Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Chibok Girls: A Call to Action!

There is a first time for everything.
Chibok on my mind
I have never organized a protest march. In the past  I have attended a 1 Billion Rising dance rally but I have never been part of its organization.Since the Abuja bombings and the kidnapping of the Chibok girls, Nigeria news has been on my vizier fulltime. With pain in my heart and a mounting almost surreal horror, I watched, with the rest of the world as the situation went from bad to worse. Initially my thoughts were fatalistic:  It is too late. Any help will be of no use. The girls are lost and gone forever. Nobody in Nigeria ever returns from such a journey. Nobody cares. So I shrugged my shoulders and decided to erase Chibok from my mind. I told myself that I live continents away and that Nigeria’s problems are too complex to tackle. I told myself that that the government was to blame and should clean up its own mess; that Nigerians are too caught up in their puny navel-staring and mini tribal battles to care. I told myself that one person can do nothing. Yet something strange began to happen within me. Chibok embedded itself firmly into my subconscious and began to stalk me. The events that took place there began to haunt me desperately.  Something started growing inside, gathering a furious momentum. I became filled with rage and pain. Frustration, guilt and shame. Shame that we all have stood by and allowed this to happen. I saw the faces of those girls everywhere. When I looked in the mirror, a Chibok-girl stared back in tears. My daughters' face transformed overnight into that of a Chibok-girl.
Fanciful Activism
I discovered that sympathetic tweets with #BringBackOurGirls or the sharing of breaking news on the situation on social media alone made me feel like a worthless, spoilt coward. Here I was, safely faraway and being fashionably politically correct: fanciful activism from behind my android. How cute, how superficial, how disgusting. And then the world wide protests commenced. Parents, brethren, loved ones, Africans, Americans, Brits. Ordinary everyday people going on protest marches and lending their voices to the cause. These beautiful  people; my heroes, all turned up and gave back the Chibok-girls their identity. These people not only symbolized the tragedy, they also gave the growing resistance a face. Seeing this humbled and fortified me beyond words. Love, hope, resilience, unity and solidarity; beyond the artificial borders of skin colour, tribalism, nationality and race. A new Nigeria emerging from the ashes.
I decided then that I could no longer look my daughter in the face and do nothing. I decided that I, that we all owe it to all the Chibok-girls of the world to lend our voices to their plight. I decided that I would actively participate in any activities held in the Netherlands for the girls. I scoured the internet looking for the organizers of rallies in the Netherlands and found nothing. Slowly, it dawned on me that I was looking for myself. That I would have to be the change that I wanted to see. That the organizer of the #BringBackOurGirlsNL which I want to attend, would have to be me. It dawned on me that I would have to get out of my comfort zone, cast myself into the deep and do something greater than myself.So here I am. My name is Chinello Ifebigh. I live in The Netherlands. I am organizing a peaceful march for the Chibok-girls on Sunday 18th of May 15:00 in The Hague. I have never done this before and I cannot do it alone. I need your help, your voice,  your presence and your support.

Please spread the word in your communities and networks and walk with us in The Hague us on May18th .Bring Back Our Girls Protest MarchThe Hague Netherlands

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