When Boko Haram kidnapped more than 200 girls from a high school in Nigeria in May, the chorus of outrage was heard worldwide. Then the clamor to "bring back our girls" gradually receded to frustrated sighs. Nigeria did nothing. The West, with its short attention span, was soon bored and went on to other outrages. The likelihood of rescue receded into the mists of the Nigerian rain forest.
Last week, the abduction of more young girls broke into the news again. This time, the girls are Christians in Iraq, and their capture is already a footnote to the violent attack leveled by the Islamic State, usually called ISIS, at the Yazidi population in Iraq, whom the Islamist militants consider Muslim apostates. The Islamic militants keep changing their name, but not their goal of a harsh and rigid Islamic caliphate, and they took time off from crucifixions and beheadings to isolate hundreds of women to provide their warriors with brides, or more to the grim point, sex slaves.
Boko Haram teaches that it is "haram," or forbidden, for Muslims to participate in any Western activity, such as "voting in elections, wearing shirts and trousers and receiving a secular education," and the girls are easy prey. Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau, according to CNN, decreed that the wives and children of Boko Haram members and those they capture — some of the girls are as young as 12 — "would begin a new life as 'a servant.'" The Islamic State is said to have "vicious plans" for hundreds of Yazidi women it has taken captive. All are under the age of 35.
"We think that these women are going to be used in demeaning ways by those terrorists to satisfy their animalistic urges in a way that contradicts all the human and Islamic values," a spokesman for the government says.
The targeted airstrikes by American fighter-bombers, and food and water drops by transport planes, have begun to ease the plight and pain of the religious minorities, but thousands are still in peril. More than 4,000 Yazidis have survived for up to six days without food, water or shelter, according to the International Rescue Committee. The United Nations reports than 50,000 Yazidis, half of them children, have fled to the relative safety of the mountains.
Vian Dakheel, the only Yazidi female member of the Iraqi parliament, told her colleagues Friday that "women have been sold in a slavery market." These women are mostly Christians and belong to the Yazidi and Christian minorities in Iraq. The Organization for Women's Freedom in Iraq decries the abduction of women for a life of rape and servitude under the black banner of the Islamic State, doomed to supply jihad al-nikah, or "sex for the pursuit of struggle," but the organized feminists, so eager to complain of abuse, such as having to pay for their own birth control, are strangely silent.
The Islamist militants have now turned their insane violence against male children. Last week, the Boko Haram primitives abducted dozens of boys and men from a remote village in Nigeria, probably to make reluctant soldiers of them. Rep. Frank R. Wolf of Virginia, a Republican, raised his voice last week with questions to shame this civilized world: "Where is the West? Where is the Obama administration?" Where, indeed.