Thursday, May 29, 2014


... is learned.

Boko Haram's kidnappers weren't born thinking it's acceptable to take little girls captive. They learned that.

The strangely wrong thinking we see evidenced here is developed over time, and it is many steps removed from basic thought about right and wrong.

Where does someone get the idea that kidnapping and forced marriage are acceptable?  Or murder?  Boko Haram has killed about 3,900 since 2009.

Deborah Peter was 12 years old when gunmen from Boko 
Haram shot and killed her father, a Christian pastor, and 
her 14-year- old brother Caleb, and then forced her to lie 
with their bodies.

The attack was in 2011, well before Boko Haram's
 abduction of more than 250 schoolgirls in April that finally 
drew international attention and condemnation.

Boko Haram survivor Deborah Peter has testified before the US Congress telling legislators how the terrorist group murdered her father and brother in a gruesome attack in 2011. Ms Peter, told US congressmen and women how on the evening of December 22, 2011, she saw her father, a Christian pastor, shot three times in the chest by three members of Boko Haram. She added that while her father lay on the floor, the men debated whether or not they should kill her brother Caleb and as her father breathed his last, they killed Caleb too.

Deborah tells how the Boko Haram men then made her lie between the corpses where she stayed until the next morning. She was just 12 years old.

The next day, a local pastor paid for her to get out of the region and that same pastor was killed in 2013 by Boko Haram. Ms Peter added: “I decided to tell the world my story when the Chibok girls were taken because everyone needs to know how horrible Boko Haram is. They kill innocent people who never hurt them so I want the world to understand what happened to me.

For a momentary contrast, all the good people you'll meet probably have a lot in common. They're gracious, encouraging, and willing to share their lives and time, and they're probably tolerant enough to make a place for you.  They learned that from mom and dad and perhaps from the community and the church.  It sounds nice and easy, but it's a battle for sanity.

Adults understand.  We see the moral and ethical battles in government and community.  We see lives misshapen by wealth/ religion/ celebrity/ fake-reality/ injustice.  And we fight to retain our own sanity with varying degrees of success.

How we think and act is learned, shaped over time; some good, some spectacular, some deadly stuff. Some we choose, some is imposed on us.  We could almost agree with the evangelicals who insist that everyone's first need is to get right with God and shake off the wrong-thinking of the world.

Which brings us back to radical violence.  You can't help but wonder if Boko Haram's members couldn't have been kept from such insanity if their family and community beginnings had been different .... what would it take?

Update:  5 JUN from CNN,

Boko Haram translates as "Western education is a sin" in the Hausa language. The group says its aim is to impose Sharia law in Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation, which is split between a majority Muslim north and a mostly Christian south.

NOTE:  The Muslim fundamentalists who so fervently criticize western culture are wrong on every point, of course. True?  No.  Their criticisms are warranted and acknowledged; that's actually part of the problem, and that's another story entirely.