This is week 11 and day 77 for the missing Nigerian School girls abducted by Boko Haram on 14/4/14.

On 10/6/14 –20 more women abducted (

On 25/6/14 — 60 more women and girls  (


Thin Air?

Where are all the women?  Where are the girls? Where are they? You ask, they ask, we ask.

Look for them, figure it out, find them, bring them back.

So we do our part. We investigate, collect data, do interviews, send troops, tweet, write poems, tell stories, draw conclusions, develop theories, declare war, send arms, make a documentary, sign agreements, declare promises, change the laws, say we are feminist, humanist and every kind of ‘ist.’

But they still don’t appear. Not as artists, not as directors, not as CEOs, not as writers, not as dancers, actors, singers, painters or even just the school girls.

So we debate.  We talk about colour. And politics. And race. And religion. And tribe. And gender. And violence. And rape. And terrorism. And every other ‘ism’.

But still no women. Still no girls. In fact, even more have disappeared since then, but we don’t talk about that; it is too embarrassing? How can the girls and women all have just disappeared? Disappeared just like that into thin air?

So we reflect. We ask what is thin air?  Where is thin air? We don’t see her, this thing called thin air. But we breathe her.  We smell her. We know she is there. Because if she wasn’t we would all be dead. We need air. Thin air.

We ask the world’s best scientists again, tell us about thin air.Where is it? And what is it? This thin air. What is that particular quality of thin air, which swallows girls and women and makes them invisible? Where is the thin air which drowns girls and makes them silent?

Everyone says the same thing. We know she is there because we need her, we breathe her, we smell her, we hear her in the wind. But we don’t see her either. Where is she? That woman? That girl? Where the hell are they?



About the author: Farah Ahamed’s short stories have been published by Kwani?, Bridge  House, Fey Publishing and New Lit Salon Press. Farah’s excellent blog can be found at

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