Jump to content
Hatter

Abducted Nigerian girls

Recommended Posts

Who gives a shit?  Thousands of people die every day from bombs, bullets, and poverty, but I'm expected to care about some random nigerian girls because...reasons?  

 

#Kony2012!

  • Upvote 8
  • Downvote 7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Who gives a shit?  Thousands of people die every day from bombs, bullets, and poverty, but I'm expected to care about some random nigerian girls because...reasons?  

 

#Kony2012!

While the ironic/jerk-ish part of this post is kind of irritating, Maury's point is right. We choose to ignore violence until it becomes popular in the news, at which point we take extreme interest in it because it's "popular". This type of scenario is essentially what proves Giroux's Death K, because we as people become desensitized to violence and therefore don't care until it can benefit us to talk about it, at which point we speak out (IE in the debate space). 

  • Upvote 3
  • Downvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess I agree, Nigeria can't facilitate the hunt and the U.N. doesn't do jack shit because they argue too much.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess I agree, Nigeria can't facilitate the hunt and the U.N. doesn't do jack shit because they argue too much.

tfw when my cosmopolitan utopia will never be realized because the u.n is just a figurehead :(

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While the ironic/jerk-ish part of this post is kind of irritating, Maury's point is right. We choose to ignore violence until it becomes popular in the news, at which point we take extreme interest in it because it's "popular". This type of scenario is essentially what proves Giroux's Death K, because we as people become desensitized to violence and therefore don't care until it can benefit us to talk about it, at which point we speak out (IE in the debate space). 

 

Actually, its the reverse of the Death K, because we don't draw enough attention to these incidents.  If we don't make a big deal of it, no one cares except a few news junkies and academics.  How many people even noticed the genocide in East Timor, despite occasional news coverage?  It isn't that we're desensitized, its that most of population can't be bothered to care if the news media isn't shoving the story down their throat.  CNN made (at least some of) us care deeply about the missing Malaysia Air plane, and the viewing numbers prove it.  That interest is probably what got the US so involved in the search.  (You think there aren't people at the White House not obsessively watching the viewership ratings of the news and trying to predict what the president/country needs to respond to?)

 

This particular story went completely ignored in the US and most of the world for 3 weeks, and so nobody cared until it was pretty much too late to do anything.

  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You recommended Gendering Global Conflict on a debate facebook group a long while ago and now Laura Sjoberg is like my favorite person. I'm gonna give this a read later.

She's insanely accessible and insanely smart. I fangirl over her work hard

 

edit - Relations International is her blog. I plan on regularly cutting from it and recommend anyone interested in feminist policy analysis (aka free specific link work) do the same.

Edited by Snarf
  • Upvote 1
  • Downvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i think this is a really unique happening because it illustrates how global society puts black women on the fringe of.. caring? i guess. i have a lot to say but my mind is like, getting blocked. i'll revisit this again when i can think

anyway i think that something needs to be done but nothing WILL be done until it's too late (if at all)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually, its the reverse of the Death K, because we don't draw enough attention to these incidents.  If we don't make a big deal of it, no one cares except a few news junkies and academics.  How many people even noticed the genocide in East Timor, despite occasional news coverage?  It isn't that we're desensitized, its that most of population can't be bothered to care if the news media isn't shoving the story down their throat.  CNN made (at least some of) us care deeply about the missing Malaysia Air plane, and the viewing numbers prove it.  That interest is probably what got the US so involved in the search.  (You think there aren't people at the White House not obsessively watching the viewership ratings of the news and trying to predict what the president/country needs to respond to?)

 

This particular story went completely ignored in the US and most of the world for 3 weeks, and so nobody cared until it was pretty much too late to do anything.

I'll concede that most of this is probably true, except for making a big deal of things being the root cause of us not caring. Many people see violence going on in the status quo, yet actually refuse to be bothered unless society cares. When a middle class mother is staring at her TV watching a "abused animal commercial" over and over again, it begins to be that she probably does not care, and only wants to get back to her Desperate Housewives marathon. The West as a whole has become so desensitized to violence, that we only care once one strong person cares, and makes something out of it. That's why Giroux argues that portrayals of disaster/death are bad. Granted, news and media might be the way to "get a message out", but the true revolutionaries will be the only ones who actually continue on trying to fight whatever bad thing is happening, whereas the followers will be up and out as soon as the hype is over. Giroux argues that this commodifies the experience(s) of empathy and death, to a point where they are just a new call of duty video game to open up and play, and eventually get bored with, until we come onto the new spectacle (like Titanfall :P). When life becomes this, why bother living if our sole purpose is to feed off the suffering of others? (<- Gettin Some Schopenhauer 1851 up in here #AmIRight?) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Who gives a shit?  Thousands of people die every day from bombs, bullets, and poverty, but I'm expected to care about some random nigerian girls because...reasons?  

