by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz
OK, I admit it: I have used Twitter hashtags on my posts on Venezuela as a means to both promoting my blog posts and keeping track of Venezuelan news, but now the “#hashtag” thing has me puzzled.
Last month we had hashtag diplomacy: State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki issued this,
— Jen Psaki (@statedeptspox) April 24, 2014
To this day I do not know exactly what “the promise of hashtag” means, represents, or refers to, but I’m quite certain that Vladimir Putin, former head of the KGB, is not quaking in his boots. But, hey, Psaki stands for “the social media approach to foreign policy”, and she’s sticking to it . . .
— Jen Psaki (@statedeptspox) March 26, 2014
. . . much to the amusement of the Twitchiers.
Fast-forward to this week’s news of the horrific crimes committed by Islamist terrorists Boko Haram in Nigeria, which have kidnapped 250 girls. This is front-page news, but Boko Haram has a horrifying history.
The group was founded in 2002 by a young Islamist called Mohammed Yusuf, who started out preaching in a Muslim community in the Borno state of northern Nigeria. He set up an educational complex, including a mosque and an Islamic school. For seven years, mostly poor families flocked to hear his message. But in 2009, the Nigerian government investigated Boko Haram and ultimately arrested several members, including Yusuf himself. The crackdown sparked violence that left about 700 dead. Yusuf soon died in prison—the government said he was killed while trying to escape—but the seeds had been planted. Under one of Yusuf’s lieutenants, Abubakar Shekau, Boko Haram turned to jihad.
In 2011, Boko Haram launched its first terror attack in Borno. Four people were killed, and from then on violence became an integral part, if not the central part, of its mission. The recent kidnappings—11 more girls were abducted by Boko Haram on Sunday—join a litany of outrages, including multiple car bombings and the murder of 59 schoolboys in February. On Monday, as if to demonstrate its growing power, Boko Haram launched a 12-hour attack in the city of Gamboru Ngala, firing into market crowds, setting houses aflame and shooting down residents who ran from the burning buildings. Hundreds were killed.
So excuse me if I am perplexed by the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls. A bevy of celebrities are on it, including Michelle Obama,
— The First Lady (@FLOTUS) May 7, 2014
and the always-relevant and chic Bianca Jagger,
— Bianca Jagger (@BiancaJagger) May 9, 2014
By the way, under Hillary Clinton, the State Department repeatedly declined to fully go after Boko Haram. I don’t expect we’ll be seeing a photo of Hillary holding up a #BringBackOurGirls sign any time soon.(SEE BELOW FOR UPDATE 2)
One thing I’m fairly sure of about the kind of people who do that sort of thing for a living, is that they really don’t give a [expletive deleted] about a bunch of American movie stars taking pouty selfies of themselves holding up signs with hash tag give our girls back. The disapproval of fat, soft, Americans on Facebook really doesn’t move them. They care about getting paid or getting killed, that’s about it. The self-righteous pouting is useless.
Larry’s post must be read in full, and he drives home the point that,
The real solution? Nigeria is one of dozens of screwed up countries. If Nigeria wants to be truly safe from slavers and madmen, it is going to require the Nigerians defend themselves from
[expletive deleted], and if the Nigerian government won’t do it, then the Nigerian government needs to be replaced by Nigerians who want something better. For the thousands of other evil events that don’t trend on Twitter, replace Nigeria with whatever lawless [expletive deleted]hole country is in question and you get the same answer. People get freedom when they demand it for themselves.
Hashtagging to Putin, to Boko Haram, to the evil in this world? I mean, this is pathetic, the message this sends to people around the world.
Fausta Rodriguez Wertz is old enough to remember the Nixon era, and believes the term expletive deleted should be timely for the upcoming Benghazi hearings. She writes on U.S. and Latin American politics and culture at Fausta’s Blog.
Update DTG: Gotta add this quote from Iowahawk:
Hey, let's try feminist morality lectures on a terrorist group whose name translates as "Western Education is Sinful." #BokoHaram
— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) May 9, 2014
UPDATE 2 FRW:
I was 1/2 wrong: Hillary did use the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag, but didn’t post her photo holding up the sign,
Access to education is a basic right & an unconscionable reason to target innocent girls. We must stand up to terrorism. #BringBackOurGirls
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) May 4, 2014