I CONDEMN THE ACTS OF BOKO HARAM IN KIDNAPPING AND ATTEMPTING TO SELL THE HUNDREDS OF GIRLS FROM THE SCHOOLS IN THE NORTH OF NIGERIA. LET ME EXPRESS CLEARLY THAT IT SEEMS TO BE IMMORAL, ILLEGAL AND IMPROPER BY ALMOST EVERY APPLICABLE MEASURE. MY HEART GOES OUT TO THE FAMILIES AND THE GIRLS THEMSELVES WHO FEEL CHEATED, BETRAYED AND TERRORIZED. That is a sincere summary of my general feelings about this matter. Educating girls has been a big part of my life and I have also long opposed radical Islamists. But I do have a few more discomforting things to write. I think it is terrible that families have had their hopes and investment disrupted and that is more serious than merely emotional agony in terms of its effect on the economy and future of Nigeria. Further the funds of the sale will support non-conventional Islamist warfare in the world. However, the war is brutal and slavery may have saved the girls from being burnt alive as much a s it motivated the attack. It may have been more about war happening anyway and the girls surviving because of the option of slavery. For a view different that I have just given but laid out here by a serious new organization go here. So if slavery is o The fact and idea of slavery saving the lives of war captives is nothing new. It is as old as ancient slavery and the Classical period in the West. Go here for a bit of a review of how this worked. Most of these girls would probably not vote to have been burned alive instead of abducted. The problem gets even more complex when we realize that unlike history as taught in the US and UK slavery has been a roaring concern for the last several centuries. It has changed since the transatlantic slave trade was outlawed and the Southern States lost the US Civil war but it has endured in many places. This is a difficult time to comment on all the things that underlie the weakness of the United States of America as it faces its future. The truth is that Boko Haram in raiding schools and kidnapping girls for forced marriages or slavery has done something which even Al Qaeda feels the need to disavow. We can only presume that the context of slavery in much of Muslim Africa is less troubling to the Islamist unconventional warfare network than this high profile and unpopular act. There are many reasons why this group could be condemned by their peers but it is important for us not to forget who and what their peers are. It is important to remember that slavery is very pervasive in much of Africa and the world. What is shocking here is the kidnapping for political and religious causes of girls with clear hope for a better future against the wishes of their legal guardians. It is unfortunate that most Americans are unaware still of worldwide slavery. The facts of slavery in each society vary and they all throw into sharp relief the variety of reforms and efforts to achieve real abolition that have happened in other countries and in those countries where slavery remains a major part of life. I am committed to keeping my keyboards and screens where my written text appears poking at the areas where I feel America is largely asleep. This is not an easy path and there is risk involved in a life where I have already had quite lot of risk. But sex, slavery and race are areas where America has lied to itself for a long time. Nonetheless, there are many issues in this crisis which must embarrass or chasten to some degree those who like me have pointed to the horrors of modern slavery. Boko Haram is acting in the ancient realm of possibility, their deeds show why in societies which relied on slavery very much indeed it was still regarded often a s a necessary evil.
So if in fact chattel slavery is in my view better than slavery followed by murder as with the Nazis or other kind of murder of innocents than what can I say to still join the many people who are singling out this event with the campaign #BRING BACK OUR GIRLS? Well, I can say Boko Haram should not be raiding Christians and other seeking a better life. I can say that I am on the side of Christians when such religious wars are unavoidable. I can say persecuting Muslims seeking the power-sharing with Christians in progressive and capitalist parts of Nigeria where Christians happen to predominate is bad policy. But slavery is not worse than burning people alive as many raiders do in Africa and also in other places, it is not worse than cutting peoples arms off to assure they can never work again. War captive slavery has likely kept the girls alive, safe from being wantonly mutilated and fed. Ransoms can be paid to recover the girls or the BH fighters can be defeated in battle. Those are outcomes they as adherents of a more ancient worldview largely accept.
However, compared to the slavery which in part my Confederate ancestors sought to preserve and the slavery of the classical period this slavery has no mortgage banking, insurance and other commercial means of making resources for prisoners available and averaging out costs in such a way as to increase humane treatment and survival for captives. Remember Rwanda? All those people slaughtered cannot be ransomed. Slaves can be freed by ransom with armed guards and where the law exists we have seen in the film 12 Years a Slave that they can be freed by the courts where the laws do not support them.
My view is let us kill the men of Boko Haram. Let us all help their enemies and bring a better future than the one the want to Nigeria. Let us help the girls get back to school. But let us not lie so much about how this form of slavery plays out, about where and when it exists and what it means. For more on American slavery see this and this for some indirect insight. My glossary has more to say about these topics and I will say more if I ever bring in more writing from elsewhere. These young women would benefit from not being in a horrible war, not being denied education and would benefit less from more transparent and legalized slave trading. We can see if we choose that millions are sold with less protection yearly in that region in an illegal trade. Confederates did outlaw the slave trade across the seas in their constitution but along with Liberian colonization they saw a continuity to ancient practices that put some value on individual life and hope.
I really am on the side of the girls and do consider Boko Haram my enemy. But I do not believe the world is really getting sober in all this. They are seeking more ways to lie to themselves and be drunker in their thoughts. But “they’ are also the many who really want to help. Those who favor civilization and our civilization must learn to attract goodwill. But the clamor for ending this slavery of captives has no context or realism to it. New lies will be the fruit,