Pale Blue Dot – Reflections on Boko Haram

Reporting from Nigeria: Emeka Nweze

The term Boko Haram is Hausa and loosely translates to “western education is sacrilege”. Right off the bat, the problem of consistency rears its head. That the founder of the group, a Mohammed Yusuf, held a graduate degree and drove a car is easy enough to refute or substantiate. Then there is the use of guns. Guns, by a long way, are a western invention (the Chinese were more interested in fireworks at the time). The group has taken responsibility for several bombings.

The problem of consistency might, at first glance, seem like a mild point to bring up. It is not. If the goal of this Maiduguri based group is in fact checking western influence and restoring a specific system of rule (sharia law), then the point is not mild at all. Indeed, alarm bells in the form of Chinese fireworks should be ringing at this point. It would be the equivalent of Gandhi polishing the muzzle of his Kalashnikov model of 1947 while extolling the importance of reconciling differences in the least violent manner.

Neither India’s greatest spiritual leader, nor Jesus, Buddha or any person acting with a clear, distinct idea of God in his heart could ever consider killing two civilians in cold blood. Below is a link to a video of British Prime Minister David Cameron confirming the deaths of British citizen Chris McManus and Italian citizen Franco Lamolinara. Unfortunately, these two innocent foreigners are but an addition to a rapidly rising pile of innocent lives lost to persons convinced that the only way to ensure their demands are met is through wanton violence.

Click here for video:  British and Italian hostages killed as Nigeria rescue bid fails, says Cameron

The bombing of the United Nations building in Abuja was but a few months ago. It might seem ghastly to witness in the comfort of your living room or office on a television set. Being there is a completely different story altogether. My former office was only a few miles from the police headquarters in Abuja. The earth trembled beneath our feet when that building was bombed. The last straw was when my office received bomb threats in the form of email messages and phone calls.

The coverage on this particular sect has been extensive so I will complete this entry with two observations made by individuals older and wiser. The first is by the late astronomer Carl Sagan. With his trademark phlegmatic logic, he argues that national boundaries are not evident when we view the earth from space. Fanatical ethnic or national identifications are a little difficult to support when we consider our earth as a fragile blue crescent fading to become an inconspicuous point of light against the bastion and citadel of the stars.

Lastly, since wisdom is all that distinguishes us from our killer ape origins, we must remember that certain atrocities are forever confined to our history books due to the free flow of understanding and, consequently, enlightenment. Considered in this light, evil is simply the interval between ignorance and enlightenment. And yet, considering the amount of wanton violence and contingent pain being wrought, the wait does seem dreadfully long.

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