Friday, January 23, 2015

What’s behind the Boko Haram massacre in Nigeria?

In another sign that the Western media’s acknowledgement of Africa never exceeds the occasional glance and almost always comports with the “dark continent” image of slums, savages and death,  the unjustifiable massacre of 12 civilians at Charlie Hebdo became the largest story in the world, while on the same day hundreds of people, perhaps “as many as 2,000,” were killed in an also-horrific Boko Haram attack in Nigeria, a story that more or less flew under the radar.

This is the latest in a string of Boko Haram attacks that have made the news in recent years, including the kidnapping of hundreds of schoolgirls which spawned the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls.

While this most recent tragedy did not gain the wattage of the killings at Charlie Hebdo, it does fit into the same narrative of “Islamic” insurgency presenting an existential threat to all people in Western countries. And, as is apropos to that narrative, there is now even some talk of a “multi-national” force in Nigeria to take on Boko Haram. Already Western governments are giving support to Nigeria to fight Boko Haram and it is a key piece in their explanation of the expanding Islamic “threats” in Western Africa that have been a justification for a significant expansion of Franco-American imperialist forces in the region.


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