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Mon May 4, 2015, 07:09 AM

What we talk about when we talk about Boko Haram.

A lot is written and discussed about Boko Haram taking girls hostages and that is right to be outraged about.

What is given less ink is the epidemic of boy soldiers and boys and men being killed.

This OP is for the undisclosed victims.


Generations of young Nigerians in the northeast of their country are being shaped by the terrors of the war.
LAGOS — “I was asked to kill my parents on the day I was captured,” said 16-year-old Babagana, a former Boko Haram child slave. "I had no courage, so they killed them in front of me.”

This may be the most tragic fact about the fight raging in northeast Nigeria: It is a war waged by children against children. Minors make up nearly a quarter of Boko Haram’s soldiers. Some recruits are as young as 10 and are inducted by raids on villages. They are brutalized and forced to commit atrocities on fellow kidnap victims and even on their own families. Militants kill children who attempt to escape from captivity.

Recently village militias have been enlisting young kids to fight against Boko Haram, as well. And the plague is spreading.

This week, the Nigerian army rescued almost 300 girls and women taken captive by Boko Haram, and even though they were not the Chibok schoolgirls who were kidnapped more than a year ago now, there was a great sense of pride and relief that the Nigerian Army was able to do this.

But many stories have not had such happy endings.

Last month the Chadian Army announced that it had rescued 43 children held by Boko Haram in Damask, Borno State. All had been soldiers in the Boko Haram ranks, but they were not from Nigeria.

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Reply What we talk about when we talk about Boko Haram. (Original post)
Bonobo May 2015 OP
Major Nikon May 2015 #1
kjones May 2015 #2
Bonobo May 2015 #3
Major Nikon May 2015 #5
kjones May 2015 #6
lumberjack_jeff May 2015 #7
kjones May 2015 #8
lumberjack_jeff May 2015 #4
Bonobo May 2015 #9

Response to Bonobo (Original post)

Mon May 4, 2015, 11:44 AM

1. This has been going on all over the continent forever basically

Society accepts that men and boys are canon fodder. Had Boko Haram not taken to kidnapping girls and women, nobody would even know who they are.

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Response to Bonobo (Original post)

Mon May 4, 2015, 01:54 PM

2. Sometimes I wonder

Sometimes I wonder how much of the lower male life expectancy is due to the
relative (to that given to females) regard for male safety. Brings up a lot of

I agree with all sides on the point that we should work for equality, work against
what is unequal. On that count, we would have to consider shorter lifespan a
way in which males are disadvantaged and unequal, right?
Which comes to two things, either this disadvantage is because of societal
causes (environment in general) or part and parcel of being male (biological
in general). I think voicing the concern in either of these ways would be
poorly received...lukewarm at best.
The idea of males being disadvantaged in any way seems to be generally
unwelcome as a topic of discussion, and it seems quite often that such
times it is discussed, the blame or root up such problems is put on the
males themselves ("violent, testosterone fueled men. you bring it on
yourselves.". There is little consideration that the causes of such behavior
(whether that is a legitimate characterization at all), or that the
causes may be societal or biological (or both). If it is societal, with
society pushing males into situations that lower life expectancy or
otherwise generating such situations disproportionately for males, then
we are all to blame (society as a whole). Well, not to blame, but we
are all (male/female/etc....society) implied stakeholders and part of
the body to fix the problem. As is the same with any societal
disadvantages for women. Social justice is society's problem.

On the other hand, if really is something inherent to males, biological,
that either outright shortens our lifespans, drives us into situations, or
generates situations which disproportionately endanger us, then we
are faced with a peculiar situation in which it is accepted that
male and female are different. Astounding right! But it is, somehow,
astounding...because when it comes to how we talk about male/female,
we seem (society in general, I suppose) to draw lines at certain points when
stating what is different and the same in m/f. Gross biology, we accept
generally....mental traits, perhaps not so much. It seems though, that what
we are prepared (generally) to split is the idea that males are naturally
violent and impulsive and women are caring and thoughtful. Society in
general accepts this, whether it blatantly states it or not. Often it does.
But in that case, why stop there. Maybe entire mental functions differ,
(insert slippery slope discussion here).

....the point is, often, the discussion of male-ness goes to that place...
"well men are just (violent/impulsive/testosterony/etc) and that's why..."
As well, we may even hear this from people who avowedly deny such explanations
when it comes to intelligence, etc...or it comes to females.
So why? I don't know, but it's not the best situation. It often leaves us
in a position where explanations are that "male disadvantages are their own fault/
the fault of their genetics." Does this satisfy anyone?

I think the reasonable person (I like to think I am one...if that's not unreasonable)
would say that somewhere in the middle is truth. Male and female are
closer than we might think, not as close as we might hope. Environment/society and
biology probably both play important roles in what we see. In this case, shorter
male lives.

but I think at the end I cinched it all together.

