The news has been burning up with the recent release of the video showing African militants Boko Haram claiming responsibility for the kidnap of over 200 girls a few weeks ago.More news has emerged about this group, as well as the even sadder fact that kidnapping has occurred in the past but only now has it garnered such attention because of the size of the group of girls kidnapped at once. It is this latter part of the news that makes me saddest and angriest: this is not new or novel, this happens often and not only in Africa.
Women and children have long been used as targets of war, and I don't mean only full out military wars but also cultural wars with varying levels of actual fighting involved. While making up the larger proportion of our world population that is the poorest, women and children are used simultaneously as targets, currency and disposables.
And so heading into this weekend where we celebrate motherhood, with its joys and challenges, I urge you to not only honor your mothers and those who have served that role in your life, and to inhale the heady sweetness of a day when perhaps you will be honored by those you love, but to also lend thought to mothers in situations most likely more dire than yours.
The refugee mothers
The mothers of those kidnapped girls, in Africa and around the world.
Mothers working against old cultural norms and helping to raise young women like Malala Yousafzai, who champion women's rights while risking their lives.
Mothers who know from the day their daughter is born that she will likely become a child bride one day, perpetuating an ongoing cycle of under-education, poverty and bias towards the female gender.
Women becoming mothers in countries where the risk of dying in childbirth can be as high as 1 in 18.
Let us honor mothers everywhere in some way, through thoughts, prayers, donations to local and world organizations, learning/educating ourselves, and yes, by speaking out.