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Michelle Obama’s ‘Nigerian Girls’ Speech and What it Misses

United States First Lady Michelle Obama

offered her thoughts, prayers and support in the wake of the unconscionable terrorist kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian girls. The audio of the address and video of the address will be available online at www.whitehouse.gov at 6:00 a.m. ET, Saturday, May 10, 2014. [White House Press Office]

Her argument against what the Islamist terrorists of Boko Haram did, and have been doing for years to their fellow Nigerians with sickening brutality, is summarized this way:

This unconscionable act was committed by a terrorist group determined to keep these girls from getting an education – grown men attempting to snuff out the aspirations of young girls… In these girls, Barack and I see our own daughters. We see their hopes, their dreams and we can only imagine the anguish their parents are feeling right now.”

From the official text of her speech, it’s hard not to notice that she uses the word “terrorist” three times in describing the Islamists of Boko Haram who have openly taken credit for the kidnappings.

But not once does she use the words Boko Haram or Islam or Islamist. 

There’s a flip-side to this. Although Michelle Obama herself (or her speech-writers, if one were to be coldly pedantic about this) calls them terrorists, the ever-delicate – and hugely influential – BBC does not use the word even once in its coverage of her speech. (Here and here are some background notes on the BBC’s obnoxious “use of terrorism” guidelines. And here is the policy itself.) Oddly, they have no problem inserting Boko Haram and Islamist into their report, though Mrs Obama’s speech does not mention either term. She does call them terrorists, but to the oh-so-doctrinaire BBC, they’re militants.

As for Mrs Obama’s perfectly justifiable outrage at grown men “determined to keep these girls from getting an education,” we wonder if she is aware of the other unconscionable atrocities for which this group has taken responsibility. Tragically, it’s not only about education or girls. A very partial list:

• Boko Haram terrorists bombed a Catholic church, filled with worshipers, in  January 2014, and killed 45 of them [source]. • Boko Haram terrorists carried out two roadside attacks on unsuspecting travelers in September 2013 and murdered no fewer than 159 of them, all fellow Nigerians ["22-Sep-13: A quiet weekend"] A week later they attacked the College of Agriculture in Yobe state and shot students as they slept, killing some forty of the young men. ["29-Sep-13: Sunday, bloody, bloody Sunday"]

• Boko Haram executed three human bomb attacks on Christian churches in the northern Nigerian state of Kaduna in June 2012. At least 50 people were killed, according to the Red Cross. 131 were injured. This was “the third weekend in a row in which Boko Haram has carried out bombings on churches” [BBC] The report points out that “Kaduna lies on the dividing line between Nigeria’s largely Christian south and mainly Muslim north… Since 2009, it has targeted police stations and other government buildings, churches and schools. Hundreds of people have died in the attacks, and analysts suggest the group is trying to trigger clashes between Christians and Muslims.”

• Boko Haram gunmen launched a terror attack on a Christian church in Gombe in January 2012, and managed to kill 6 and wound 10 of the Christian worshipers [source] (A UN agency has a detailed and much fuller timeline of Boko Haram atrocities and body counts here. It’s a truly ghastly tally.)

About the Author: Frimet and Arnold Roth began writing and speaking publicly soon after the murder of their fifteen year-old daughter Malki Z"L in the Jerusalem Sbarro massacre, August 9, 2001 (Chaf Av, 5761). They have both been, and are, frequently interviewed for radio, television and the print media, including CNN, BBC, New York Times, Washington Post, Al-Jazeera, and others. Their blog This Ongoing War deals with the under-appreciated price of living in a society afflicted by terrorism which, they contend, means the entire world. Frimet is a native of Queens, NY while her husband was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia. They brought their family to settle in Jerusalem in 1988. They co-founded the Malki Foundation in 2001 and are deeply involved in its work as volunteers. They can be reached at thisoingoingwar@gmail.com .


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45 Responses to “Michelle Obama’s ‘Nigerian Girls’ Speech and What it Misses”

  1. They are not muslims ..they are just for guns and money abandits

  2. Hager Ab says:

    Secularism is the worst enemy of Hindus

  3. David Green says:

    I spotted this earlier

  4. She for got to mention God…

  5. Faleen Fedol says:

    I wonder if it becomes easier to lie with a straight face after one does it numerous times…..

  6. Her message is clear…her heart is with Africa!

  7. But she was Jewish and Jewish blood is cheap!

  8. God bless the family & love ones.

  9. Why do they speak about mire than 200 girls (270) and not almost 300 ? Strainge !

  10. I have a possible albeit long shot way of” bringing back the girls” . Why not offer them money or negotiate something for the return of each girl? That’s just me!

