Since publishing my essay, Toward a Better Understanding of Boko Haram, I have received some feedback, with respondents raising questions and issues they feel merit further exploration, explanation, context, and elaboration. One of these issues is the question of whether or not Boko Haram rose out of societal problems supposedly caused by Western education — corruption, poverty, and poor governance, or whether in fact these problems are traceable to Western education as Boko Haram claims. In this post, I respond to these and other issues.
Since they kidnapped more than two hundred schoolgirls from Chibok, Northeastern Nigeria, Nigerian Islamist militant group, Boko Haram, have become the object of global outrage. Anti-Boko Haram activism, although justified and commendable, is often animated by a facile understanding of the group and its entwinements in deeper societal realities. To understand Boko Haram and the foundations of its rage, one has to understand two phenomena associated with the group’s rise.