By Rania Fazah
During one of my interviews (meetings) with a woman volunteer in Nigeria active in deradicalization programs, a woman mid-40s wearing the traditional outfit, covering herself from head to toe with a colorful pattern! My assumption when I met her, this is a happy woman! (in conflict contexts don’t assume peace fighters are happy). I asked her what was her motivation to join the program to deradicalize youth? Why she chose to get involved with the “BOKO Haram” men. She looked me in the eye and said: “I did not choose them, they chose me! They took my baby and my man! They won the minds and hearts of both my kid and husband and recruited them… I lost 2 men to them, and I want them back. I am bedfellows with Boko Haram!” She continued to say “I was nobody, I suffered stigma and exclusion for being a mom of a dead Boko Haram fighter, a widow of a Book Haram fighter no one would talk to me, no one would even sell me rice! But I know why my son went, and why my man went? They wanted to be seen! I want to be seen also… I want to be heard! This program did not only deradicalized 23 young men; it revived my soul and made me visible!”
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