The return of Nigeria’s kidnapped girls

Joe Parkinson and Drew Hinshaw at the WSJ follow up on what was a super dramatic story that turned into a neglected and under-reported tale.  What is life like for the Boko Harum kidnap victims after their liberation?

The women had acclimated to the forest camps where Boko Haram insurgents threatened them at gunpoint to either convert to Islam and marry a fighter or be a slave.

About half chose slavery, which cost them access to food and shelter.

Here is another bit:

Psychologists who specialize in kidnap victims say they are unsure about the best way to simultaneously treat and educate such a large group of women—ages 18 to 27—after years of collective captivity and abuse.

The spelling bee contests, one healing piece of the curriculum, arrived as something of a surprise. It was the Chibok girls who came up with the idea.


One night, plopped on couches, they watched “Akeelah and the Bee,” a movie about an 11-year-old African-American girl in Los Angeles who finds her confidence after her father’s death by winning the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

The students watched the movie again and again over bowls of popcorn. They went to their teachers with a demand: They wanted to hold their own spelling bees. The teachers agreed.

The young women began memorizing vocabulary lists and testing each others’ lexicographic skills. Their wordplay escalated into late-night spelling battles. “It was unbelievably competitive,” Mr. Braggs said.

Spelling employs a skill many of the women honed while captive: mnemonic memory. Some spent much of their time memorizing lengthy prayers and hymns. Others composed diary entries in their heads—their thoughts, injustices they suffered—they would later log in journals they kept hidden. In secret, they retold the story of Job, the biblical figure who was punished in a test of his faith.

By the way, 112 girls remain missing and 13 are presumed dead.


" Boko Haram insurgents"

They're barbaric savages.


Why call primitve savage theists 'insurgents' if not to support them?

What would you call them, freedom fighters?

I call people that engage in the mass kidnapping of adolescent females to prevent them from having an education and trying to force them to convert to another religion "primitive savages" if you call them freedom fighters then you're my enemy.

I’m sure it was tough being held captive and all but is it that much harder than what the cast goes through during an episode of filming Vanderpump Rules?

Dude, if you are going to impersonate me, I would appreciate it if you were either funny or cruel. I don't much mind which. But being asinine and fatuous is no way to go through life.

Seems like odd advice, I thought asinine and fatuous was what you are all about.

They're not barbaric savages. They're fighting against the real barbaric savagery - Cultural Marxism from the West and indigenous African folkways.

What? Absurd. Nigerians are fighting Nigerians, I don't see any foreigners in this fight. Recall the 33% rule from expat sociologists: one-third of the population is hostile to the West (mostly older people), one-third is pro-West, and one-third is indifferent. Hence the 'civil war' of ideas.

They can be two things

I found it curious/distasteful that the return, years later, of LESS THAN HALF of the remaining kidnap victims was touted as the "Return of the Chibok girls".

Yeah, well, giving Iran a green light to get The Bomb was applauded as "De-nuclearization."

The media really wasn't striving for accuracy from 2008-2016. For some reason.

I'm sure the decision for one tribe to take girls from another village hinged upon whether or not a country 1,000 miles away was or was not making progress towards making a nuclear bomb.


Not sure what a Sunni extremist/African liberation insurgency has to do with a Shia theocracy.

Unless this is a longer version of “thanks Obama!”

I believe this is actually a "thanks, Obama fans!"

"I’m sure the decision for one tribe to take girls from another village" ...

Your powers of redescription are noteworthy. Why don't you add "for a holiday" or something else vacuous?

polls of teens are unreliable for many reasons, one being that teens are now mainly influenced by Jordan Peterson, XXXTentacion, and Fortnite. there is no telling how they'll ultimately turn out

No harm no foul?

They will be successful in medical school (not trying to be funny).

Sadly, oh so true.

See? Michelle Obama's sad-face hashtag photo SAVED THOSE GIRLS!

In some ways, that hashtag campaign is a reflection of modern virtues. The need to feel great about doing nothing.

Her husband was the most powerful person in the world. Instead of bringing the full might of US influence and strength to bear - quietly and without posturing - ithose slavers were hit with a hashtag.

Ah, Islam, the religion most concerned with the taking of booty and slaves!

No other religion gives so much of its core texts over to the creation of war-bands, waging war, taking booty, exacting taxes, "marrying" slaves, and dividing spoils. Why, it almost reads as if it were put together as the personal manifesto of some illiterate Arabian warlord...

And they think that coerced manual labour is the way to societal wealth and power! Ha! Suckers!

And they think that coerced manual labour is the way to societal wealth and power!

It worked for us.

Just kidding. This is definitely the best comment in the thread.
Side question: is the u in labour a typo or are you British?

Yes, I'm British.

Convert or be a slave.

Things haven't changed much in slavery in Africa

This is the telling of a story from the early 19th century, published in 1909.

White Slaves in Africa. A Sailor's Story
Author(s): Thomas Wentworth Higginson
Source: The North American Review, Vol. 190, No. 644 (Jul., 1909), pp. 46-56
Published by: University of Northern Iowa
Stable URL:

"A few months afterwards my three surviving fellow prisoners, be coming exhausted under incessant beating, insult & privation, declared their intention of escaping them by becoming Mahometans--which unhappy determination they put into effect -- were consequently circumcised and placed on the same footing as the people of the country.

After this my life became doubly wretched; my master, being desirous that I should follow the example of the others in the change of religion, endeavoured to prevail upon me so to do by continued persuasion & the most abusive and insupportable treatment. So severe was it that my nature must have sunk under it, had not at the end of one or two months a person appeared empowered by the consuls of the United States & of Great Britain at Mogadore to purchase such Christians as might be found in that district."

Sadly, those who had converted were not able to escape through this purchase effort.

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