author – activist – faculty – mom
I’m truly blessed this year, but my heart today is with mothers in Nigeria who are praying for the return of their kidnapped daughters, or grieving the loss of their murdered sons, or comforting their traumatized daughters who have escaped from abduction.
I’ve been working on a spoken word piece about diasporan responses to the abduction. While it’s not finished, I thought I would post my introductory thoughts and the twitter exchange that inspired it.
Earlier this week, I was in twitter conversation with Britney Cooper and Kwame Holmes. Cooper and I were conflicted about US intervention but hoping something good could come of President Obama getting involved in the abduction of over 300 schoolgirls in Nigeria, 276 of whom were still missing at last count. Holmes, and others, were citing recent instances where concern about women and girls was used as a pretext for military invasion.
Before I could take a definitive position, I was waiting to hear from native African feminists on the subject. Friend and trusted colleague, Kenyan poet and playwright @ShailjaPatel had been quiet on twitter for a while.
But when she joined the debate, and sent me the above compareafrique.com post, I could clearly see that my perspective had been skewed by a lifetime of conditioning to see the US as a potential rescuer. This, in spite of my opposition to all the military intervention in my lifetime, Viet Nam, Guinea-Bissau, Chile, Uruguay, Guatemala, El Salvador, Grenada, Nicaragua, Panama, Afghanistan, Iraq…
We progressives in the US, particularly of African heritage, can be swayed by Obama’s public stances and record of improvement in various domestic social issues. However, progressive social policies at home do not correlate in any way with anti-colonial foreign policy.
Perhaps, all of us Afro diasporans in the US, hearing about the abduction and violence against African girls wanted something other than silence, than business as usual. We have nightmares of our own, from the recent outrage with RKelly’s “Black Panties” album, and the latest in-depth revelation of his one-man sexual violence crusade against black girls in US, we are desperate for someone in a position of influence to notice and intervene. We want someone powerful to #BringBackOurGirls. If only it were that simple.