 

#Kony2012!

I get that this is sarcasm (I hope that this is sarcasm), but let me ask a question. Since undue suffering and death happens around the world at almost every moment, does that mean that we should turn away from one instant when it is brought to our attention? It seems like that would be the opposite of what is good, namely that we should care about everyone in every single instant. That means that we get to care about this case of abduction as well as other cases elsewhere.

 

This is like saying that just because we aren't already perfect means that we shouldn't even try ever.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Congratulations you just made an argument against ever showing any bad things ever

 

like, Giroux's argument probably applies to debate because we introduce death impacts as bargaining chips to win rounds with, not actual catastrophic events that would be life-shattering and horrific to go through.  In the context of stuff like this, where people's lives are at stake and we need to show instances of suffering not to win something as trivial as a debate round, but just to simply let people know this is happening, images of suffering are pretty important

 

also examine places like Darfur and Rwanda-you literally cannot talk about genocides without talking about genocides, meaning the world of the alt means we never really learn about tragedies like those.

The alt I read on the K isn't to not talk about it, it's to not use it as chips to win- reward them with a loss even if you think their idea is good, because that way you stop debaters from thinking that higher death counts will get them wins. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But the alternative is just awful model to conduct media

I'll agree that the common alternative kind of sucks, and that it stops us form being aware, but I don't see how the alt I mentioned above is an awful model to conduct media, considering the fact that debate is technically not media (unless streamed I guess). 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As for the original question, I believe the situation could be resolved due to the public support it has. I had heard somewhere that the kidnappers had demanded the release of imprisoned militants. I think we are moving more towards meeting these demands instead of maybe considering a more imperialist approach which could be for the better. As for the more or less irrelevant discussion, I do take issue with the glorification of this event when there has been some serious masking of other tragic situations with equal importance (or even less importance), however I don't think that justifies doing nothing about it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As for the original question, I believe the situation could be resolved due to the public support it has. I had heard somewhere that the kidnappers had demanded the release of imprisoned militants. I think we are moving more towards meeting these demands instead of maybe considering a more imperialist approach which could be for the better. As for the more or less irrelevant discussion, I do take issue with the glorification of this event when there has been some serious masking of other tragic situations with equal importance (or even less importance), however I don't think that justifies doing nothing about it.

Didn't Nigeria turn down the demands though?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

http://relationsinternational.com/whosegirls/

 

Here's a really good article on this issue

See, this is about where the Orwell card I like to use starts playing a role. Here's Sjoberg:

 

That inspired me to asks few questions about “our†girls: who the owners of the girls are, and what they own, in #bringbackourgirls. A few insights I think might be worth sharing. First, whatever it is that is owned, it is not owned either by the girls themselves or by their immediate families, or even their fellow Nigerians. They, obviously, are not the ones tweeting, and the tweeters aren’t tweeting ‘bringbacktheirgirls’ or ‘bringbackthegirls.’ While the “back†part of ‘bring back’ implies whatever is owned will be returned to Nigeria, it does not imply that Nigerians own it – rather it implies that it is not owned by Nigerians but will be returned anyway. Second, a literal reading of the hashtag suggests that whatever is owned is actually owned by the tweeters – collectively not individually. The ‘our’ in the tweet refers to a group that the tweeters see themselves as in, whether that collective is their nationality, the twitter community, or the global community, the tweeters appear to see themselves as part-owners of the girls that they are advocating (if in a slack-tivist way) the return of. In other words, they are reading the girls as their property to be returned, presumably either by or inspired by their twitter demands.

