Monday, January 6, 2020

Etoudi: The Toast of Death

Nothing stops them. As if the misfortunes of a whole people fed their ego, as if the decrepitude of the nation lubricated their desire for power, those who govern us constantly show off their well-being, display their artifices of wealth. They dance when Bamenda burns. They feast when Buea is on fire. Ngouache makes them smile and Boko Haram becomes a hobby. Everything happens as if it were a question of defying the plebs, of taunting the miserable who dare to contradict their atavistic power. The ostentatious enjoyment then turns into a mode of government.

Three years ago, the King-president himself opened the big ball of festivities by offering himself a limousine as long as his reign even as blood began to flow in the Noso. Since then, his horde of servants and courtiers has given himself to heart. Some are returned to the dealership to acquire a state-of-the-art sedan. Others have turned into builders and are now competing in skill in the construction of scrapers. Still others preferred more trivial things. Endless parties often broadcast live on television. Wedding of the son here, baptism of the girl there, birthday of the cousin further, everything is good for running champagne. And when the Queen-president gets involved in the dance, the notes become tense and the note gets thicker. She brings singer Singuila to celebrate her 49th birthday. We know that for this kind of service, the singer of Central African and Congolese origin does not appear at less than 20 million CFA francs.

A few weeks later, she puts the cover back on and invites the Nigerian megastar Wizkid for endless year-end feasts. Wizkid's prices in the Showbizz are known. It does not travel for less than 50 million CFA francs. The video that circulates shows a hilarious and unbridled Queen who accompanies her daughter's dance steps with the young singer. Let us understand each other well. The portal for Cameroonians in Belgium (@ Ultimately it is not this waste instituted at the top of the State that shocks. The fact is also not new and cannot move the Cameroonians that we are. What revolts is the media coverage that is made of it. It is this unhealthy and indecent exhibitionism. Did you see me shameless even as the country is going through one of the most tragic periods in its history. And do not be led to believe that these images were taken without the knowledge of the main concerned. We are talking about the state summit where enforcing a closed door is just a routine.

Grotesque and obscene
Obviously, those who govern us want to stage themselves. Why, then ? Have they lost any ounce of humanism? Are they so insensitive to the lamentations of a desperate people? It is difficult to evoke this obsession with the party (tinged with macabre indifference for the people) without referring to the deciphering that Achille Mbembe makes of it. "The grotesque and the obscene are part of the proper identity of regimes of domination in postcolony", writes the Cameroonian philosopher. A propensity for lust which is necessarily accompanied by libidinal inflation perceptible to all strata of power.

The desolate spectacle of young girls parading all day long in public administrations (sometimes in class attire) speaks volumes about these men's appetite for “fresh flesh”. It is "The obsession with orifices, smells and genitals dominates", our Mbembe taking up in this the views of the Congolese novelist Sony Labou Tansi. “This prevalence of orifices and protrusions must be interpreted in relation to two factors among several others. The first arises from the fact that the command, in postcolony, is of a luxurious temperament. Celebrations and festivities constitute, in this respect, two of the privileged methods by which it is expressed. But the language of its forms and its symbols is, above all, the mouth, the penis and the belly, ”he specifies.

“Any relationship with the mouth, stomach or penis is, therefore, a discourse on the world and on wealth, its capture, its reproduction and its dissipation; a way of self-interpreting, of negotiating with the world and with the forces that move it, ”he writes again. With Mbembe everything therefore becomes clear: “Festivals and celebrations constitute the quintessential modalities of the expression of command. The obesity of men in power, their overweight, or, more prosaically, the flood of excrement which are the counterpart, signal to the people who play, laugh, have fun and, occasionally, eat. They are part of the system of clues and traces that the command leaves on its path, thus allowing us to follow the routes taken by violence and domination and, if necessary,

For the thinker, the mouth, the belly and the penis, which verbal acts and popular laughter deal with, say above all a relation to time, play, pleasure, death. It is said that in Etoudi they spent up to a billion CFA francs on champagne for the end of the year. No doubt they clinked with flowing blood. It is the essence of their power.