Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Diplomatic Crisis: Macky Sall violently attacked Paul Biya

'It's always difficult to deal in public with private business'

The President of Senegal, Macky Sall, violently attacked the head of state of Cameroon, Paul Biya. What is doing? Macky Sall, who does not hide his opposition to Paul Biya, would have offered a diplomatic passport to Achille Mbembe, a Cameroonian opponent.

The case is making a splash in West Africa and the other side in Central Africa. And it is considered a big pavement thrown by the Senegalese leader in the garden of his Cameroonian counterpart. 

The reaction of the Cameroonian opponent 

It is always difficult to deal in private business. But the news is now public. To the Republic of Senegal, I would like to publicly express my deepest gratitude. Senegal is a very large country in our intellectual, artistic and cultural history. He has left us some of our greatest thinkers and writers, women and men without whom it would have been difficult for us to go proudly in front of the world, and to dialogue with him with open eyes. 

For my part, I have drawn from all hands in this rich heritage and I have, more than reason, been the object of care in this country. As an example, I spent crucial years of my own life in Dakar, one of the few "open cities" of our continent. I lived in Yoff, very close to Leopold Sedar Senghor airport. My two neighbors were the novelist and filmmaker Sembene Ousmane and the great sculptor Ousmane Sow. I worked near the University Cheikh Anta Diop. 

The first Cameroonian President, Ahmadou Ahidjo, rests in a cemetery not far from Yoff. And one of my first acts when I arrived in Dakar in 1996 was to go and collect myself on his grave, even though in relation to those of whom I am the descendant in spirit, he showed great cruelty. In another of the Dakar cemeteries is one of my closest intellectual friends, Tshikala Kayembe Biaya, a Congolese born in Kasai, and probably one of the most curious minds of his time.
I return to Dakar whenever I have the opportunity and I am proud to contribute to the intellectual influence of Senegal and Africa through, among others, workshops of thought of Dakar with Felwine, we have set up. Not once in these long years have I been treated like a stranger. We choose neither the place of our birth nor our parents. I was born in Africa. Africa is our promise to all. My fate is linked to his as well as to that of our world as a whole. With many others, my big dream is that she will stand on her own legs and become her own power, a vast space of free stay and free movement for all her children. 

Thus, each of them will truly count and, braving mortal risks, no one will be forced to travel far away, to countries where no one expects it, or no one wants him, and where in all ways he will end up being brutalized and forever hurt. Many of us, along the way, are forced or choose to live away from their country of birth. Some opt for other nationalities. I am proud that Senegal - and therefore Africa - offers me shelter and a place of rest for the spirit, a place where I am not constantly put in residence to justify who I am, even persecuted. 

I will not go back to how Cameroon has treated some of those who came before us - Ruben Um Nyobe, Felix Moumie, Abel Kingue, Osende Afana, Mongo Beti, Engelbert Mveng, Jean-Marc Ela, Fabien Eboussi Boulaga and many other. I will not mention the extraordinary ordeal or the stress and anguish experienced by those who live outside of the city of getting papers or renewing them. 

That a normally constituted state consciously chooses to expose its people in this way in these times of suspicion of the foreigner, of regressive nationalism, and of the closing of identity, is something that is very difficult for me to understand. I would like, along with others, to hope that one day, it will be different.