For hundreds of parents in Nigeria, the past two weeks have been agonizing. Hopes were dim Tuesday as they marked 14 days since their teenage daughters, a total of 234 girls, were taken from a school dormitory in the dead of night at gunpoint.
Though Islamic militants haven’t yet claimed responsibility, it’s broadly suspected that Boko Haram is to blame. The group’s name means “Western education is sinful,” and its leader, Abubakar Shekau, has pledged to “annihilate all traces of Western culture and education in Africa’s most populous nation,” The Washington Post reported. For the fundamentalist sect, that includes educating girls.
Bloody precedents have been set. In July 2013, days after 29 students were burned alive at school, Shekau pledged to kill teachers using texts other than the Koran. Two months later, 40 more students were massacred. In February of this year, 59 boys were shot dead, and their boarding school was burned to the ground.
Now parents have taken to trying to find their girls in the Sambisa forest, a Boko Haram hideout, but it’s a dangerous journey for civilians, and the government isn’t doing enough to find their 16- to 18-year-old daughters.
“All we want from the government is to help us bring our children back,” one father, Pogu Yaga, 50, told Reuters before bursting into tears.
In other news...
- Deadly Twisters: Tornadoes killed at least 30 people in the Southeast on Monday, and more violent weather is expected Tuesday as families struggle to clean up. According to the National Weather Service, more than 100 tornadoes were reported yesterday. (via The Associated Press)
- Federal Campus Rape Intervention: The White House has issued a report on college responses to campus rape, and it is launching a website called NotAlone.gov to support survivors. Vice President Joe Biden said in a statement Monday night, “No more turning a blind eye or pretending it doesn’t exist. We need to give victims the support they need—like a confidential place to go—and we need to bring perpetrators to justice.” (via The Washington Post)
- Boys Struggle in School: A wide gender gap is forming in education, and it’s because boys are falling behind—they show a serious lack of social and behavioral skills as early on as kindergarten. By eighth grade, nearly half of girls get As and Bs, but fewer than a third of boys do. (via The New York Times)
- Professors Who Aren’t Really Professors: A stunning 76 percent of college-level instructors are adjuncts, meaning they’re hired on short-term contracts with little to no possibility of tenure. The majority of these adjuncts live below the poverty line, all while students are going into massive debt to graduate and colleges blame record costs. Doesn’t take a Ph.D. to see something wrong with that math. (via The Atlantic)
- Rent Is Too Damn High: Neighborhood organizations in New York have come up with a novel approach to dealing with evictions and landlords looking to cash in on gentrification: tenant unions. (via The New York Times)
- Drone Secrecy Upheld: U.S. senators have stripped this year’s intelligence bill of a provision that would have required public disclosure of information about drone strikes and the people they kill. (via The Guardian)
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