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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Boko Haram: Rudyard Kipling Called. He Wants His Poem Back.

Bridget Johnson at PJ Media writes about spontaneous US Government excitement over the kidnapping of 234 girls in Nigeria by the jihadi outfit known as Boko Haram.  The jihadis are announcing - very publicly - they intend to sell the girls into slavery.  These Boko fellows have been operating for a few years in the usual manner of barbaric jihadis - slaughtering infidels, blowing things up, stealing what isn’t nailed down, etc.  The US government in the past has condemned these acts, also in the usual manner, but now, suddenly, there are calls for actual action.  The kind of action that may involve hard men, aircraft, and generous use of the sorts of equipment we Second Amendment nuts can only dream about getting to play with.  Apparently you can get away with mass murder if you’re a jihadi, but slave selling - at least overly public slave selling - is beyond the pale.

Fair enough.  Slavery is indeed beyond the pale.  Nonetheless questions arise.  First and foremost, where precisely is the pale?  How is it possible for Boko Haram to credibly threaten to sell its kidnap victims into slavery?  Let’s stipulate they can evade government capture, and they can move their victims around Nigeria and other parts of Africa as they choose.  Still, one cannot sell what no one else buys.  If we believe Boko Haram may sell their kidnap victims into slavery, it is logically necessary we also believe there are people who can and will buy them.  We must believe there is a market for slaves that operates in or near Nigeria.  Not necessarily perhaps an actual, physical marketplace with an address, but at least some network of people and organizations through which such sales could take place.  You can’t sell a teenage Nigerian Christian slave girl on eBay.  How do you sell one, exactly?  How does she get delivered?  More to the point:  what sort of environment exists that the victim cannot simply walk out the door and go home after she has been delivered to the person who bought her? 

The obvious answer of course is that slavery still exists in Africa in some areas.  In Nigeria it may be beyond the pale to sell slaves but "the pale", evidently, is still pretty damn close by to the place.  As a current  institution, a going concern, at least tolerated and likely enforced by the surrounding society.  Appalling.  Shocking.  For some reason, though, not really surprising.  As someone has already no doubt long since tweeted: "Forget it Jake, it's Africa."

I suppose we should go get those girls.  It's the civilized, Christian thing to do.  But let's not kid ourselves:   Slavery will continue to be a problem in the world, and generally speaking we will not consider it our problem to do much about.  My guess is modern slavery is almost exclusively tied to sharia and/or sex "work" and, other than occasionally getting exercised about uppity jihadis being too public about what they are about, Western politicians and "leaders" have little stomach for controlling the growth of either.  Only on the rare occasions when they cannot decently pretend not to notice something like this incident will Western "leaders" work themselves up into doing anything.  Maybe.  And then maybe it will be an isolated rescue attempt.  At best.  Ultimately they may not even do that much.  People in Washington, and American elites, after all talk much more than they do.  There is no hope we will bother to hunt down Boko Haram and kill as many of them as we can find, hanging their corpses in public pour encourager les autres.  Chinese Gordon is long gone and we’re not likely to see more men like him.  And we surely wouldn't promote them to the rank of Major General anymore.  The sun set on the British Empire.  We're not interested in replacing it.  There will always be brutal parts of the world, where people live brutally.  Maybe prudence dictates that, for the most part, we take Peachey Carnahan's advice about them:

“They’re savages here, one and all. Leave them all to go back to slaughtering babies and playing stick’n'ball with one another’s heads, and pissing on their neighbours”.


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