Don’t let Nigeria take the backseat

Morgan White
Opinion Editor

Let’s focus on a genocide a bit more than an Oscar snub. Rev. Al Sharpton called an emergency meeting on Jan. 15 after Oscar nominations were released, with only white actors being nominated for awards. Sharpton agreed it was good that Selma was nominated for best picture, however he said it was “…ironic that they nominated a story about the racial shutout around voting while there is a racial shutout around the Oscar nominations.”

Sharpton’s concerns had some truth. According to a Jan. 15 Salon article, around 90 percent of Academy Award voters are white and approximately 75 percent are male. This group should be more representative of the people that watch it. A man of Sharpton’s power, who has a close relationship with Barack Obama, should be focusing his outrage elsewhere; Nigeria.

Picture this: An attack on a town with casualties that nearly equal that of 9/11. According to Amnesty International, nearly 2000 people were killed in the Nigerian town of Baga. Boko Haram began the attacks on Jan. 3 in order to seize the town where a multi-national military base was laid in order to fight them. The attacks targeted civilians indiscriminately, a majority of the casualties being the elderly, children and women.

The American response? A Richmond Times-Dispatch column that merely says, “it needs to be stopped.” Several other media outlets provided the story.

People reposted it on their Facebook or Twitter account merely stating that it was sad, possibly heartbreaking.

Where’s the 2015 version of Invisible Children’s “Kony 2012,” that rallied up youth to go out and promote the campaign to raise awareness of Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (a militant group in Uganda), and the crimes he committed against children? Have we become too consumed by our homeland problems that there’s no way we could possibly care enough to sound our outrage for such a substantial international tragedy?

The young must be exhausted after defending the freedom of speech that was threatened in France following the attack on Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine that published illustrations of Muhammad and suffered 12 casualties from an Islamic terrorist attack.

If we stop sounding the alarms now, if people such as Sharpton are content with sounding his alarm on the entertainment industry instead, then we are as stagnant as the people we accuse of being the problem. If we continue to promote the eradication of black violence, but don’t give Nigeria our attention, then we are part of the problem.

There’s no protest. There’s no one on Broad Street urging American intervention the way that students stood there in August to protest Israel’s fight against Hamas, a terrorist organization that controls the Gaza Strip, because the collateral, whether Israeli warning of attacks were delivered or not, were approximately the same amount.

The silence of the conflict in Nigeria speaks a much higher volume than anything witnessed in America during 2014. Don’t let Nigeria take the back seat because the proximity is far further away than anything happening in our own nation.

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