And Orwell:

 

In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible. Things like the continuance of British rule in India, the Russian purges and deportations, the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan, can indeed be defended, but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face, and which do not square with the professed aims of the political parties. Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness. Defenseless villages are bombarded from the air, the inhabitants driven out into the countryside, the cattle machine-gunned, the huts set on fire with incendiary bullets: this is called pacification. Millions of peasants are robbed of their farms and sent trudging along the roads with no more than they can carry: this is called transfer of population or rectification of frontiers. People are imprisoned for years without trial, or shot in the back of the neck or sent to die of scurvy in Arctic lumber camps: this is called elimination of unreliable elements. Such phraseology is needed if one wants to name things without calling up mental pictures of them. Consider for instance some comfortable English professor defending Russian totalitarianism. He cannot say outright, “I believe in killing off your opponents when you can get good results by doing so.†Probably, therefore, he will say something like this:

 

“While freely conceding that the Soviet regime exhibits certain features which the humanitarian may be inclined to deplore, we must, I think, agree that a certain curtailment of the right to political opposition is an unavoidable concomitant of transitional periods, and that the rigors which the Russian people have been called upon to undergo have been amply justified in the sphere of concrete achievement.â€

 

The inflated style itself is a kind of euphemism. A mass of Latin words falls upon the facts like soft snow, blurring the outline and covering up all the details. The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink. In our age there is no such thing as “keeping out of politics.“ All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred, and schizophrenia. When the general atmosphere is bad, language must suffer. I should expect to find -- this is a guess which I have not sufficient knowledge to verify -- that the German, Russian and Italian languages have all deteriorated in the last ten or fifteen years, as a result of dictatorship.

Sjoberg obsesses over the word "our" as denoting property, which is (1) transparently absurd unless you seriously think Michelle Obama considers the girls our collective property, and (2) ignores that the girls are actually being treated as property by Boko Haram. Literal property, as in slaves who can be sold. This is where Orwell comes in, because by criticizing the discourse of "BringBackOurGirls" in that way (as opposed to the criticism from the right of "talking isn't enough" or from the libertarian of "not a U.S. issue,") Sjoberg becomes objectively anti-anti-slavery; someone who advocates against saving black women from slavery because we didn't use the right words. She ignores real suffering in favor of critical theory--she would never say flat out, "I believe in letting Islamists enslave girls," so she dresses it up in criticism of language.

 

It also ignores that the term "our" is frequently used to denote a relationship, not possession. When I refer to "my students," I'm not suggesting that I own them but that i have a teacher-student relationship with them. Ditto for a parent who refers to "my children" or children who refer to "my parents." This sort of thing is cute in a debate round, but less cute when it's used to ignore literal enslavement of women.

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

See, this is about where the Orwell card I like to use starts playing a role. Here's Sjoberg:

 

 

And Orwell:

 

 

Sjoberg obsesses over the word "our" as denoting property, which is (1) transparently absurd unless you seriously think Michelle Obama considers the girls our collective property, and (2) ignores that the girls are actually being treated as property by Boko Haram. Literal property, as in slaves who can be sold. This is where Orwell comes in, because by criticizing the discourse of "BringBackOurGirls" in that way (as opposed to the criticism from the right of "talking isn't enough" or from the libertarian of "not a U.S. issue,") Sjoberg becomes objectively anti-anti-slavery; someone who advocates against saving black women from slavery because we didn't use the right words. She ignores real suffering in favor of critical theory--she would never say flat out, "I believe in letting Islamists enslave girls," so she dresses it up in criticism of language.

 

It also ignores that the term "our" is frequently used to denote a relationship, not possession. When I refer to "my students," I'm not suggesting that I own them but that i have a teacher-student relationship with them. Ditto for a parent who refers to "my children" or children who refer to "my parents." This sort of thing is cute in a debate round, but less cute when it's used to ignore literal enslavement of women.

I feel like you deliberately misread critical work. Sjoberg's argument is not "don't help these women" - when considering she's the leading feminist scholar in IR, that doesn't even make sense. Her argument is that the way we are helping may be counterproductive because of the way the help is framed. She's not saying "don't help", she's saying "help differently". 

 

You also omit the other parts of the article where she substantiates her claims of the use "our", and how "our" implies a collective imagined community that goes and rescues "our" girls from "them".

 

2. Who is the ‘our’ in this tag? ‘Our girls’ implies ownership rather than solidarity. What motivates this paternalistic feeling that ‘we’ can/should ‘save’ ‘our’ girls? In his article ‘What’s Wrong with the Well-Intentioned Boko Haram Coverage‘, Arit John argues “[o]ur coverage has reflected the oversimplified and paternalistic narrative western countries have of Africa, a narrative that underestimates the damage of colonialism and overestimates the ability of those former colonizers to help at the same time.†He notes the White Savoir motif throughout the coverage- from the reporting that American filmmaker Ramaa Mosley was responsible for the tag (compared to claims it was initiated by a South African activist) , to NBC’s Brian Williams confusing report that the girls were in Kenya, rather than Nigeria. John argues this perpetuates a general Western perception of vague and perpetual problems in Africa that require Western intervention.

