Boko Haram: The real sin is not “western education”; it is, no education


Ok, you lost me with the name of your organization: Boko Haram or “Western Education is Sinful” (and kidnapping innocent school girls is not?) Do these fellows (obviously lacking a sound history education themselves) realize that a great deal of what is characterized as “western education”, in fact, has in its roots in Asian, African, and particularly in science and mathematics, in Islamic historical scholarly work (hint: the word “Algebra”)? One is really forced to wonder about any movement that has as its primary “mission statement” the hindering and ending of learning. What are they so afraid that these young ladies and other young people in Nigeria might gain from being exposed to education, so-called western or otherwise? I remember many years ago my first reading of Ray Bradbury’s: Fahrenheit 451. As a lover of books and reading I was scared out of my seat (I guess the authors intent) by my reading of a fictional society that prohibited the reading of books as harmful to the “common good”. And to this day I have an “instinctual” resistance to any type of book banning; and that would included books that I find personally offensive. If education, learning, knowledge and thinking is the antidote then what is the disease? The disease is: “that you believe what I say and exactly as I say it” Boko Haram greatest fear is not other religions, Nigeria’s economic system, TV, social media or the “great satan”. Boko Haram greatest fear is the power of thinking- analytical, inquisitive and creative, on the part of Nigerian children. And in a strange and twisted way; their actions, more than “western education”, will distort and discourage a genuine interest in their religion. Christianity has been at its worst when it tried to oppose and suppress science and knowledge (I still cringe when I see exhibits from that “Christian natural museum”, of humans and dinosaurs running together). And in our own U.S. history, the slave owners thought it wise to discourage through legislation and violence, the simple act of a slave learning to read. Reading assisted in escape and rebellion planning; it prevented “free-persons” from having a secret written code. But the slave-owners greatest fear; and here they share the theory stage with Boko Haram; is the awareness that reading and learning changes a person, perhaps forever; and renders them unsuitable for slavery, oppression, domination and exploitation. The power of reading and learning suggest to the reader and learner that more than anything else they are full human beings. It is no wonder then, that Boko Haram is now threatening to “sell the girls”; as they have been removed from their status as students, as humans. I only wonder if Boko Haram is not completely crazy; for some how they knew that if they kidnapped 200+ Nigerian girls, the world would not use every effort and resource available to track down every one of the kidnappers; and execute an immediate death sentence; as a western educational lesson as to why they should never think about doing something like this again.