For the last five years the population of northern Nigeria has been living in a state of terror. From its first call to jihad in 2009, Boko Haram has been carrying out the most horrible atrocities. The group simply massacres all those who don’t fit into its version of Islam and Sharia law – villagers, school students...Since the beginning of this year alone, Amnesty International estimated that their crimes have accounted for 1500 victims, to which should be added the 300 burned alive and machine gunned in the village of Gamboru Ngala.and probably the further 118 or more blown up by the bombings of a market place and a hospital in Jos on 20 May.
This group and its barbaric ideology is without doubt a caricature of capitalist decomposition, with its flight into irrationality and nihilism. In particular they are opposed to anything that is supposed to be linked to ‘modern’ or ‘western’ culture and education: their name literally means ‘Western education is forbidden’.
The attention of the world media has been especially focused their kidnapping of 276 high school girls from their dormitories in Chibok. A large number of the girls were later paraded in front of the cameras as ‘converts’ to Islam, but not before the Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekauhad been filmed ranting about how the girls would be sold as slaves in the market place.
From the legitimate indignation of proletarians....
Such a barbaric act has provoked a huge amount of indignation, as could be seen on the social media in many countries. The slogan ‘Bring back our girls’ appeared on 23 April and was spread on the internet by the millions. This was a healthy reaction, a refusal to remain indifferent to all the atrocities being committed every day, all over the world. The exploited class is in general more affected by the fate of other human beings who they may not know but with whom they feel connected. This instinctive feeling of belonging to one and the same humanity is a key element in the class struggles of the future
...to the cynicism of the bourgeoisie
However, the bourgeoisie, through its political mouthpieces, has rapidly leapt on this bandwagon and used it to make a big display of its emotion and ‘solidarity’. Thus we have for example Michelle Obama posing in front of the ‘Bring back our girls’ slogan, suitably hand-made for authenticity. This image went round the world as a symbol of the concern of the big powers for the threatened schoolchildren. What cynicism! What hypocrisy! It’s true that Boko Haram is a bunch of fanatical killers. But the big bourgeoisie is no less murderous. It runs a system of inhuman exploitation and will stop at nothing in the defence of its interests. It carries out massacres on a vast scale, and with cold calculation: two world wars, Korea and Vietnam, the Gulf war 0f 91, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq in the 2000s...there is no end to the list of imperialist slaughters. Meanwhile, while the media made all the noise, it was the parents of the schoolchildren themselves who got together to pay the cost of the petrol needed to search for the missing girls.
This whole media circus has one aim, to restore the image of the leaders of the big democratic countries. A few nice photos, a few fine words, a few clicks on the social media and a few crocodile tears in front of the cameras – what better way for these butchers to make us forget their own blood-soaked crusades?
This is how the bourgeoisie uses the barbarism of its own system to regenerate its democratic ideology, and to justify a new round of interventions in the region. The war launched by Boko Haram is mainly limited to the north of the country and is not yet having a big impact on the Nigerian economy – the main wealth of the country, its oil, its big cities, its centres of production are located in the south. But even if the campaigns of the big western powers are not linked to an immediate economic motive, they still have very important geo-strategic interests in the region and this is a new opportunity to gain a military foothold at each other’s expense. Thus on 6 May, the US announced that it was sending in its ‘technical experts’ to assist; the day after France followed suit by announcing that it would be dispatching a ‘specialised team’; soon after that Britain sent in its ‘special advisers’, and the Israelis have also got in on the act.
None of these powers care a jot about the schoolgirls. Experience has shown us what the humanitarian intentions of the bourgeoisie amount to: they are an alibi to advance their pawns in the merciless imperialist competition that they are all involved in.