Monday, 23 May 2016

What the Papers Say - Part 1

An interesting review of the papers with Deputy Louise Doublet and presenter Ashlea Tracy on BBC Radio Jersey yesterday morning. Here are a few notes on what was said, supplemented by some background research of my own.


We began by talking about the EgyptAir tragedy, and how the sad death of geologist Richard Osman from Jersey showed how these events impact on all of us, and global events can now reach into the heart of our own community. No one is immune. But the nature of the catastrophe means that it is harder for those grieving, like Mr Osman’s family, as there appear to be no identifiable remains to bury.

"This is what is ripping our hearts apart, when we think about it. When someone you love so much dies, at least you have a body to bury. But we have no body until now," said Sherif al-Metanawi, a childhood friend of the pilot, Mohammed Shoukair.

How do we honour the dead when bodies are scattered in hundreds of pieces throughout a crash site? How do their grieving loved ones find closure without a body to bury or cremate?

Some answers may come from families of victims of past aviation disasters. Some of those families formed a national group, the National Air Disaster Alliance, an advocacy group of survivors and relatives of victims of several plane crashes.

Would it lead to people travelling less? My son is travelling to Athens in June, and I have to say that while Athens is not Egypt, I have a degree of disquiet with regard to travel into the Mediterranean regions. But as Deputy Doublet pointed out, if it leads to us changing our behaviour because of fear, the terrorists - if it was a terrorist attack – would win.

It is, I suppose the “Bulldog spirit” which led to people carrying on their normal lives in anything but normal circumstances during the Blitz.

Boko Haram

A Chibok schoolgirl and her baby in Maiduguri, Nigeria have been rescued from Boko Haram. She was kidnapped by Boko Haram from her school in Chibok more than two years ago. She says all but six of the Chibok girls are alive and being held in the Sambisa Forest.

Apparently, she wants to be reunited with her husband, as it appears that she, and at least half the schoolgirls taken were married off. She is the second rescued. In February, greed by soldiers, Zara, 16, also said she would rather be with the Boko Haram fighter who abducted and impregnated her.

Nigerian journalist Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani says Stockholm syndrome goes part of the way to explaining Zara John's continuing allegiance to her abductor. She says the low status of women in north-eastern Nigeria is another compelling reason Boko Haram captives might be reluctant to leave extremist groups.

"She would be serving a man anyway," Nwaubani says. "She found herself in this new life, being valued by one man, being told how they were changing the world and fighting a war, and how they were going to start a new life."

The Stockholm syndrome emanated after the hostage situation in Stockholm, Sweden some time ago. Stockholm syndrome, or capture-bonding, is a psychological phenomenon described in 1973 in which hostages express empathy and sympathy and have positive feelings toward their captors, sometimes to the point of defending and identifying with the captors.

Should these schoolgirls, evidently wanting their captors, be left in what, for them, seems like happiness? I believe that like individuals who have abducted woman, what matters is the action, and not the outcome. If they are not brought to justice, it sends out a message that they can act with impunity, as long as their captors can be brainwashed into supporting them.

As Amnesty International has reported, it is not just that Boko Haram want to be left in peace. Peace is very far from their minds. Another escapee from an earlier case of capture speaks about how they were trained to fight.

Aisha, aged 19, who escaped, spoke to Amnesty International about how she was abducted from a friend’s wedding in September 2014 along with her sister, the bride and the bride’s sister. Boko Haram took them to a camp in Gullak, Adamawa state, home to approximately 100 abducted girls. One week later, Boko Haram forced the bride and the bride’s sister to marry their fighters. They also taught Aisha and the other women and girls how to fight.

“They used to train girls how to shoot guns. I was among the girls trained to shoot. I was also trained how to use bombs and how to attack a village,” Aisha told Amnesty International. “This training went on for three weeks after we arrived. Then they started sending some of us to operations. I went on one operation to my own village.”

Amnesty calls upon Nigeria and International authorities to take action:

“The abducted must be rescued, war crimes and crimes against humanity must be investigated. Bodies must be disinterred from mass graves, further killings must be prevented and those guilty of inflicting this unspeakable suffering must be brought to justice.”

More reviews tomorrow.

No comments: