…its North v South, Muslim V Christian. It’s turn taking to ravish the economy. The Christians jumped the gun and took their turn too soon before the Muslims had had a proper go…the attack dogs had to be let go…Boko; as the poster below say’s, the army is muslim dominated and the Northern politico’s don’t want the Boko deal to be sorted till they are back in charge…no girls.