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Like millions of people across the globe, my husband and I are outraged and heartbroken over the kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian girls from their school dormitory in the middle of the night.

This unconscionable act was committed by a terrorist group determined to keep these girls from getting an education – grown men attempting to snuff out the aspirations of young girls.

First Lady Michelle Obama on this Mother's Day weekend took over the weekly address slot to discuss America's and the world's response to the heinous kidnappings of Nigerian school girls. And she made it clear her husband intends to act in this tragedy, one that hits close to home for the first couple, she said, as the parents of two daughters.

More than that, she saluted the bravery of the Nigerian girls and all those millions of others who are determined to get an education even with threats of violence and death hanging over their heads.

The girls themselves also knew full well the dangers they might encounter.

Their school had recently been closed due to terrorist threats…but these girls still insisted on returning to take their exams.

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.  

And what happened in Nigeria was not an isolated incident…it’s a story we see every day as girls around the world risk their lives to pursue their ambitions.

And she hoped those in the same cohort in the United States think long and hard about the value of education, given what these girls have been risking in undertaking it themselves.
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 closed with prayers for the family and the safe return of the girls.

To read the transcript in full, check below the fold or visit the White House website.

Remarks of First Lady Michelle Obama
Weekly Address
May 10, 2014

Hello everyone, I’m Michelle Obama, and on this Mother’s Day weekend, I want to take a moment to honor all the mothers out there and wish you a Happy Mother’s Day.

I also want to speak to you about an issue of great significance to me as a First Lady, and more importantly, as the mother of two young daughters.

Like millions of people across the globe, my husband and I are outraged and heartbroken over the kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian girls from their school dormitory in the middle of the night.

This unconscionable act was committed by a terrorist group determined to keep these girls from getting an education – grown men attempting to snuff out the aspirations of young girls.

And I want you to know that Barack has directed our government to do everything possible to support the Nigerian government’s efforts to find these girls and bring them home.

In these girls, Barack and I see our own daughters. We see their hopes, their dreams – and we can only imagine the anguish their parents are feeling right now.

Many of them may have been hesitant to send their daughters off to school, fearing that harm might come their way.

But they took that risk because they believed in their daughters’ promise and wanted to give them every opportunity to succeed.

The girls themselves also knew full well the dangers they might encounter.

Their school had recently been closed due to terrorist threats…but these girls still insisted on returning to take their exams.

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.  

And what happened in Nigeria was not an isolated incident…it’s a story we see every day as girls around the world risk their lives to pursue their ambitions.

It’s the story of girls like Malala Yousafzai from Pakistan.

Malala spoke out for girls’ education in her community…and as a result, she was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman while on a school bus with her classmates.

But fortunately Malala survived…and when I met her last year, I could feel her passion and determination as she told me that girls’ education is still her life’s mission.

As Malala said in her address to the United Nations, she said “The terrorists thought that they would change our aims and stop our ambitions but nothing changed in my life except this: Weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born.”

The courage and hope embodied by Malala and girls like her around the world should serve as a call to action.

Because right now, more than 65 million girls worldwide are not in school.

Yet, we know that girls who are educated make higher wages, lead healthier lives, and have healthier families.

And when more girls attend secondary school, that boosts their country’s entire economy.

So education is truly a girl’s best chance for a bright future, not just for herself, but for her family and her nation.

And that’s true right here in the U.S. as well…so I hope the story of these Nigerian girls will serve as an inspiration for every girl – and boy – in this country.

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.

These girls embody the best hope for the future of our world…and we are committed to standing up for them not just in times of tragedy or crisis, but for the long haul.

We are committed to giving them the opportunities they deserve to fulfill every last bit of their God-given potential.

So today, let us all pray for their safe return... let us hold their families in our hearts during this very difficult time…and let us show just a fraction of their courage in fighting to give every girl on this planet the education that is her birthright.  Thank you.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I like this decision to have our First Lady (25+ / 0-)

    speak in behalf of those missing girls.

    She is herself the mother of two girls.  And on a planet of several million girls.  

    Respected Michelle Obama already.  Respect her even more this morning for lifting her high-profile voice on behalf of the voiceless.

