Despite the good intentions, the #BringBackOurGirls campaign has produced a number of stupid ideas and gross misinterpretations.
There is singer Chris Brown and the BBC using completely unrelated photos of girls from Guinea-Bissau—some 1,000 miles away from where Boko Haram kidnapped 270 Nigerian girls one month ago—without even asking the photographer for permission.
But it is probably Sen. John McCain who added the least helpful contribution to the debate about how to reunite the girls from Chibok with their families.
“If they knew where they were, I certainly would send in U.S. troops to rescue them, in a New York minute I would, without permission of the host country,” McCain told The Daily Beast. “I wouldn’t be waiting for some kind of permission from some guy named Goodluck Jonathan.”
McCain is, of course, condescendingly referring to Nigeria’s democratically elected president. The good news is that the White House isn’t following the senator’s advice. “At this point, we’re not actively considering the deployment of U.S. forces to participate in a combined rescue mission,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said on May 14.
But McCain is not the only one to use the tragedy of the Chibok abductions to make a political point. There is an argument to be made that the #BringBackOurGirls campaign is directed more at U.S. politicians instead of those who actually have a stake in the matter—like the Nigerian government, Nigerians in general and, of course, Boko Haram.
McCain’s demands stand out as being especially foolish and could have negative consequences for both the abducted girls and the situation in Nigeria.