Thousands of people have tweeted, shared statuses, and started conversations to spread the world about the Nigerian school girl kidnappings. The hashtag #BringBackOurGirls, has become a global campaign for the awareness and safe return of the young girls. Through the use of social media, more and more people are becoming aware of the inaction of the Nigerian government. They are sympathizing with the families of the girls who have to experience the heartbreak of not having their child with them each day. The social media campaign has allowed the everyday citizen to become involved in the global tragedy, but there is the question of whether or not it is helping or hurting the Nigerian people.

 

A Nigerian-American writer, Jumoke Balogun, claims the campaign only furthers American military expansionist agenda. She states, “your calls for the United States to get involved in this crisis undermines the democratic process in Nigeria and co-opts the growing movement against the inept and kleptocratic Jonathan administration.” Her belief is that instead of promoting the involvement of the U.S. military, people who want to help should share and tweet about the activists and journalists that are on the ground in Nigeria risking their lives to challenge the Nigerian government.

 

Balogun makes a valid point. Far too often people become involved or passionate about a cause they know little about. Their intentions may be good, but the consequences of their actions on a country they have little context of could potentially hurt its people.

 

A black American writer, Marissa Jackson, responded to Balogun’s argument saying that the campaign is a positive thing. She recognized that the intentions of U.S. involvement may not be always be pure, but the fact that people all over the world are acknowledging that the lives of 276 black girls are important is a good thing. Jackson states,

“if it had not been for us–activists, scholars, policymakers, artists, celebrities, dignitaries, and every day concerned citizens of the world throughout the world–we would not be experiencing the very necessary virtual Nigerian Spring that we are experiencing today.”

 

In today’s world, social media has made spreading awareness of events like this one around the globe exceedingly expedient. This allows people to share ideas and start conversations. It also allows people to spread misleading or false information. What is important to note about #BringBackOurGirls, are both the potentially harmful effects as well as the positive effects. If one is going to be a part of the conversation and encourage change, be sure to know all the facts and be conscientious about it.

 

#BringBackOurGirls is a campaign that will hopefully bring enough awareness and pressure until the girls are safely returned to the homes. It may also become a campaign that, in the end, helps Nigeria more than it hurts.

 

What do you think of #BringBackOurGirls campaign? Is it helping or hurting? Let me know in the comments below or tweet at me @whatsthesich