Those of us who are annoyed by cheap acts of charity were once again rolling our eyes last week after the hash tag #BringBackOurGirls started trending on Twitter. Evidently the eighteen characters were supposed to free the Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by the heinous thugs of Boko Haram in a triumphant whirlwind of Internet self-congratulations. This hasn't happened yet, and it has a lot of us wondering where the hash-taggers were when Boko Haram slaughtered fifty-nine schoolboys back in February—or when militia wars destabilized the Central African Republic, or when Boko Haram and other terrorists decapitated Mali, or when ethnic cleansing exploded in post-Gaddafi Libya, or when 5.4 million people were killed in the Second Congo War, or...
#BringBackOurGirls instead brings to mind the #StopKony phenomenon from 2012. In a sea of African turmoil, a clutch of armchair activists zeroes in on a single problem, presumes it to be the root of all evil in the third world, and Tweets and Facebooks and Pinterests and Google Pluses about it for several days until something else captures their attention and on they go. Yesterday George Will was asked about this hash tag activism on Fox News and he summed it up perfectly:
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