I've been a horror movie fan since I was old enough to sneak into the living room and turn on the TV after my parents were asleep. I used to keep myself up nights imagining vampires lurking just out of sight in my closet, or that hungry reptiles lived beneath the floorboards of my house, just waiting for the right moment to drag me screaming to my doom (thanks Channel 39, for repeatedly airing that trailer during Battle of the Planets at 4 PM).
I still watch them, but I've maintained for years that one big reason I'm not really bothered by horror movies is because -- with a few exceptions -- the everyday atrocities we humans visit upon ourselves are more shocking or brutal than most directors are capable of.
Case in point, the kidnapping of nearly 300 Nigerian high school girls by West African Islamic terrorists. The group, Boko Haram (loosely translated as "Western education is forbidden"), intends to sell (or has already sold) the girls into "marriage" for about 12 American dollars. It's heartbreaking and infuriating and there isn't a goddamn thing anyone can do about it.
News that the girls had been kidnapped was bad enough, but yesterday the worst fears were confirmed:
Fears for the fate of more than 200 Nigerian girls turned even more nightmarish Monday when the leader of the Islamist militant group that kidnapped them announced plans to sell them.
"I abducted your girls. I will sell them in the market, by Allah," a man claiming to be Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau said in a video first obtained by Agence France-Presse.
"There is a market for selling humans. Allah says I should sell. He commands me to sell. I will sell women. I sell women," he continued, according to a CNN translation from the local Hausa language.
If, like me, you've watched the video of this rotten prick, then like me, you probably wished you possessed the ability to reach through the ether and crush the man's trachea with a pipe wrench. Because just like part of me wishes vampires were real, if only to spice up the mundanity of everyday evil, situations like this speak to an even bigger part of me that wishes we lived in the action movie universe of my youth.
In that world, Stallone or Bruce Willis or AH-NOLD or even "Fucking Chuck Norris" would by now have hunted Shekau down and snapped his neck aikido style, pausing briefly to utter the choicest bon mot ("Market's closed.") courtesy of a snappy Shane Black screenplay.He'd then deliver the relieved girls back to their families, pausing to watch the happy reunion as the end credits rolled (cue Frank Stallone singing over a Michael Kamen sax solo).
Shekau -- with that mocking laugh and offhand "I abducted your girls" -- is such an unbelievable scumbag, he'd have been *perfect* as one of those cartoonish supervillains Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus created for the likes of David Bradley to circle kick to death in American Ninja 3: Blood Hunt.
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Tragically, reality sucks, and it seems like there's not much that can be done here. The girls are most likely gone; spirited across the border into Cameroon or Chad. Nigeria's president, the unfortunately named Goodluck Jonathan, has shown more interest in preserving the security of visiting economic dignitaries than recovering the kidnapped girls, while his wife threatens those organizing protests.
In the West, efforts like #BringBackOurGirls are admirable, but probably ineffective, especially if they're hoping to shame Pres. Jonathan (a man whose most notable political achievement to date is signing a ban on same sex marriages) into action. Even promised aid from the U.S. (in the form of hostage negotiators and "intelligence experts") doesn't sound all that, well, promising.