Friday, May 9, 2014

Did American Woman, Rama Mosley, Try to Claim She Originated #BringbackourGirls?

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It is not Rama Mosley but Oby Ezekwesili and Ibrahim Abdullahi who actually started the trending hashtag on Twitter. However it seems the western media always prefers to give one of their own the prestige of discovering things. Mungo Park discovered River Niger, and now Rama Mosley was almost canonized for starting the #Bringbackourgirls social media campaign to free the girls abducted in Borno state.

First, Rama Mosley was wrongly profiled by ABC News Nightline two days ago, and then she was supposed to be interviewed yesterday by Wolf Blitzer on CNN. When both shows began to be promoted on Twitter as with the originator of #bringbackourgirls, a massive backlash from the Nigerian twitterati opened the can of worms. The Wolf Blitzer interview was cancelled and the ABC News article on their website corrected.

Now the truth has emerged, and Nigerians, Oby Ezekwesili and Ibrahim Abdullahi, who started the trending campaign can actually take their rightful place in history and whenever the story of #bringbackourgirls is told. Hopefully, their efforts which spun off mass street protests in Nigeria and around the world will lead to the rescue of the abducted girls.

According to this report by the Wall Street Journal;

The signature hashtag, which allows Twitter users world-wide to find like-minded people, had its origins in Abuja. On April 23, Mr. Abdullahi was at home watching a televised broadcast of the opening celebration of Port Harcourt's year as the United Nations' world book capital.

One speaker, former World Bank Vice President Obiageli Ezekwesili, took to the stage and helped lead the crowd in a chant of "Bring back our daughters."

Mr. Abdullahi had just a few hundred Twitter followers, but he is an enthusiastic tweeter. So, on April 23, he modified the slogan to "bring back our girls" and tweeted: "Yes #BringBackOurDaughters #BringBackOurGirls declared by @ obyezeks and all people at Port Harcourt World Book Capital 2014."

"I don't have a daughter so I thought it would be better to make it girls," Mr. Adbullahi said in an interview from Abuja on Thursday.

It was retweeted just 95 times. But one of those came from Ms. Ezekwesili, who has more than 125,000 followers.

She quickly adopted the hashtag and urged people to use it. She tweeted: "Lend your Voice to the Cause of our Girls. Please All, use the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls to keep the momentum UNTIL they are RESCUED."

The message soon took on a life of its own.

On April 23, the British Guardian newspaper published an article that was shared more than 35,000 times on Facebook and tweeted more than 3,500 times.

The biggest boost, according to Topsy social-media analytics, came on April 30, when Mr. Brown--the performer who pleaded guilty in 2009 to assaulting his girlfriend, Rihanna, the singer--tweeted the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag.

But soon it was CNN leading the charge. The top #BringBackOurGirls tweets for four of the first five days of May were all from CNN-related accounts.

So what has happened since the truth came out?

- Rama Mosley bowed out gracefully, saying she didn't take credit for the hashtag but became the face of the cause in the media because there were no photos of the abducted girls. She thinks the media in the United States wanted a face they could attach to such a human-interest story and her being in America made it easy.

- ABC deleted the headline "Los Angeles Mother of Two Creates Viral Hashtag" and posted an editor's note that read: "This story has been updated to reflect that #BringBackOurGirls appeared on Twitter prior to Ramaa Mosley's first tweet."

For me, the focus now is on what the Nigerian government with its allies from the UK, US, China and France and doing to rescue the abducted girls. I'm praying for them.

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