Friday, February 14, 2020

Anglophone Crisis: 'How did we get there at NOSO ...' by Douala Ngando

Beyond the various assertions, the War in Cameroon is a Question of Translation and not of "Bilingualism".

On February 10, 2020, President Paul Biya addressed the youth of Cameroon throughout the territory, they say, that is to say in French and in English, asking the Cameroonian Anglophone Youth to deposit arms. It should be noted that more than three years before, Paul Biya had declared war on this Cameroonian youth. The tragedy is that this speech is made as part of the February 11 Youth Day. 

You understand, the Cameroon of Paul Biya is at war against his youth in general and against Anglophone youth in particular. I would like to take the opportunity of this February 11, day of youth celebration to remind the foundations of this war of the Yaoundé regime against its people and its youth. But before I present you some quick indications to illustrate the situation of this absurd war: 

The regime of Yaoundé is made up of a tiny group of old men who have invested all the resources of Cameroon in the training of Young Cameroonians to kill themselves. Why don't these young people let these old people go to war themselves? 

The three highest personalities of the state of Cameroon exceed every 80 years and direct Cameroon from Swiss and French hospitals. Why do young people not claim these places? 

The war in northwest and southwest Anglophone Cameroon has already killed more than 30,000 people (all young civilians and young soldiers from Cameroon). A real tragedy in the middle of the 21st century. Why do young people accept this unnecessary sacrifice?

February 11 in Cameroon marks the celebration of Youth, born from a desire to bring together young people from the two parts of the country born of decolonization: Eastern Cameroon (French-speaking), and West Cameroon (English-speaking). In fact, on February 11, 1961, following a referendum, the southern part of English-speaking Cameroon became part of French-speaking Cameroon. In Ahidjo's time, this feast of February 11 marked the importance and the rights of young people in the country. In preparation for this event, many activities (Dances, Exhibition of Folk Cultures, theater, competitions, games and other sports activities) were organized in high schools, university campuses, within associations and in various cities and districts of the country. This is to allow the development and celebration of Youth. 

Today under Paul Biya, this feast of February 11 comes down to an administrative parade of different schools in an indescribable decor and disorder. And all this in front of a bed of bedridden people who imagine themselves in the chair of a Kim Jong-Un or a Lenin during these big parades on the Kimm II-Sung squares in North Korea or on the red square in Moscow . In short, true dictator apprentices who bathe in carefree, laziness and servitude. In this year 2020, this celebration of Cameroonian youth and reunification took a tragic turn because the regime of Yaoundé tried to force the French-speaking youth to go to vote and celebrate while the English-speaking youth buries their dead with the participation of young soldiers. 

How did we get there ? 

The regime's layers firmly believe that this war is a question of bilingualism, while the general opinion of Cameroonians is a question of independence. To appreciate this opposition of view, it must be emphasized that after reunification, Cameroon had become bilingual. The two Cameroonians were committed to having a prosperous country with the development of their population. This was the only point of agreement between Anglophones and Francophones because what follows will show that everything else was just a set of disagreements which could be summed up in a question of translation. Anglophones, with a large part of Cameroonians , translate prosperity as a Cameroon directed "according to the law". While the Yaoundé regime, with a bunch of French-speaking barkers, translate prosperity as a Cameroon into a perfect colony of France. It is therefore a problem of translation and not of bilingualism. 

Instead of taking into account this difference of point of view and putting the Cameroonians around a table to debate it, the regime of Yaoundé strives, in a criminal frenzy, to multiply acts of communication on bilingualism without any importance and whose impact lasts only the beat time of the wing of a firefly. We can cite the creation of a bilingualism and multiculturalism commission in 2017 which simply ignited the war which was already in full swing. We can also mention the creation of the special statute for the North-West and South-West regions, whose focus on bilingualism quite simply forced the English-speaking youth to activate the secession movement. And not least, in January 2020, the Minister of the Public Service will launch a direct competition for the special recruitment of 500 translator-interpreters to register only fifty applications. With this last example, it would seem that faced with the damage caused by these violent pachyderms in the porcelain store (Cameroon), the translation literally or figuratively is no longer relevant. It’s really serious.

Despite all these shortcomings of the virtual bilingualism advocated by the regime and which results in the almost inexistence of competent translators, all expressions relating to struggle and resistance are often translated in Cameroon with more or less efficiency. And this is not a surprise because Cameroon is a country of struggle and resistance. 

Thus, after more than 3 years of war by English-speaking Cameroonians in self-defense against the violence of the Yaoundé regime, French-speaking Cameroonians are increasingly planning to enter into open revolt against the Yaoundé regime because the same causes lead to the same effects. The gratuitous and indiscriminate violence of the Yaoundé regime against French-speaking Cameroonians has reached an unbearable level both in terms of their variety and their cruelty. When a regime imposes war, unemployment and colonial violence on its people, this people must oppose "war" (English word for war) in the name of "self defense" (English word for self defense) and according to the principle of the sacrosanct "retaliation" (English word which means reprisals). The growl spreads like cancer, from our cities to our countryside and from our countryside to the diaspora. Hopefully we don't get there. 

As you well understood, Cameroon is installed in a deep misunderstanding which opposes the Cameroonian youth, thirsty for freedom and pride against the regime in power passionate about servitude. This cleavage which we have described as a confusion between bilingualism and translation, is so great that the Yaoundé regime has almost abandoned entire areas of Cameroon to foreign forces (Boko Haram in North Cameroon and the Balaka and Anti B in the East of Cameroon) to devote all the power of the Cameroonian army to the massacres of the Cameroonian Youth in the NO-SO, under the blessing of France and the UN. And the English then?

Journalist: Douala Ngando