May 6, 2014

When ‘women are slaves’, and Australia just ignores it

Hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls have been abducted for daring to go to school. Weeks on, the Australian media has largely ignored it, and the government appears to have done little.

Cathy Alexander — Freelance journalist and PhD candidate in politics at the University of Melbourne

Cathy Alexander

Freelance journalist and PhD candidate in politics at the University of Melbourne

It was a nightmare come true when more than 200 people went missing in mysterious circumstances recently. They have still not been found, and their families are desperate.

But because these people were Nigerian schoolgirls abducted by militants for daring to go to school, rather than well-off people on an airplane, the Australian media and government have paid it scant attention.

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19 thoughts on “When ‘women are slaves’, and Australia just ignores it

  1. Saugoof

    I must be living in a different media landscape but I have seen a huge amount of coverage about this story and even tonnes of facebook posts, etc. To be honest, I was actually quite pleased that this story did get comparatively good coverage in the media here, unlike for example a couple of other recent terrorism bombings in Nigeria. I must admit that I’m somewhat prejudiced here because I’ve worked in Nigeria for a short while and so stories about the place automatically prick up my ears. But still, I’ve been positively surprised by the amount of coverage.

    I’ve been even more surprised by the large amount of stories I’ve seen in the last couple of weeks about the ‘lack of coverage’ which just doesn’t correspond with what I’m seeing.

    But I also think comparing it to the MH370 story is misguided. As horrible as both events are, the MH370 has a massive mystery behind it which will always get more coverage. The sad thing though is that if the abducted girls would have been, say, American or even just “blonde”, then it would have been wall-to-wall saturation coverage here.

    The one area where I agree with you is on the Australian government silence. But then, I don’t know what good a Julie Bishop or Tony Abbott would be in this situation either.

  2. Alex

    The US can be useful because it’s a global superpower with airborne satellites and other tools to potentially provide useful info to Nigeria. Beyond money, what can Australia do? Hand wring more publically?

  3. Cathy Alexander

    Hi Saugoof, where have you been reading the coverage in the Oz media? There’s been quite a bit on the ABC, but not much elsewhere. I actually think there’s been a lot on this issue on social media – lots of interest on FB etc. Interesting.

  4. Mark Duffett

    My first encounter with this story was way back on 26 April, and as that story itself says (space.io9.com/harsh-reality-break-234-girls-kidnapped-from-physics-t-1568087455) it was old news then.

    This news is downright stale — the kidnapping occurred over a week ago on April 15th — so if you’re only hearing about it now, turn around and slap your news-provider for ignoring it.

    Yet as far as I can tell, this is the first time Crikey’s mentioned it. Consider yourselves slapped, Crikey.

    And Eva Cox might have the best intentions but “…questions why Australia has spent so much money looking for MH370 but does not appear to have even offered to help Nigeria rescue the girls” is embarrassing overegging. Um, geography?

  5. Ingle Knight

    I know it’s been said but the point seems to have been lost: 250 schoolgirls studying science, abducted, some killed, some raped, some sold into slavery. Can you imagine the response of the Australian government and the commercial media if they were white?

  6. David Hand

    You’re absolutely right Cathy. A mere 60 mentions in the media and none in Crikey.

    Slap yourselves over the wrist with a wet bus ticket!

  7. mikeb

    I have heard and read plenty about the “missing” schoolgirls so not sure what the author is on about. Also to compare with MH370 is ridiculous. MH370 is a long-time mystery whereas everyone knows what happened to the poor girls – including the Nigerian Government. They should be doing something about it but I suspect they have vested interests. As an aside – I really really hope that Muslim leaders have condemned the actions and in particular those comments by Abubakar Shekau (may he rot in ….). I suspect they probably have but if so more prominance should be given to them.

  8. paddy

    Julie Bishop must read Crikey.
    She’s just tweeted this.
    Australia condemns abduction of 200 girls and offers support to Nigeria http://foreignminister.gov.au/releases/Pages/2014/jb_mr_140506.aspx

  9. AR

    As the bien pissant get the vapours over their lattes (the cost of one of which would buy one these students a school uniform) they should realise that one reason why these young women are not being sought overly energetically is that they are already ‘damaged goods’.
    Even had they been kept in a seraglio with a dozen over muscled Nubian eunuchs and several fearsome den mothers, the suspicion would forever reduce their value (not the same as “worth”).
    Before any xenophobes just up & down, i suggest that they check Gen. 24:67 and out the Talmudic obfuscation that has mumbled on for millennia as to whether Rachel was intacto purely by virtue of her having been escorted by Abe’s servant, sworn on the oath of his patriarchal testes.

  10. Pedantic, Balwyn

    When the country is run by the white bread tribe of middle aged to elderly, wealthy, narrow-minded, conservative males, and one woman, it is not surprising that the abduction of a bunch of female darkies receives little attention.
    The Christian standards these guys espouse do not extend to worrying too much about the dark continent, certainly not as far as commenting or offering any assistance. It is plain, unexpurgated racism, with a dollop of misogyny.

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