Dear Boko Haram,
You have the most ridiculous name of a terrorist organization in the world. Although it’s your unofficial name, your official one is not much better either: The Congregation of the People of Tradition for Proselytism and Jihad. You’ve been known in the media by Boko Haram for more than a decade, which means, at least in the mind of most of news readers, “Western Education is Forbidden.” Not only are the two words from different languages, Hausa and Arabic, also no one knows the exact meaning of the first. You probably meant by the Hausa word “Boko” all things Western culture.
You could use some education to learn how to find on the Internet better potential names. With some research, you’d learn that when you’re starting a terrorist organization, you should opt for a name that makes people shudder at its mention. It should also make a clear statement of how armed, dangerous and explosive you are, like Irish National Liberation Army, Red Hand Commando or Islamic Jihad (Arabic for “holy war”). There isn’t a shortage in good examples that boldly claim that violence and mayhem is the modus operandi: Armed Islamic Group of Algeria, Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, Libyan Islamic Fighting Group.
You might prefer an even more belligerent name that shows that your followers are ready-to-blow-themselves-up brave like al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades. Additionally, some groups prefer animals in their names (make sure it’s a ferocious one!) like Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam or Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (well, at least they’re not “doves”). Compare your “Boko Harm” to others with grand claims of heavenly support like Hezbollah, meaning “Party of God,” and Jundallah, “Soldiers of God.”
Is your “heroic struggle” really against just education or culture from the West? I sometimes wonder why would a deadly and ruthless group of Nigerian extremists be content with that label? It lacks any powerful words like movement, army, forces, defenders or brotherhood. With such a soft, wimpy name, you’d think your target is schoolgirls. Oh, wait, actually you’ve been doing a lot of that recently.
If you’re still out of ideas, learn to use Facebook and you’re guaranteed to find many radicals and supporters around the world willing to collaborate on your rebranding efforts. Just don’t sign up using the name Faceboko Haram, you won’t be taken seriously. Finally, you could contact me and you won’t regret it. I’m a well-known film director and in my movie Kill Bill, I coined the name “The Deadly Viper Assassination Squad.” Although it’s slightly long, it checks all the boxes for a great name.
By the way, don’t seek help from your fellow jihadists at “Al-Qaeda” (it means “the base”!). With a name like that, they need help themselves.
Note: The above letter is fictional, but the facts in it are not.