Boko Haram may be our fault according to Richard Dowden, Executive Director of the Royal African Society and a British journalist with years of experience covering the continent. He doesn’t say it outright, but in his opinion piece at CNN’s site he lists the inequality and pitiful lack of development as vital factors in radicalizing what was, according to him, a relatively peaceful Islamic movement a decade or so ago. After pointing fingers at the Nigerian government for it’s corruption and lack of interest in the north of the country, one can feel the very visible hand of liberal guilt waving an angry finger in our general direction. His thesis that development needs to accompany any military mission to impoverished corners of the world is more than reasonable, taking into account the purely advisory role of U.S. officials in this case. One must ask, however, what are the possibilities of sustained, orderly development when armed Islamic groups are roaming the land imposing sharia law by terrorism? If previous Nigerian governments had only invested more, much more, of their oil wealth in hospitals, schools and other infrastructure, would a group that emerged in 1995 and seemed dedicated from the get go to jihad have melted away in the glow of social entitlements? Had Nigeria constructed schools and hospitals and more on a scale similar to say, Saudi Arabia, would Christian girls now be studying peacefully and happily at schools across the north?

Nigeria is now Africa’s largest economy and with a population north of 170 million, also its largest. “Sixty percent live in poverty” in Dowden’s words. That’s about 100 million people living in poverty. Let’s assume that Boko Haram have several thousand active members. Double up and suppose it’s 10 thousand. That would mean that 99.99& of those who struggle on a daily basis to survive and dream of advancing do not engage in radical Islamic terrorism. And Christian charities who operate on the ground in Nigeria providing everything from clean drinking water to schools, where young Nigerians can better themselves, and yes build their faith, sometimes seem like the only bulwark against the rampaging thugs of Boko Haram. Pope Francis, in a recent meeting with UN officials, called for ” the legitimate redistribution of economic benefits by the state.” Does the former Peronista, perhaps a bout of youthful enthusiasm, have a fondness for large, state run programs funded by your tax dollars? Pope Francis has shown a certain sympathy for the hard left who he seems to want to guide rather than confront the way John Paul II did. Would Francis have the UN solve Nigeria’s problems and pacify Boko Haram? Imagine your tax dollars flowing from Washington to the UN’s maze of fiefdoms and then overseas and into the waiting coffers of Nigeria’s government. Is that the way to stop Boko Haram? Where would you put your money? That is, aside from those tax dollars paying for U.S. officials and security forces already over there, desperately trying to help find the missing girls.

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