At 6 pm on Thursday, May 16th, fathers in Northern Michigan are urged to meet at the Open Space in downtown Traverse City in a show of solidarity for the fathers and mothers of the kidnapped Nigerian school girls. The group organizing the assembly is called Stand with Nigeria’s Dads, and is spearheaded by Northern Michiganders Chris Sack and Rob Tremp. The following petition to give back was written by Sack:
How do we, fathers of the world’s precious girls, stand in-between the violent, grotesque and unthinkable actions of others and our daughters. The answer is: like a tree that won’t budge.
I was traveling in Paris with my family a few weeks ago. At 5 am on our last day, my kids and I were assaulted by four drunken hooligans as we left our rental apartment. My kids ran into a corridor and I got in-between these violent and unruly drunken locals and my screaming son and daughter and, with the power of 10 sober dads, I pushed back their attack. No one was going to come between me and my kids.
The attackers tucked tail and ran away to beat on garbage cans and keep up their rampage while we got into a cab and drove to the airport out of harm’s way. On the way to the airport, my daughter described the event and my role as her protector. “Dad was like a giant tree in the doorway protecting us!” she said as she described the scary event to my wife. I was just doing what was natural. I was her protective tree that would not budge. There are very few things that wake you up in your role as a dad/parent more than defending a physical attack on your children’s well-being.
Maybe that is why I ache so much for the dads in Nigeria—the parents—involved in this fight to free their girls from the clutches of their captors. These fathers are purported to have gone into the remote north of Nigeria with nothing but bows and arrows to get their daughters back from AK47-toting terrorists.
How can we support these dads of the victims? The girls’ fathers are hiding in the Nigerian bush with primitive weapons and praying for unknown rescuers to come in and confront the thugs who are guarding their girls and doing the unthinkable to them. Any father who can empathize realizes that if this happened to our girls here in the US or in Europe, there would be a very dramatic and powerful effort, likely immediate and involving highly skilled professionals to get them released with, hopefully, no casualties.
I am asking for dads around the world to unite in solidarity with the fathers of the missing daughters. Our message is clear to the Nigerian fathers: No matter the ocean which divides us, no matter the difference of borders, language, culture, our common bond as father’s transcends above all else. We stand at your side, swift and sure, shoulder to shoulder, you are not alone.
Who says we can’t organize a literal civilian league of fathers versus just boots on the ground to demonstrate an emphasis on the impact a group of organized civilians can have beyond military or governmental or diplomatic action. A civilian league of fathers could have a much greater impact on the national mentality in Nigeria—real people with real pain whom support fathers and families suffering from such episodes of malevolence.
Also, follow the posts on this Twitter account: @nigeriadads.
Concerned area fathers are being asked to meet at the Traverse City Open Space on Thursday evening, May 15th, 2014 at 6 pm to demonstrate a showing of dads who care greatly about the plight of those fathers and their families who have faced the tragedy of losing their daughters in Nigeria’s horrific kidnapping. We’re aiming to gather 276 dads, the same number as girls abducted in by Boko Haram, Nigeria’s Islamist extremist group, last month, to show their support for those dads suffering overseas by posing in a picture together at the Open Space. Traverse City Mayor Michael Estes is showing his support by helping to organize the event. An identical event is being organized in Anthem, Arizona by Traverse Citian, Rob Tremp. It is hoped that this show of solidarity from the two communities, Traverse City and Anthem, will spawn additional communities to support the cause.