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Tree of Freedom

Emeke obanor | Nigeria

. "I must speak out against abduction and forced indoctrination. Protests is unlikely to find success if most of the population is silent". — Gift, 17

"Tree of Freedom" is a portrait series of young Nigerian activists raising awareness for the freedom of the girls in the captivity of Boko Haram, a terror group in Nigeria, in this time that the terror groups camps are not spared from covid 19. The activists were photographed with nose masks to protect themselves and seeds, tree saplings which they planted in memory of the abducted girls. They also wrote letters and poems to the victims of abduction and those still in captivity.


Those abducted may be forgotten in this time of covid-19, but not forgotten by these young activists. They believe the abducted girls also need to be brought home.The activists believe someone has to keep alive the memories of those abducted, and pray for their release, as they are forgotten and neglected once the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attack fades.

They unite to raise awareness, until every girl in captivity is free.They needed to find new symbols to inspire people to unite. So they decided that they will reach out to as many people to plant trees: A Tree of Freedom.

I am passionate about this project because the girls in Boko Haram captivity deserve to be reunited with their loved ones. Over the  years, some girls have escaped and some have been rescued by the Nigerian security personnels from the hands of Boko Haram. More than 100 girls remain in captivity even as Covid -19 is reportedly ravaging the terror group camps. The kidnapping has largely disappeared from the western public’s attention. The five-year anniversary in April was marked by no fanfare, special media attention or tweets as countries battle Covid-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, Boko Haram seems to be gaining strength in northwest Nigeria.

 

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