A week ago, David Cameron, the Prime Minister of the UK appeared on the BBC Politics “The Andrew Marr” show. While on air, he joined millions of other people in throwing support behind the #BringBackOurGirls campaign which has exploded online.
When asked about Nigeria, he remarked how what is happening in Nigeria isn’t exclusive to there and is in fact happening in many countries, even the UK. Whilst, he was referencing an extremist attitude that attacks women and girls, and not specifically trafficking, his point is still valid. This case of trafficking in Nigeria, is not isolated. It is common in hundreds of countries. It is probably happening where you are tonight.
In my last blog post I mentioned how there are many people in the media and in everyday conversations who have criticized the campaign because, to paraphrase, a hash tag isn’t going to do anything to change the situation. I don’t think that is true but there is something important in what people like that have said which I think is worth exploring.
Often when something comes along like #BringBackOurGirls there are usually several reactions. There are those who see the passion that people can have over injustice in the world, even if it’s not in their neighborhood or country. They are inspired and they take action. They follow. As little as a tweet might seem, it is something that shows when we have a voice we can use it for good.
There are others who just want to criticize and who aren’t interested in even opening up to the good that may come. We don’t need to leave these people behind because they are leaving themselves behind.
Then there are the group of people who are experts. People who work in the field everyday. People who spend their lives devoted to facing up to injustices, educating through awareness and inspiring many people.
There are of course those in the last group who may cross over into the group who criticize campaigns such as #BringBackOurGirls or #Kony2012.
But the best in the group of experts will be those who don’t care how this awareness started, they are just happy that it has. They will see that pride just gets in the way of change. They understand that to engage with people you have to be open not closed. Perhaps they have even been responsible in some way for this awareness. They understand that not everyone needs to have an intricate and full grasp of the complicated soci-political issues behind slavery or sex exploitation, to care.
Then there is another group who take it further. The group that understands those complicated issues and that there are issues behind the main issue. Corrupt Governments and police, greed, poverty. To name just three of thousands. This group know that one campaign won’t change the filtering down of corruption and poverty that needs to be addressed but appreciate that it’s important and a beginning.
They know it will take time but they aren’t going to cut off their nose to spite their face.
These people will change the world.
These people inspire us.
Which is why David Cameron’s comments were extremely important. What is happening in Nigeria is part of something bigger. Trafficking that is stealing the lives of millions of people all over the world. It is both a local and International issue, meaning what is local for me, is international for you. What is international for me is local for you. It is not simply something that is happening in Nigeria. It is happening in Belfast, Northern Ireland, it is happening in the Philippines, it is happening in California. Right now.
So those who criticize #BringBackOurGirls and other campaigns have a point. There is more that needs to be done. We need to educate ourselves, we need to listen. They also miss the point too. That change often starts small and despite our increase in access to information online, not everyone knows what is going on.
But sometimes knowing enough is good enough to get going.
So let’s jump on board with what is happening and then use that as a springboard into doing more.
Below are a list of some people, groups and resources that can help us all learn more. It’s not extensive but it is made up of people I know and groups I know who will inspire and help you change the world.
Is that a pipe dream?
Surely, we can’t really change the world?
Not with that attitude.