Summary Analysis Questions:
What is the title of your chosen reading? Who is the author? Give a short description of the background of the reading. State the thesis of your reading in one or two sentences. List the main parts of the reading. Define the problem or problems the author is attempting to solve. List and interpret the basic words or important terms/phrases the author uses. State in your own words two of the author’s leading propositions and list the arguments supporting those propositions. Determine which of the problems the author laid out a solution for and which he did not. If the author did not solve all the problems identify whether he is aware of that and also if he created any new problems that were left unsolved. Provide a one to two-paragraph critique of the article. Describe what you disagree with and explain why.
Assignment 1: Article Review
“Join Us or Die: The Birth of Boko Haram” is an interesting article that describes in detail the ideology and origin of Boko Haram. In this article, the impact of poverty on the Nigerian population is explained, and the description of the way Boko Haram takes advantage of it is also provided. The article also explains the rise of Mohammed Yusuf and the prevailing ideology of Boko Haram. Boko Haram’s violent tactics and their effect are explained in the article. In this assignment, an analysis of the article will be done by answering the provided questions.
The title of the chosen reading is “Join Us or Die: The Birth of Boko Haram .”The author of the article is Andrew Walker (Walker, 2016, p.1).
The background of the reading is related to Boko Haram. Boko Haram is a religious terrorist organization that has gone through a tremendous expansion in the last decade in Nigeria. The organization has proved to be a significant opposition to the Government through its violent tactics, such as suicide bombings. The group’s initial ideology opposed Western interference and now has grown to desire an Islamic state. The conflict between Government and Boko Haram has caused the loss of many lives in Nigeria. There have been many reports on the practices of Boko Haram, their intentions, objectives, and history in Nigeria. The manner in which they have established their dominance and the troubles they have produced for the Government of Nigeria has also been recorded extensively over the years. The article traces the development of Boko Haram and the manner in which it is maintaining its present influence.
The thesis of the reading is the ideology and history of Boko Haram. The article explains the manner in which Boko Haram developed itself in Nigeria and its ideology that civilians should either join them or meet with their demise.
The main parts of the reading deal with the problems faced by the drivers of Achabas (Walker, 2016, p.1). This part mainly focuses on poverty, which is a rampant issue in Nigeria. This issue is ultimately the root cause of all the problems. Poverty is causing people to pledge their allegiance to Boko Haram and get preyed on by the police. This part of the reading makes it clear that in establishing and pursuing their objectives, Boko Haram and the Government are making the lives of poor Nigerian civilians a humongous tragedy, where they have to face imminent death from one cause or another.
The second prominent part of the reading follows the rise of Mohammad Yusuf. Mohammad Yusuf’s rise is synonymous with the rise of Boko Haram (Walker, 2016, p.1). The manner in which he rose from being a beggar on the street to a leader of a dominant religious organization showcases the corruption that is deeply rooted in the system. It is the corruption that allowed him to rise to such an extent. The fact that this violent organization found its roots due to the waywardness of specific individuals in the upper class is more ironic. This showcases that poor people are paying the price of the actions undertaken by wealthy individuals for their gain. The part also showcases the manner in which Boko Haram was used as a tool by the Government before it became a violent opposition.
The third prominent part deals with the way Boko Haram is functioning at present. Boko Haram’s ideology is that civilians should either join them or die (Walker, 2016, p.1). This is evident in the violence they unleash on men outside the dormitory, and the prison, and the dilemma they put Zakariyya in by threatening his life. This ideology showcases the absolutism that is practiced by Boko Haram in which they are not ready to give up, even by causing such a massive loss of lives. Boko Haram is using the poverty of people and establishing its objectives. In order to save themselves and get out of the dire financial situation, the civilians are joining the cause even without understanding or even agreeing to it.
