The terrible attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices and subsequent events in France have diminished the impact of one of the most terrifying events that have occurred in the world in recent years: the use of girls as suicide bombers by the Boko Haram criminals in Nigeria.
This terrorist group not only kidnapped nearly 300 girls last spring, who have yet to be released; not only does it sell its captives or use them as sex slaves; not only did it indiscriminately kill thousands of people in a single attack; now, it has gone as far as using girls as a weapon of war. Three girls, one of whom was only ten years of age, have detonated explosives attached to their bodies in two consecutive attacks in public places, killing at least 25 people.
What could be more terrible? If we are sickened by seeing child soldiers, as indeed we are, how are we supposed to feel and react when a small ten-year old girl is turned into an instrument of sheer terror and death?
Although it has not been the political authorities but the Nigerian army itself that has requested help from the world to be able to stop this group, which is at the very least unusual, the entire international community as a whole must get involved in this fight. It must do so because it is not only the three Nigerian girls who have been forced to blow themselves up in order to kill; it is all of the women in the world who, through these girls, are once again being attacked.
We are not alone and we know this. It is all of us—men and women—who suffer the blows of criminal fury and intolerance that are doing so much harm to our world. Moreover, women also suffer the utter contempt of the terrorists through our bodies and our souls, through our physical and moral integrity, our dignity and our rights. But all of this means nothing to such murderers.
I hope that not only the army but the Government of Nigeria, to whom the duty corresponds, with its president at the forefront, will ask the world for any help that may be necessary to fight Boko Haram and put an end to this nightmare once and for all.
And I hope that when they do so, all governments will respond.
María Teresa Fernández de la Vega
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