RENEE GARFINKEL: Do black lives matter – even in Africa? – Washington Times

7 months ago Comments Off on RENEE GARFINKEL: Do black lives matter – even in Africa? – Washington Times

There’s been a lot of criticism of “The Obama Doctrine.” His facts were challenged, as were his principles. The most frequent and severe criticism was reserved for President Obama’s harsh judgments of U.S. allies.

But I’m not arguing with what The Obama Doctrine said. I’m critical of what it left out.

Something big was glaringly absent from Mr. Obama’s doctrine: The entire continent of Africa.  That great, rich and complex part of the world was hardly mentioned at all, except as a tag line, “… the Middle East and North Africa.”

Perhaps I should not be appalled, or even surprised by the president’s neglect of Africa.  After all, the press largely ignores Africa, too, despite the vital importance of events that are unfolding there.  

Take the #BringBackOurGirls campaign that was a sensation for a social media minute some time ago. Nearly 3 years have passed since 200 Nigerian schoolgirls were kidnapped by Boko Haram and their fates are still, to a great extent, unknown.  A few girls escaped.  The rest have probably been “married” to their captors, or trafficked.  Some may have been forced to become terrorists themselves.  In February and March of this year, female suicide bombers attacked Northeast Nigeria, where Boko Haram continues its 7-year insurgency.  Were those murderers once kidnapped girls?

We don’t know.  And black lives matter.

Terrorist war rages in many parts of Africa. The continent is suffering a multi-front attack by militant Islamists: al Qaeda in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso; Boko Haram in Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad; and the Shabab in Somalia and Kenya. In fact, six of the world’s 10 deadliest terrorist attacks of 2015 took place in Africa:

Date: Jan. 3; 
Death Toll: Reports range from 150-2,000; 
Perpetrator: Boko Haram
; Location: Baga, Nigeria

Date: April 2;
 Death Toll: At least 147
; Perpetrator: Al-Shabab
; Location: Kenya

Date: Feb. 4–5; 
Death Toll: At least 91; 
Perpetrator: Boko Haram
; Location: Cameroon

Date: June 30-July 1; 
Death Toll: At least 145;
 Perpetrator: Boko Haram
; Location: Nigeria

Date: Sept. 20; 
Death Toll: At least 80; 
Perpetrator: (probably) Boko Haram
; Location: Nigeria

Date: Oct. 31; 
Death Toll: 224;
 Perpetrator: Islamic State; 
Location: Egypt

Earlier this month, U.S. aircraft struck a training camp in Somalia, killing 150 Al Shabbab terrorists who were planning an attack on American and African troops in East Africa. The terrorists hoped it would be a high impact action along the lines of the terrible, bloody attack on civilians at a shopping mall in Nairobi back in 2013.

But perhaps Africa’s greatest agony is the ongoing catastrophe of South Sudan.  Having won independence from Sudan just a few years ago, South Sudan soon devolved into tribal civil war. This can’t be blamed on the legacy of colonialism; it is government weakness and corruption, among other factors that are responsible. Civilians, particularly women and children, suffer most. The U.N. human rights office just issued a report documenting extraordinary cruelty, even for wartime.

In the words of U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein: “The scale and types of sexual violence – primarily by Government SPLA forces and affiliated militia – are described in searing, devastating detail, as is the almost casual, yet calculated, attitude of those slaughtering civilians and destroying property and livelihoods. However, the quantity of rapes and gang rapes described in the report must only be a snapshot of the real total. This is one of the most horrendous human rights situations in the world, with massive use of rape as an instrument of terror and weapon of war — yet it has been more or less off the international radar.”

Africa matters. Black lives matter.  

Of course it’s a big world, and Americans can’t solve every problem. 

Nevertheless, our press and our president – indeed, also our politics – must view the world through a lens large enough to see it all, Africa included. Only by doing that can we understand that the world is global, with interconnections that impact all of us, everywhere.

RENEE GARFINKEL: Do black lives matter – even in Africa? – Washington Times