The problem that is being addressed in this article is the rising prevalence of Boko Haram in Nigeria and the violence it is causing for the ordinary civilians of Nigeria (Walker, 2016, p.1). This problem, according to the author, has risen to such an extent because of the prevalent poverty and the corruption deep-rooted in the Government and its policies. The author provides a description and reasoning of the problem but does not attempt to provide any solution to it, as it is beyond his scope. His efforts are towards explaining the seriousness and extent of the problem.
The most prevalent term in this article is Boko Haram. The subject of the article is Boko Haram, and the article follows the growth of this organization and its present state. Its mechanism is closely followed through in this article. The manner in which the sect lures people and then intimidates them in order to fulfill their objectives is explained in detail.
Another important term is Islamic. The term Islamic is basically used to denote the religion of Islam and its teachings. Boko Haram’s main objective is to create an Islamic state, which is based on the teachings of Islam and opposes Western education. It is evident that Boko Haram does not follow through with all the teachings of Islam, as Islam is against violence and supports peace. Mohammad Yusuf himself goes against Islamic teachings by preaching on Weekdays. Essentially this term is used as a manipulation technique by Boko Haram for their own objectives.
The two leading propositions presented by the author in the articles are-
- Boko Haram progressed mainly because of the corruption prevalent in the upper class and Government.
This proposition is supported by the argument that the establishment, as well as Mohammed Yusuf, received considerable support from the Government. In exchange for votes, Sherif privately collaborated with Yusuf, which showcases that the sect in some way was encouraged by the Government (Walker, 2016, p.1). The contribution of the upper class is evident by the fact that Yusuf succeeded in expanding his power because of the radicalism present in the wealthy individuals of the society.
- Boko Haram’s ideology is that people should either join their cause or lose their lives.
This ideology is evident with the argument provided in the article that the sect does not care about killing people who do not believe in their objectives. There were several incidents of violence that have been cited, like bombing, the killing of people in prison, and assassinations.
The author of this article discusses two prominent problems- Boko Haram’s ideology and the poverty rampant in the Nigerian economy. Throughout the article, there was a lot of focus on the cause of the problems and the extent of it, but the author does not provide any solutions. Walker is aware of the fact that he is not offering any solutions because these problems are out of his scope. He understands the fact that he does not carry the influence or power that is needed to solve the problem. The only thing that he can do is spread awareness about the problem through his articles. There are no other problems that he has created in the article.
The article is definitely informative. As the title suggests, “Join Us or Die: The Birth of Boko Haram” article describes the origin of Boko Haram and its ideology in detail. The element that is disagreeable is its persuasive tone. The article seems to have the motive to make readers have a particular opinion. The opinion the article seems to want to impress is that Boko Haram is violent, selfish, and sadistic. Even if the opinion is factually correct and supported by evidence, an article should always attempt to be unbiased. Even if the author felt discomfort in supporting the ideology of Boko Haram, he should have tried to incorporate the opinion of some people being positively affected by Boko Haram. The author does it briefly with the reflections of Abu Dujana, but the balance of perspectives is overwhelming. There are many more negative reflections in the article. The author should always allow the reader to form his or her own opinion and provide them with all the facts, keeping his or her opinion aside. In the article, supportive facts about Boko Haram’s objectives are not provided.
This analysis makes it clear that Nigeria is in a state of great distress. Nigerian civilians are caught between the violent scuffle between the governmental authorities and Boko Haram. The Government is mercilessly torturing them with poverty, through their ridiculous provisions. Boko Haram is inviting them forcefully to accept an ideology that is dangerous and absolutist. It is evident that no one has the best interests in their heart. Throughout the article, Walker attempts to make people aware of the manipulation that is taking place in Nigeria. However, in doing so, the article becomes persuasive. The article analysis reveals the support and disheartening feelings Walker has for Nigeria and its people.
Walker, A. (2016). Join us or die: the birth of Boko Haram. The Guardian. Retrieved November 30, 2022, from https://amp.theguardian.com/world/2016/feb/04/join-us-or-die-birth-of-boko-haram