  11. Tracy Ramsey says:

    And yet the single biggest threat to a Muslim is still another purported Muslim. Until they recognize that these fools have turned the name of Allah from a blessing to a curse all around the world, and the words of their prophet into nothing but the hate filled ravings of their own insanity and work hard to change those perceptions with real introspective reforms, Muslim blood will unfortunately still stain Muslim hands.

  12. if you keep this up I will have to unsubscribe. you are picking at nothing!

  13. SHUT UP YOU FAKE JUMP ON THE TRAIN NOW 3 WEEKS LATE ANY THING FOR T V TIME

  14. IT’S A WAR AGAINST CHRISTIANS

  15. Atul Shukla says:

    Isrel is doing very right thing,,,,other wise these islalmist nation could change,,,,or trying to change whole world in ,,,islamic countries
    LONG LIVE ISRAEL
    g

  16. Ass .. your girls why cause their your color ….shameful !…u never fight for anyone unless they look like you and your husband ?…what kind of message r u sending ?…I am Indian and my nieces and my sisters children are all dark …all children every where of ever nationality should be what we fight for …not just your children .

  17. This woman is dud I would hate to think that she was in my family.

  18. You need to focus on Benghazi first,by the way all this mess is caused by your husbands friend “Islam which he says is Holy”

  19. Andy Brown says:

    Some would ask would she get involved if the girls were white????

  20. You didn’t think she was going to mention who her Husband has been Backing, did you?

  21. She never gets the real point… true equality, not the selective kind.

  22. Protecting all the daughters is important where ever they are, Nigerian, the US military, on College Campuses. End rape and the sex trade.. Respect All Women Now.

  23. Alan Kardon says:

    Michele and Barack Hussein miss a lot of things. They only try to make points for political gains. Sorry to say, they are the problem, not the solution.

  24. Angela Horne Some what are against dating Muslims? Issue warnings against whom? Where?

  25. Focusing on one tragedy does not mean one does not empathize with other tragedies, such as the terrorist murder of the Roth’s daughter.

    On another note, for the tone may imply to some that Obama is not a friend to Israel, Obama has been a great friend to Israel. Ehud Barak has said a number of times, Obama has done more for Israel’s security than any other U.S. President, all of whom (except for W) were and are against continual settlement expansion as are a majority of Israelis.

    For U.S. Presidents, like many Israelis and many American Jews, Netanyahu is not liked. But Netanyahu is not Israel and Obama’s disdain for him has not harmed the U.S commitment to Israel, even though Netanyahu tries to frame it this way. As Barak notes, Obama has done more for Israel’s security than any other U.S. President. Let’s not forget how grateful Israel is for the bunker busting bombs W would not give them that Obama has given Israel, which enables Israel to strike Iran alone. Let’s not forget Iron Dome and the overwhelming expressions of love for Obama from Israelis during the missile barrage from Gaza not so long ago, or the vetoes in the UN, etc..

    Being against the expansion of settlements does not make one anti-Israel, nor does it mean that one, such as Michelle Obama, is not horrified by the Roth murder. Nor does this mean she is not worried about the warranted fears Israelis and Jews face from groups like Hamas and Hezbollah. There is a reason Obama has given more security aide to Israel than any U.S. President. The Obama’s understand.

  26. Angela Horne says:

    Cheryl Korchak some parents are against their daughters dating Muslims and issue warnings solely against thier daughters dating muslim boyfriends, I bet you and Mrs. Obama think that this is racist

  27. Hey!!! Thinking…god not bless persons like that.you know what? Obama need bring us to go over there, to fith man to man..living along lady’s in child’s…is cawers thinks

  28. David Bryan says:

    There is ONLY one way to deal with Hamas. That is death. A bounty on their heads. NOW.

  29. If you are and Israeli then no comment by the Obamas.

  30. Tell your Muslim Husband all about it Michelle !

  31. Little Joe says:

    ugly transvestite.

  32. It was heart felt but spin is spin with this administration..

  33. Beverley Kahn says:

    It must always be inunciated….THIS IS TERRORISM!!!!

  34. Ira Abramson says:

    O
    Steve, I certainly hope so.

  35. Steve Brown says:

    Yes, all of what the commenters say is true…yet we'll continue to vote Leftist clowns into office.

  36. Peter Resz says:

    Lets see your Sec of the State Department, Hillary Clinton, wouldn’t even call them a terrorist organization. So what are your telling us about her judgment?

  37. Peter Resz says:

    Lets see her Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wouldn’t call this evil organization a terrorist organization so what is Mrs First lady Obama telling us about Hillary Clinton?

  38. Next clown will be Hillary Clinton in 2016. She is more dangerous than any clown is.

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