    "How can we know the dancer from the dance?" (Yeats)

    by Remediator on Sat May 10, 2014 at 07:05:23 AM PDT

  •  I wish FLOTUS would consider running for (7+ / 0-)

    president.  I know she's dismissed this out of hand, in favor of being a mother to her children.  And she certainly sees what she would be up against.  But she's extremely popular and I know she'd win if she chose to run.  But I'm a real dreamer and I know this will never happen.  Too bad.  She'd be terrific in the job.

    We need to fly to the rescue of these abducted girls and bring them all home.  Beyond terrifying and outrageous and tragic.

    Best. President. Ever.

    by Little Lulu on Sat May 10, 2014 at 07:09:30 AM PDT

    •  Thanks for saying what I was just about to... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sethtriggs

      ...that Michelle Obama would make a great candidate for president, after Hillary, of course. I expect she's thought about it and had it proposed to her. We just need a journalist (please!) to ask her about it and put the bee in the Democratic party's bonnet.

      She just turned 50 in Jan. this year in case you're counting.

      What stronger breast-plate than a heart untainted! Thrice is he arm'd, that hath his quarrel just; And he but naked, though lock'd up in steel, Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted. Henry VI Part II Act 3 Scene 2

      by TerryDarc on Sat May 10, 2014 at 08:59:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm against political dynasties. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TerryDarc, Little Lulu

        However, if, after a Warren presidency, we have an ObamaII presidency, then their two daughters will be approaching minimum age for eligibility, and we will see a huge increase in RWNJ head-explosions. So it might be worth a dynasty....

        "There is just one way to save yourself, and that's to get together and work and fight for everybody." ---Woody Guthrie (quoted by Jim Hightower in The Progressive Populist April 1, 2012, p3)

        by CitizenJoe on Sat May 10, 2014 at 11:03:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Bush's vs Kennedy's (0+ / 0-)

          You have the other side of the coin. RWNJ territory with Jeb and Barbara and Jenna.

          I prefer to think that the Kennedy dynasty would have worked out pretty well except for Lee Harvey Oswald and Sirhan **2.

          What stronger breast-plate than a heart untainted! Thrice is he arm'd, that hath his quarrel just; And he but naked, though lock'd up in steel, Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted. Henry VI Part II Act 3 Scene 2

          by TerryDarc on Sat May 10, 2014 at 11:09:26 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  She have to hold an elected office first (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sethtriggs

      perhaps as a Senator -- just as Hillary did.

      American Presidents: 43 men, 0 women. Ready for Hillary

      by atana on Sat May 10, 2014 at 11:00:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you Mrs. Obama (8+ / 0-)

    We view "The Handmaid's Tale" as cautionary. The GOP views it as an instruction book.

    by Vita Brevis on Sat May 10, 2014 at 07:09:33 AM PDT

  •  Thanks (6+ / 0-)

    I voted tuesday because it is my right, my responsibility and because my parents moved from Alabama to Ohio to vote. Unfortunately, the republicons want to turn Ohio into Alabama.

    by a2nite on Sat May 10, 2014 at 07:22:00 AM PDT

  •  this is so appropriate (5+ / 0-)

    I am in awe of both Obamas

    www.tapestryofbronze.com

    by chloris creator on Sat May 10, 2014 at 07:28:09 AM PDT

  •  It'll be interesting to see how the racist GOPers (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Remediator, gfre, daeros, sethtriggs

    smear Michelle for this. You know they'll try.

  •  action (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gfre, daeros, Elizaveta, sethtriggs

    She did all she can do--not sure her husband doesn't have more resources.  It is well past the time for the UN to intervene on matters such as these.  The world needs a police force--sadly.  Have we learned nothing from the breakup of Yugoslavia--or the Rwanda tragedy?  

    Actions speak louder than petitions.

    by melvynny on Sat May 10, 2014 at 07:36:18 AM PDT

  •  Good move but late (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gfre

    I am glad to see the administration doing something and the first lady is certainly a good spokesperson for the effort.  But this event is a month old so I am thinking too little too late.  I am sure if hundreds of German or Korean girls were kidnapped the international community would have been outraged instantly.  

