New York City — A transnational feminist organization has expressed solidarity and sympathy to the family and communities of over 300 Nigerians school girls who were kidnapped and forced into marriage with strangers.
In a press statement, AF3IRM condemned the kidnapping of the Nigerian girls, their subsequent transit into Chad and Cameroon, and their sale at $12 each into forced marriage with strangers.
AF3IRM members in New York and Los Angeles, joined rallies early this month, calling to “bring back back our girls.” The group extended its sympathy to their families and speaks out in solidarity with those calling for the girls’ safe return.
“As an immigrant mother and with the transnational mothers who led AF3IRM chapter marches on May 1st, we will be relentless in our call for the rescue of the kidnapped and trafficked girls of Nigeria as if they are our own daughters. We hear your wails and we cry with you,” stated AF3IRM National Programme Coordinator Katrina Socco. “We see your steadfastness and we too will not be moved until justice is won.”
An anti-imperialist, transnational feminist organization, AF3IRM opposes the globalized system of human trafficking that treats the bodies of girls and women as mere products to abuse, rape, and exploit. AF3IRM decries the use of women and girls as pawns and bargaining chipsin the continuing power struggle over control of the resources of oil-rich Nigeria. The women of AF3IRM denounce the sickeningly normalized and rampant exploitation of and violence committed against girls and women in areas of conflict and and instability. The state of Borno, wherein Chibok is located and from where the girls were taken, has been under a state of emergency for the last eleven months because of recurring and seemingly unstoppable acts of violence.
The AF3IRM statement condemned “the government’s purposeful inaction that has failed to protect and return the Chibok girls as part of the continuum allowing unchecked violence against women as a pandemic human rights violation.”
It is a straight line from the kidnapped girls of Nigeria to the trafficked girls and women on the streets in Brooklyn and Queens, NY, in New Jersey, along Oakland’s International Blvd, on Figueroa in Los Angeles, on El Cajon in San Diego, and on Kuhio Avenue in Waikiki, Honolulu; to the thousand missing and murdered women of Canada, most of them First Nations women; to the murdered women of Juarez; to the missing women along U.S. borders; and to the murder of women’s rights defenders in many countries of the world.
The continued violence against women in the world are not isolated events – these are the direct results of the patriarchal and imperialist normalization of the subjugation and devaluation of the lives of girls and women. The bodies of girls and women are not to be used for control, intimidation, and profit, AF3IRM said.
In a related development, the New York Times reports that men suspected of being fighters from the radical group Boko Haram kidnapped 11 more girls in Nigeria’s northeast. Local officials said Tuesday that this is an intensification of its campaign against female education. Fifty-three have managed to escape but the kidnappers have said that three have died while 18 have fallen sick.
Three weeks into the kidnapping, not a single girl has been rescued so far, putting the Nigerian government, led by President Goodluck Jonathan, in uncomfortable spotlight as executives from across the world arrived in private jets to attend the Africa meeting of the World Economic Forum.
Authorities in Nigeria, and particularly the military, itself implicated in numerous massacres of civilians — appear to be floundering in their response to a crisis that social media have transformed into a cause célèbre. The new kidnappings underlined the inability of the Nigerian government to protect civilians from the growing insurgency.
Af3IRM meanwhile said that the kidnapping and selling of these girls is nothing but commerce – the same lust for profit which has made a large part of Africa and the world a dismal habitation for majority of humanity.
AF3IRM calls for justice for the kidnapped girls and the trafficked girls and women here in the U.S. and abroad, for the missing women along borders. AF3IRM calls for justice against femicide – for Canada’s missing and murdered women, for the murdered women of Juarez. AF3IRM calls for justice for every girl and woman who endures violence and exploitation and whose stories go unheard.
AF3IRM calls for an end to Capital’s assault of women’s bodies and urges all women to shake off the chains of gender, class and race oppression, to get organized, and to demand true women’s liberation and the freedom of all humanity. (From the AF3IRM press statement and reports from the New York Times with photo by Kristina Joyas)