I welcome your engagement - but that requires you engage, instead of ignoring information that doesn't fit your ideological binders.

Edited by Snarf
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I feel like you deliberately misread critical work. Sjoberg's argument is not "don't help these women" - when considering she's the leading feminist scholar in IR, that doesn't even make sense. Her argument is that the way we are helping may be counterproductive because of the way the help is framed. She's not saying "don't help", she's saying "help differently". 

Except she doesn't give a concrete suggestion for actually helping except to change the language from "our" to "their" or "the." If tweeting #BringBackOurGirls is ineffective slactivism, criticizing the tweeters for using the first person plural instead of the third person plural or definite article is slacktivism squared. And the article is further notable for what it doesn't talk about--the explicitly sexist ideology of Boko Haram in contrast to at most misguided paterrnalism from the West. Now, if she talks about that elsewhere, I'll withdraw my objection, but it's not in this article. That suggests, using much smaller leaps of textual analysis than she uses in ascribing sinister undertones to the word "our," that she is more interested in criticizing the West than protecting women in Nigeria from slavery. Textual analysis works both ways.

 

You also omit the other parts of the article where she substantiates her claims of the use "our", and how "our" implies a collective imagined community that goes and rescues "our" girls from "them".

 

 

2. Who is the ‘our’ in this tag? ‘Our girls’ implies ownership rather than solidarity. What motivates this paternalistic feeling that ‘we’ can/should ‘save’ ‘our’ girls? In his article ‘What’s Wrong with the Well-Intentioned Boko Haram Coverage‘, Arit John argues “[o]ur coverage has reflected the oversimplified and paternalistic narrative western countries have of Africa, a narrative that underestimates the damage of colonialism and overestimates the ability of those former colonizers to help at the same time.†He notes the White Savoir motif throughout the coverage- from the reporting that American filmmaker Ramaa Mosley was responsible for the tag (compared to claims it was initiated by a South African activist) , to NBC’s Brian Williams confusing report that the girls were in Kenya, rather than Nigeria. John argues this perpetuates a general Western perception of vague and perpetual problems in Africa that require Western intervention.

 

First, that's not in her article, but in a post by Megan McKenzie that her article links to. Second, there's no warrant here either for the claim that "our" implies ownership, just an assertion. The colonialist claims are pretty weak too; they consist of the campaign being started by an American filmmaker (are Americans supposed to ignore slavery in Nigeria or fight to stop it?), and Brian Williams being stupid. Since network news anchors like Brian Williams are generally pretentious versions of Ron Burgundy (watch the classic Celebrity Jeopardy episode where Wolf Blitzer gets shredded by Andy Richter), that doesn't tell you much.

 

Actually, this bit of linguistic analysis reminds me of a much older bit of analysis that goes the other way, from the Passover Hagaddah:

 

The wicked son - what does he say? "What is this service for you" - for you and not for him. Since he excluded himself from the nation, he has spoken heresy. You shall thus sharply condemn him and say to him, "It is because of what the Lord did for me when I left Egypt" - "for me" and not for him; had he been there, he would not have been redeemed.

In the Hagaddah, the use of the second person pronoun rather than first person pronoun is a decision to exclude, a statement denying a relationship. It's more plausible that in the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag, "our" is a statement of relationship, that the girls are in the same universal community of humanity and are not separated by being in Nigeria. It's an implementation of the old line, "An injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere."

 

Sjoberg and those she cites seem to be more motivated by opposition to anything that strikes of colonialism than by preventing forced enslavement. And maybe that's something they can argue, but as Orwell suggests, it's dishonest to make that claim without acknowledging that the consequence is the enslavement and rape of women in Nigeria by the Islamist Boko Haram

 

I welcome your engagement - but that requires you engage, instead of ignoring information that doesn't fit your ideological binders.

I am engaging. The fact that I disagree is not a lack of engagement, nor is the fact that I don't try to answer an author's entire volume of work to respond to an isolated blog post. And given our relative influence on decisionmakers, I'm much more concerned about Sjoberg's ignoring information that doesn't fit her ideological blinders, namely Boko Haram's evil ideology.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...