NationNation Now

Michelle Obama praises kidnapped Nigerian girls as an inspiration

Michelle Obama calls kidnapped Nigerian girls an inspiration in the fight to educate women
Michelle Obama on the Nigerian girls: "They were so determined to move to the next level of their education"

Michelle Obama said she and the president “see our own daughters” in the kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls and called them an inspiration in the fight to educate women and girls around the world.

Sitting in for President Obama to deliver the weekly video address from the White House on Saturday, Obama praised the girls and their parents for pursuing education even though they knew that it might be dangerous.

“Their school had recently been closed due to terrorist threats, but these girls still insisted on returning to take their exams,” Obama said in a video posted on the White House website.

“They were so determined to move to the next level of their education, so determined to one day build careers of their own and make their families and communities proud,” she said.

The clip aired hours after seven military advisors arrived in Nigeria on Friday to support the search for more than 200 girls still missing three weeks after terrorists attacked their school dormitory in the middle of the night.

They join 10 Department of Defense planners who were already posted in Nigeria and were sent to join the kidnapping response after Secretary of State John F. Kerry made a promise to assist Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan earlier this week.

About 10 State Department and other civilian and law enforcement personnel are on their way to assist as well, an administration official said Friday.

As the Obama administration scrambled its resources, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said he would convene a hearing to look into the administration’s response to the crisis and its approach to dealing with Boko Haram, the terrorist group claiming responsibility for the abduction.

“It is clear that a piecemeal approach to Boko Haram, with limited U.S. military involvement, has been ineffective to date,” said Rep. Ed Royce (R-Fullerton).

In her video address, Obama said the president has directed the U.S. government “to do everything possible to support the Nigerian government’s efforts” to find the girls and bring them home.

She also argued that the threat to girls who pursue an education is not an isolated one, citing the case of Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl shot in the head by a Taliban gunman while on a school bus with her classmates.

Worldwide, more than 65 million girls are unschooled, according to U.S. estimates.

“Yet we know that girls who are educated make higher wages, lead healthier lives and have healthier families,” Obama said. “And when more girls attend secondary school, that boosts their country’s entire economy.”

The plight of the missing Nigerian girls should inspire Americans to fight for change, she said, and to take their own studies seriously.

“I hope that any young people in America who take school for granted – any young people who are slacking off or thinking of dropping out – I hope they will learn the story of these girls and recommit themselves to their education,” she said.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
Related Content
  • White House intruder arrested after entering front doors
    White House intruder arrested after entering front doors

    An intruder scaled a White House fence and made it all the way into the building Friday evening before he was caught and wrestled to the ground by security officers, the Secret Service said. President Obama and his family had already left for Camp David when the incident occurred.

  • Man who killed daughter and grandchildren had violent past
    Man who killed daughter and grandchildren had violent past

    Don Spirit, a Florida grandfather who fatally shot his daughter Sarah Lorraine Spirit and six grandchildren before killing himself, had a long history of domestic violence — at one point pushing his pregnant daughter against a refrigerator and assaulting and threatening his former...

  • Rain pounds Texas: A sign the drought is ending?
    Rain pounds Texas: A sign the drought is ending?

    In Texas, where the governor once urged the public to pray for rain, this week’s torrential storms might finally be a sign of lasting relief for the state plagued by years of drought. Or maybe not.

  • For many in Congress, a first test on issues of war
    For many in Congress, a first test on issues of war

    Lawmakers' votes this week on whether or not to train and equip Syrian opposition forces in the fight against Islamic State were arguably the most consequential after nearly two years in which Congress is likely to set a new low for productivity.

  • Egyptian militant admits links to 1998 U.S. embassy bombings

    A longtime Egyptian militant with ties to Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden admitted in federal court Friday that he had links to the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Africa, a surprise guilty plea that the judge sharply questioned because it reduces his prison time from a potential life sentence to...

  • Four takeaways from the vote in Congress to arm Syrian rebels
    Four takeaways from the vote in Congress to arm Syrian rebels

    What was supposed to be a no-drama final session of Congress before the campaign season turned into anything but as President Obama's new strategy to combat the threat from Islamic State resulted in a wrenching vote that is likely to reverberate through the midterm election and...

Comments
Loading