Teaching Terror-Filled Things….

Just thinking….. I have always taken notice that in any armed conflict; children are guaranteed to suffer in the present and in the future. There is a type of peace that they never come to realize: First, the acquisition of a life-long painful memory; a sense that the world is an unreasonably unsafe place. Second, the loss of a childhood experience, the chance to do those necessary, and necessarily enjoyable childhood things. And third, the loss and/or the gaps in their formal education; which no matter how sincere the “restoration” effort, can never really be effectively “made-up”. In these types of situations (i.e. Ukraine, Syria, Iraqi, etc.) schools are most often the first public institutions to close down.
In Nigeria the conflict has taken on a completely different character, whereby schools, not an opposing army have become the primary military target. And now, more children in Nigeria have been kidnaped by “Islamic Extremist”. If the objective here is to terrorize, then I am sure the children and their families are presently in a type of “terror hell”. What are these children thinking, as the “parents of last resort”, the government, has failed to protect them, again and again. What happens to a child when their childhood is interrupted, and they are forced to constantly think about “adult worries”? Can they dream in peace about being soccer stars,teachers,nurses or engineers; or perhaps their dreams are also being held in captive terror? Do they no longer think about school work, how they look; who they like at school; and what other young person they think likes, or does not like them? How amazingly disconnected from humanity these kidnappers must be to snatch another human being out of, and away from their personal history and dreams; seeking to disconnect them from their humanity. Sounds a lot like what was done to the ancestors of the kidnappers; talk about owning, and becoming the pain and injustice that was inflicted on you! I am not a religious conversion expert; and I understand that my view is guided to a particular perception by an instinctual Christian lens. But as the families and communities of these children struggle against heartless kidnappers, an incompetent government; and the easily distracted short attention span of the public. I wonder what these self-proclaimed “religious” kidnapper’s long-term plan is. To simply call them “religious extremist” seems to me to be just a little too easy. These designations may help in defining common terms; and also to push back against any attempt for a latent religious bias to surface. But in fact this is a religious conversion process using “Stockholm Syndrome” techniques, and has some sense making to it, albeit twisted and sick. This is a well-thought out plan, not just to stop “western education”; but to replace it with a type of terror-full religious education. For we have seen in other parts of Africa the horrific outcomes that occur when children are kidnapped and terrorized; And in a tragic but logical way; this may be Boko Haram’s method of growing a new generation of psychopathological congregants; who like them, can act without mercy, remorse or concern for the suffering of another; “converts” who will now take the stage, and inflict similar horrors, without feeling on other children. Lord, help those children, and also help us.