    •  Give it a rest. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lencialoo, Sophie Amrain, sethtriggs

      This  

      I am sure if hundreds of German or Korean girls were kidnapped the international community would have been outraged instantly.  
      has nothing to do with Michelle Obama's talk, which was about the crucial issue of the education of girls.  

      "It ain't right, Atticus," said Jem. "No, son, it ain't right." --Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

      by SottoVoce on Sat May 10, 2014 at 08:18:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  She a class act (9+ / 0-)

    and I think she is one of our great First Ladies.  

    As for those missing girls, I just hope that we can keep the focus on them and not allow their plight to be used as an opportunity to bring up unrelated political griefs.  I've already seen that - not here, mind you - and have found it quite disgusting.  

    It's the Supreme Court, stupid!

    by Radiowalla on Sat May 10, 2014 at 07:48:08 AM PDT

  •  This seems to be a great bipartisan issue (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    daeros, sethtriggs

    I almost feel Obama should be more aggressive - this may be a "boots on the ground" issue if there ever was one - and its certainly bi-partisan

    •  If there is a "boots on the ground" solution to (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ivorybill, atana, sethtriggs

      this, it's going to have to be a stealth operation.  Seems pretty likely that if the kidnappers knew there were troops coming after them, the most convenient thing for them to do would be to kill all the girls and move on.  They don't seem to value the girls as anything more than property.

      So if we were preparing for a stealth operation, it would need to be fairly large scale to get 200+ girls to safety.  And of course, they couldn't go talking about it in advance.

      Libertarianism, n: A political philosophy some people embrace after the roads have been paved. (Stolen from Kurt Weldon)

      by lineatus on Sat May 10, 2014 at 08:58:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Boots on the ground... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Denise Oliver Velez, Piren, kfunk937

      There are approximately 200,000 victims of human trafficking in Nigeria, including many kidnapped girls, including by Boko Haram. The only difference now is that a large number were grabbed at once, and the world noticed. Yes, the US should send advisors and trainers, and work with the Nigerian government. But this is not primarily a military issue. We spend very little on controlling or eliminating slavery, and almost nothing on reintegrating victims. I'm more interventionist than most here, but I don't see that much of a role for the military in Nigeria. Better to focus on helping the Nigerians strengthen traditional leaders willing to go after Boko Haram.

      And I'd also like to point out that some who are outraged by this and advocate use of force in Nigeria, oppose any use of force in Syria, where many women and girls are at imminent risk, and are actually besieged. One can make a more compelling argument for limited military support (or at least training) in the Syrian context, in which there actually is a revolution against a particularly brutal leader with a history of targeting civilians.  

      “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

      by ivorybill on Sat May 10, 2014 at 09:36:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  First Ladies (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Elizaveta, sethtriggs

    Both "Bawbwa" Bushes were disasters.  This is the best First Lady ever.

    "The more firearms a man owns, the smaller his member"-- Abraham Lincoln

    by truthronin on Sat May 10, 2014 at 08:12:56 AM PDT

  •  They should set up a GPS ratline (0+ / 0-)

    The kidnappers are cornered ,if they had   Nigerian with  GPS receivers they could  spot the movement of the kidnappers and relay them to a drone pilot for investigation ,everybody has GPS address as long you occupy  space on this earth

  •  I feel bad about this too. (0+ / 0-)

    i would like to see some actions taken to save these girls right now, i don't care what. send an international squad in there and rescue them already.

    this situation is unacceptable.

    "....No Compromise in the Defense of Mother Earth!"

    by Seattle Socialist on Sat May 10, 2014 at 02:41:15 PM PDT

    •  Or pay them off.. (0+ / 0-)

      We could also get out the checkbook and make an offer of straight up U.S. cash for these girls.  These kinds of militants may respond pretty quick to a straight up cash offer, and it would get the captives all back safe, hopefully.

      Offer them like *$50,000 for each hostage or something. We can easily afford that.

      (*we could always militarily deal with them later if need be, when they don't have 300 boarding school kids being held captive)

      "....No Compromise in the Defense of Mother Earth!"

      by Seattle Socialist on Sat May 10, 2014 at 02:50:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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