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My Letter to Boko Haram

Bernard Kwofie
Sunday 20 July 2014

Boko Haram,


I do not know what gave birth to you, but as far as I know of life, you are individuals born and bred of a woman. I know you all have that motherhood spot deep within you. One thing I also know for sure is that you all have a heart for women!

In any case, there is a saying among my people that, even the ‘deadliest terrorist and man on earth was born of a woman’. In a similar instance, these same people to whom I owe allegiance, often say that even the most powerful men kneel before women - at the least at the ‘prick of dawn when their ‘libido’ takes a high turn’. To them these are not only to teach a growing generation the relevance and the importance of women and motherhood, but to also teach us to value the existence of women and for that matter, girls, even when we are grown.

It is in these lessons that I have often thought of men who abuse, torture and terrify girls as the mostly beastly of all creatures. Were it left to me, such men deserve to be kicked in like manner and even harder should time and chance allow. For me, not even in the extreme need of defence should women and girls be the point of attack, or avenue of exploitation and sabotage; just as it has happened in your case.

In 2012 when Taliban gunmen in Pakistan shot and seriously
wounded 14-year-old Malala, we all thought they had done the worst, but yours has surpassed it all! Particularly in a period so close to celebrating motherhood, and on a continent such as Africa, where holding women in high esteem is an expected upbringing. Clearly, you do not need this to be another reason for mothers to regret giving birth particularly to boys as they will only grow up and come back to torment their very same womb.

We are all witnesses to your atrocities, Boko Haram! The evidence of your destructive forces is there and clear for us all to see! We all know the many evil pursuits you have taken ownership! You do not need these girls to prove anything!

Perhaps just as the women here in my home will say you do nothing by fighting girls. Perhaps they are saying the best match for a man is to take on another of ‘equal size and strength’. Not some innocent girls who have not even lived to cast their first ballot much more to be held for any political indecision.

I did not want join in this campaign to bring back our girls, because a lot is being done by even the most influential, powerful, and famous personalities. But I thought of what to give my mother today and two things came to mind, to take her to church and to write to you, ‘thou Boko Haram’. Now it’s your turn. Today forget everyone. Forget the world. Forget Goodluck Jonathan and his semantics and precedence over deep rooted corruption. Forget Nigeria and its troubles. Forget America and its quest for supremacy. Forget China and its interest in Africa. But remember our mothers and bring back our girls. You know we need them; not only to take over from our mothers but to keeps us for good.

Just as you may all know, today, as we all celebrate motherhood we all bonded to give something valuable as a mark of remembrance and appreciation of their pain and labour. I have given mine, it’s time for yours. I know it’s hard for a man to ‘take back his words’. But just as my father will say ‘it’s only a man that drinks bitter medicine’. I know bringing back our girls on your own accord may make you appear weak, feeble and ‘unmanly’. It may even lead to your mockery.

But to what is that really? Mere words expressed to exploit your anxiety?

Left to me you will take consolation from Isaiah 54:7 and I quote "For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. Forgive me if I am sounding biblical. It’s a Sunday her in Ghana. And Even as I finish this write up I am sitting right in the centre of a joyous congregation at the Wesley Methodist in an obscure community in the Wassa District of Ghana’s Western region. Know that some hot praises are going on. Yet I am writing. Not because I hate the service but that duty know no bounds.

Even as you pursue your mischief, remember our mothers and bring back our girls. Remember their pains, their cry, and their labour. Remember those who lost their marriages and pride because they were delaying in giving birth to a girl child. Remember our mothers who had their marriages shattered simply because they had difficulty in giving birth to a girl child. Remember our mothers who travelled the far and went that extreme to bore that child you have abducted. Remember our mothers who stand accused and intimidation from their in-laws. Today they have a girl-child to vindicate them, but you have taken them.
Remember, if there are people to suffer for the troubles you bear then know it is not these innocent girls you are terrifying. It is those men whom left with the obvious will terminate your very birth.

I have joined the campaign, Boko Haram. Remember our Mothers and #Bring Back Our Girls!

Yours troubled,


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