Nigeria

Not Actually a Punch Line

Detail of cartoon by Jen Sorensen, via Daily Kos Comics, 26 May 2015.Even though it would make for a crass joke, there are days when we find ourselves wishing it was a punch line. The thing is that as setups go, Jen Sorensen’s explanation only goes downhill from there. And no, that’s not a complaint or disdainful critique of the cartoon; it’s a very good cartoon worth the click to read. Truth is stranger than fiction. You can’t make this sort of joke up. And, besides, you know. Americans. Conservatives. Family values. It’s not actually funny. She is describing a disaster; no matter how we tell it, the story only gets worse as it goes along.

This is a matter of priorities. We are the United States of America, and we damn well know what is important to us.

And this is how we show it.

(sigh)

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Sorensen, Jen. “Pro-life, Boko Haram style”. Daily Kos Comics. 26 May 2015.

A Market Symptom

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins.  (Washington Times, file photo)

“Another thing that doesn’t work the way Tony Perkins would like: God’s favor. Unhinged religious conservatives like Perkins are always screaming that God punishes countries that embrace equality for LGBT people and showers blessings on countries that persecute LGBT people. But a quick look at the list of the worst places to be LGBT—Iran, Nigeria, Uganda, Russia, Cameroon—makes it clear that ‘shitty and fucked’ correlates strongly with ‘rabidly anti-queer.'”

Dan Savage

Sometimes it is enough to go with, “What he said.”

And sometimes it should be enough to do so, but it might take some explaining nonetheless.

Within that subset there are occasions when one can trade such explanation for an expression of mild exasperation as if to say, “What, you need this explained?”

Okay, that is a concession worth making on this occasion: As long as people keep sending these groups enough money to keep them in business, others will point out the dangerous, uneducated excrement they produce.

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Savage, Dan. “Tony Perkins: Same-Sex Marriage Destroys Currencies”. Slog. 16 December 2014.

Really Happening

Detail of image by Pius Utomi Ekpei

Three depressing paragraphs from Zack Beauchamp of Vox:

One of Boko Haram’s central grievances with the “fake Muslims” who currently run their country is Nigeria’s secular education system. The name Boko Haram, translated from Hausa, is often translated as “Western education is forbidden.” But more precisely, it means “Western culture is Islamically forbidden,” underscoring that Boko Haram’s campaign against schooling is only part of its broader crusade against non-Islamic influences on Nigerian society.

So it makes sense that they’d target a girl’s school. Still, why kidnap the girls?

“Their goal is almost certainly to ransom [the girls],” Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, a senior fellow at the Foundation of the Defense of Democracies who follows Boko Haram, told me. “Otherwise, they have chosen a target that will make everybody hate them. Killing [100] schoolgirls would be a huge PR hit even for some of the rougher jihadist groups.”

Apparently, the group is known for this sort of stunt. And, yes, this really is happening.

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Beauchamp, Zack. “A Nigerian terrorist group just kidnapped 100 girls to keep them from going to school”. Vox. April 15, 2014.

Image credit: Detail of image by Pius Utomi Ekpei (AFP/Getty).