At first, the students thought the men who arrived that night had come to save them. This is what the soldiers insisted they were doing when they ordered the girls out of their dormitories in the dark of April 14. But as the school burned, it became clearer what the girls were being protected from: education. In the Hausa tongue native to that part of northern Nigeria, the group’s name, Boko Haram, means, roughly, “Western education is unclean.”
Boko Haram set off a wave of outrage. Casual observers and celebrities took their protest to social media, while international agencies and diplomats began to express concern through official channels. The global wail served as a wake-up call to the millions who were under the misimpression that slavery had been eradicated.