Jesus said, “The poor you will always have with you” (Mark 14:7). Unfortunately, he omitted to mention that the same applies to idiots. Every religion has its fair share of these unfortunate creatures. They are best left alone to their own devices and we should completely ignore them, but when an ordinary class of religious idiot crosses the line and commits crimes in the name of God, this individual and his pack of hyenas must be culled.
There was a gut-wrenching response against religious idiocy in the aftermath of a terrible event, which affected my own nation. When Jim Jones managed to pull off a mass suicide of over 900 members of his ‘People’s Temple’ in Jonestown, Guyana, his nasty feat dominated the news. Over 300 of the victims were children and almost all of them died from cyanide poisoning. Prior to the suicides, California Congressman Leo Ryan and four other US citizens lost their lives when they were attacked by guards from the Jonestown compound. All of the above transpired in November 1978.
Boko Haram is the nom de guerre of a loose lid group, which continues to terrorise Nigeria and the surrounding regions. They have bats in the belfry. But wait! The members of Boko Haram would not recognise a belfry from a beltway. But they do despise what happened prior to their own births. As we opine in Texas, Boko Haram adherents are bat-guano crazy. Yet the colonialism of prior centuries actually carried along an element of hope for what was, and still remains, a markedly dark continent.
Here is a diagnosis for the educated: folie à deux (a psychiatric syndrome). Members of Boko Haram suffer from shared psychotic disorder, just like the members of Jim Jones’ dystopian religious nightmare. Folie à deux is a rare delusional disorder, which is shared by two or occasionally more people with close emotional ties. Jim Jones created emotional ties with the concept of a rainbow family of mutual interest. In the case of Jim Jones, it is likely his own delusion was nurtured by his mother. It is reported that Lynette Jones believed she had given birth to a messiah. Reverend Jones drank that Kool-Aid long before he offered it to his loyalists. Their Kool-Aid was offered up in James Bond fashion — shaken and not stirred — and with a twist of cyanide as a send-off to hell.
Boko Haram drive about in truck caravans like the Fast and Furious of Nigeria. They spill out of the beds of their trucks like cockroaches, slit the throats of doctors (2013) and engage in general mayhem. They leap back up into their vehicles and disappear down rutted roads. These guys are drunk on the punch, which is the signature drink of religious bullies. They giddily announce that Allah commanded them to kidnap women. The God-of-the-punch also commanded them to barter the women to men who will rape them repeatedly, infect them with sexually transmitted diseases, impregnate them and eventually leave them squatting in the African heat. Rape is a physical act collapsed into terrifying moments of time but the little girl who develops an obstetric fistula inherits a lifetime of grief and possible social isolation. Step back now. Hug your daughter. You still possess your treasure.
What the media consistently defers to report is this: the 276 girls who were kidnapped are primarily from Christian families and resided at a boarding school. Boarding schools are a grand holdover tradition bequeathed by the Brits. Why the omission? Half-truths are complete lies when generated by journalists.
On a micro-scale, Boko Haram’s operational zeal reminds me of 9/11. The attack for which we were not prepared is the attack that cost us our blood and national treasure. I always like to remind myself of a simple truth. The individuals who worked in the Twin Towers and those who boarded the aircraft were already dead. They just did not know it yet. But had we been prepared? We are prepared now. As Navy Chaplain Forgy said, “Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition, boys!”
The students who neatly made their beds, put on their uniforms for the day and thanked Jesus for their breakfast were doomed long before the raiding party arrived. They just did not know it yet. These girls have undoubtedly already learned that fear has an odour, a taste and elements of visual disturbance. How many were bartered for another rifle and a box of shells? Boko Haram seeks out weaknesses in security and infrastructure. Nigeria is not prepared. No nation can boast of their security configuration when a campus of schoolgirls vanishes as easily as Malaysia Airlines flight 370. The students were kidnapped by gun-wielding psychotics who have been allowed (yes, allowed) to terrorise the populace for too long.
Individual psychosis requires a lock-up. I have taken care of psychiatric patients who exhibited behaviour of cunning coupled with a lack of remorse or sense of human empathy. The rule is a simple one: never turn your back on them, and never let them corner you in a room. But the rules change for group psychosis with exhibition of violent tendencies. These groups do not get lock-up. Widow-makers are the order of the day. They come out of their lair under chain of command and the mission is to create an effective kill box. Locate the camp. Ride the pale horse! Isolate and annihilate. It does not take a military genius to figure this one out.
First Lady Michelle Obama posed with a downcast countenance holding a sign with a Twitter hashtag: #BringBackOurGirls. Where was the concern when Korean doctors were beheaded by Boko Haram in 2013? Sorry, Michelle. Twitter hashtags are like a mosquito buzzing in the ear. Hashtags are not policy.
Is it too late for the kidnapped females? Probably. Auction houses of human flesh move with a nimble rapidity within the African continent. The girls are gone.
The writer is a freelance journalist and author of the novel Arsenal. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org