500 Days Wondering: Where Is God? On the abduction of the Chibok girls by Marcia Fingal
Five hundred days in captivity is a long time for anyone, let alone teen girls, but this is exactly the case for 219 students kidnapped and still missing. Under the cover of darkness on April 14, 2014, the terrorist group Boko Haram, dressed as military soldiers, abducted 276 female students from the Government Secondary School in Chibok, Nigeria. They plundered and burned the school to the ground and forced the young girls into large trucks. A total of 57 girls escaped on their own, but 219 grieving families still await news of their daughters' fate. Based on the reports of other Boko Haram abductees, it's believed the Chibok girls have been sold as child brides, forced into sexual slavery, turned into unwilling weapons of terrorism - shocking revelations as this story has virtually disappeared from the headlines. What if this had happened in the United States or Europe?
The days have turned to weeks and months, and now, incredibly, 500 days have passed since that infamous abduction. Here in New York City there is a tireless group of interfaith women determined to keep the spirit of these missing children alive and in the global mindset. They have committed themselves to pray and to march; to advocate, convene and converse; to rally and publicize this atrocity until the Chibok schoolgirls are found and brought home with a plan for restorative healing and reclamation. A tall order by any stretch, but these are women of deep faith, strength and conviction. Some are mothers themselves; all are committed to raising their collective voices for girls whose lives have been stolen, their hopes for an education extinguished and their bodies violated. There is no space for fatigue and rest when children are in the grip of terrorists and governments are impotent in finding them.
Must we not do what Deuteronomy 16:20 says and pursue justice at all costs? Are we not to "loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the heavy burdens and to let the oppressed go free, breaking every yoke," as Isaiah 58:6 offers? These are resonating scriptures as we, global citizens and people of faith, are the chroniclers of our time. We cannot see injustice repeatedly and do nothing. We cannot stand idly by witnessing the horrific treatment of women and young girls. What is the benchmark for tolerance of barbarity? When is enough truly enough? When do we reach a critical mass of people finally saying brutish treatment of one half of humanity must end? Freedom to choose education should not warrant violence. Freedom to make decisions about their bodies, their thoughts and actions should be a natural expectation for young girls anywhere and not a right that is cruelly snatched away.
We rise and fall together. I Corinthians 12:26 says so. "If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it." I am part of a collective of women standing in solidarity and righteous indignation for stolen schoolgirls and the lives they left behind. We are women embracing our faith in a big God, confident justice will come, recognizing nothing is as resilient as the heart of a woman determined to boldly live again, reclaiming what was taken.
Prayer in combination with action and advocacy is a potent force for change. I believe we all have a spiritual mandate as we move through the world. What does the Lord require of us? Is it not to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly? Who is my neighbor? Am I not my sister's protector? Who is my brother? Do we not belong to one another? Are we not responsible for each other? I say a resounding, "YES!"
Below are several links for additional information on the Bring Back Our Girls Global Campaigns:
BringBackOurGirlsNYC on FB: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bring-Back-Our-Girls-NYC/324267747720907
BringBackOurGirlsNYC blog: http://bringbackourgirlsnyc.blogspot.com/
Bring Back Our Girls Nigeria: http://www.bringbackourgirls.ng/
Girls Who Escaped Boko Haram Tell of Horrors in Captivity:
"Those Terrible Weeks in their Camp" - Boko Haram Violence against Women and Girls in Northeast Nigeria: http://features.hrw.org/features/HRW_2014_report/Those_Terrible_Weeks_in_Their_Camp/index.html
www.pathfindersji.org (Pathfinders Justice Initiative which supports female Boko Haram abductees recently rescued.)
_ It's been 500 days... #bringbackourgirls _
Marcia Fingal is an award winning Documentary Filmmaker and Photographer focusing on issues of global social justice. Born in Guyana, South America, she is currently a Public Relations Specialist who graduated from Rutgers University. She has been a Journalist and Talk Show Host, as well as an Assistant Fashion Editor for Essence Magazine. Ms. Fingal has had a successful career as an international model and TV commercial actress. It was her global travels that ignited a passion for empowering disenfranchised communities and now fuels much of the philanthropic work she does.
She is Secretary of the Board of Directors for Intersections International, a multi-cultural, multi-faith, global initiative of the Collegiate Church committed to forging common ground, reconciliation, and peace among diverse communities worldwide. She is also a member of the Consistory of the Collegiate Corporation, the oldest corporation in North America, founded in 1628. Ms. Fingal is part of this governing body, responsible for overseeing the passage and implementation of large-scale, multi-dimensional projects. She takes the most satisfaction from work on the Collegiate Outreach Committee, responsible for granting dollars to a plethora of deserving non-profits both locally and globally. Co-Chair Emerita and fifteen year member of Marble Church's Women's Ministry Leadership Team, Ms. Fingal worked with a core group to visualize, plan and implement year round church programming.
Ms. Fingal is on the Board of Governors of the global, micro finance organization, Opportunity International. She recently joined the Board of Trustees for Odyssey Networks, the media non profit which creates and uses storytelling to show how people of all faiths engage the world. She lives in New York City, continues to appear in national and international print and TV campaigns and travels extensively, documenting social issues of people living on the fringe.
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