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Response to kjones (Reply #2)

Tue May 5, 2015, 12:35 AM

3. Talk about millions of men dead in wars... you get "Men did it to themselves".

Last edited Tue May 5, 2015, 09:49 AM - Edit history (1)

Talk about men dying early and you get "stop whining. It's biological (ironically from the biology deniers).

Show statistics that suicide is more prevalent among men... get called an MRA and they scream that women TRY more often or some nonsense.

In the end, what you see over and over amounts to "shut up, whiner and listen to US."

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Response to Bonobo (Reply #3)

Wed May 6, 2015, 12:08 PM

5. Men are the oppressors so they can't possibly be oppressed

Which evidently means any man or boy who dies early from preventable causes is just a form of social justice.

You can't argue with that kind of logic.

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #5)

Wed May 6, 2015, 01:58 PM

6. I've had interesting discussions

I've had interesting discussions with people over talks of "intersectionality."
In essence, their point is (and I agree with the point, absolutely) that
varying forms of oppression can overlap and interact. What you get out
of adding "black" and "woman" together, for example, is not simply
black + woman, but instead, something more like an emergent property.
I think this is certainly true, in a lot of ways. The problem is that many
people don't take this idea to it's conclusion. They seem to leave it at the
analysis of oppressed groups, such that only oppression is considered.
They are less likely to consider what intersectionality entails for the
interactions of other identity features. In truth, everyone has an identity
which is composed of facets which are a mix of marginalized and non-
marginalized identity membership. Thus, we are all "oppressed" in some
ways and "oppressors" in others. We are all individuals, basically.
Or also, there is no reason that, male or female, someone can't be
oppressed in one context and oppressor in another, or vice versa.
No specifics, this is just general thoughts.

No matter where you are on the scale of oppressor-oppressed...
it's almost certain there is someone above and below you on
that scale.

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Response to kjones (Reply #6)

Wed May 6, 2015, 02:09 PM

7. If the idea of intersectionality were useful, you could use it in reverse.


Take a group of people who share the same (unknown) characteristics, measure their health, their joblessness, their crime victimization, their education, their mental and emotional health, and be able to predict with some certainty what racial/gender/age/disability characteristics they have.

You could actually do this of course, but it would require abandoning everything we think we know about gender privilege.

The reverse engineering of privilege would be an excellent masters thesis.

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Response to lumberjack_jeff (Reply #7)

Thu May 7, 2015, 04:48 AM

8. Yeah, I don't know

I mean, I suppose the point is that there are a lot of ways to end up "underprivileged."
Like how there's a lot (6?) ways to get 7 on two dice. The outliers (2 and 12), which
I guess would represent the most absolute oppressed and the most absolute privileged,
one have one way each to come up. It makes (as many things do) a bell curve...most
people are in the middle somewhere. Yeah, there are a lot of men heading up companies,
but the vast, vast majority of men are average people, for example.
A problem with what you say (as intriguing as such a study would be) is how do you
quantify marginalization, privilege, or suffering....etc? It's not just "oh, who has got
it worse, a white woman or a black man" or other two or even three variable comparisons,
it's far more complex. Sex/Race/wealth/ethnicity/disability/sexuality/religion/political views/etcetcetc.
Which goes to the point, everyone is different, everyone is an individual nexus of intersectionality of
identity and condition. Though, I think because of that, you are right. What is the use of it, other
than to tell us that everyone is unique, and it's far too simplistic to compare in dichotomies (Male-Female,
for example). Add other variables and you get y, z, and more and more dimensions to the question.
Hell, most people don't even seem to get the political axis thing (social x economic).

It's complex, which is why humans have coping mechanisms for dealing with all the unique individuals
-mechanisms that take the form of shorthand generalizations....or in other words, preconceptions
and stereotypes. They are used as stopgaps until we learn about individuals. They are also
misused in the form of prejudices.

Anyway, lots of rambling...a mix of things I've picked up (school or otherwise) and my own ideas
and interpretations. Interesting stuff to talk about though.

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Response to kjones (Reply #2)

Tue May 5, 2015, 10:38 PM

4. The bias is part of western society too.


Read the affordable care act for a good example.

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Response to Bonobo (Original post)

Thu May 7, 2015, 09:15 PM

9. Go ahead and do a Google News search on "Boko Haram".

It as if the only thing that matters is the rape and abductions.

Salacious headlines sell, I know, but does anyone consider how disgusting it is to show so little concern for the same humans simply because they have penises?

Boko Harams Rescued Sex Slaves Tell Their Horror Stories
Daily Beast‎ - 1 day ago

Freed women tell of Boko Haram horror - BBC.com

Boko Haram fighters stoned Nigerian girls to death as ...

Nigeria Steps Up Aid for Rescued Captives - WSJ


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