Nearly 22 days and counting, the Boko Haram insurgents in Northern Nigeria still hold captive over 200 hundred young girls from a Chibok based school in Borno State. Now more recent news is they have struck another small village to abduct another 8 girls.
The Nigerian government is still yet to respond with tangible results. Nigeria has cried, nations have cried. Rallies have been conducted worldwide with both Nigerians and other members of the peace movement in the world.
DC-based Photographer, Kanayo Adibe, attended the #BringBackOurGirls rally which took place in DC on May 3rd, 2014 at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington DC. Here’s his account of the event and through the lens…
What inspired you to cover the rally?
“I received an invite from one of the organizers who happened to be a friend of mine. I’ve never been the political type but I thought what they were doing was pretty inspirational and figured since it wasn’t really about politics and more about plain old human decency I should go show my support in my own way, by creating photos that will tell the tale and spread the word to those who weren’t in attendance. The experience was pretty amazing, I’m sure it was a different experience for me though, seeing how I experienced it through a lens and wasn’t an active participant.”
What was the overall mood like?
“It was peaceful, I think they picked the perfect location for the rally, the weather was perfect the surroundings were beautiful, it helped put people in a positive mind frame. I know we weren’t there to lay back and relax but it was a very positive, friendly and unified environment. There were moments of laughter, tears and piercing words. There were songs sang, poetry recited and pleas made.”
What was the crowd like?
“It was a diverse crowd for the most part, there were Africans from different countries like Ethiopia, Cameroon, Ghana, in addition to Nigerians; there were Americans of different races showing their support. There were people of different religions, we had a muslim speaker who said a neutral prayer for the girls and prayed to God as it applied to everyone. We had speakers of different ages addressing the crowd, musicians, poets, concerned parents, even the tourists took interest to the rally.”
Favorite part of the rally? Favorite shot taken and why?
“I believe my favorite part was the keynote address by Tosin Adegbola, it was very moving and delivered with authentic emotions.”
“My favorite is the one of the young boy sitting with this legs crossed on the sign that reads “Bring my sisters home”. There is so much dialogue in that image and can be interpreted in so many ways, his facial expression, his youth, his size in reference to the others around him and his presence and involvement in the rally.”
Was the rally effective and were their voices heard?
“Well, there was coverage by several media houses like CNN, so I know someone saw it. I and other participants have done our parts spreading images on social media and I know eyes have seen them. I think the ball is pretty much in the Nigerian governments’ court at this point. Their voices may have been heard but only God knows if they were listening.”
In your opinion, what should happen next?
“I think we need US government intervention, they are the only ones who seem to care enough to get things done. At this point, I doubt anyone would care what their motives are for helping as long as someone helps.”