‘Absence makes the heart grow fonder’. Home on sick leave from Anglophone West Cameroon Fr Arnold Verhoeven mhm lets his heart speak as he reflects on what has been happening in this part of the country over the past year and a half. Anger over the violent repression visited upon the people he has loved and served for nearly fifty years boils over in a passionate plea for justice – a thunderous ‘j’accuse’.
This is the final instalment of a three part series.
Agonisingly slow death-knell
The intended gradual dwarfing and annihilation of the Anglophones and their identity never succeeded in 60 years. Their culture shows an inborn absolute resilience. This has been too much for la République to bear. Frustration with the failed policy and seeing the Anglophone culture waxing stronger and more militant instead, brings on the fatal resolution to enforce possessive rights by sheer barbarity. Which unarmed civilian population could face a well-trained, well-equipped, well-provided for professional army, with full support from the international community and with only one aim: carnage, arson, armed robbery, plunder, looting, genocide? Is this all the sense left to help a country be one and indivisible? Anglophones thus learn more and more clearly that if they stay with the Francophone population in one nation, they will have no future, no hope; they face a gradual extermination. Anglophone bishops, with a full knowledge of what is the inside of the Anglophone problem, have made heroic and wise contributions towards solutions, only to be discarded, condemned and attacked by those who know nothing about what they are talking about! They only impose. Just five years ago the great majority of Anglophones was proud of their nationality, even though the present basic misgivings were all abroad! Now they know better: they will have only one human right to exercise: the right to perish.
Integrity of the nation
What the international community today –with Catalonia on their minds? – stands for is ‘national integrity’. IS INTEGRITY ONLY LINES ON A POLITICAL MAP? For Cameroun to maintain its political map, the world silently makes allowances for its true lack of integrity. Barbarity will do. State armed robbery-vandalism-arson, murder, rape, repression: all will do. Ample allowance for lies, deception, corruption, and plain crime. The more Anglophones demand full respect for their identity and culture, the more these ‘terrorists’ must be exterminated. The international funds for BIR or ESIR support the annihilation and gradual genocide of a nation, which has displayed far more civility, self-restraint, and non-violence than Cameroun has ever acknowledged or shown. A civil population is in disarray, shot and killed from helicopters in their private homes; heavily drilled anti-terrorist troops randomly break into private homes to catch people like animals for the slaughter, brutalize and torture them, kill when they feel like, vandalize the property and make off. Objectors are seriously brutalized. People are chased into the forest; if they die, all the better. Mass arrests, only for robbery sake. We defend our national values by trampling on any and all of them. Britain calls that moral equivalence?? Cameroun offers Cameroon ‘a hand of friendship’ like the cannibal in ‘The Silence of the Lambs’: “I am having a ‘friend’ for dinner!” Anglophones need not have other illusions: the daily barbarity they meet says it all. Cameroun sings ‘their’ national anthem: L’étendard sanglant est levé! BIS! LOUDER PLEASE!! But the tyranny is their own, ever louder.
Honour your nation
The body lying in the open in Kembong, days and weeks after the man was cruelly butchered on Cameroun’s authority by their ‘brave’ professional troops, would not be buried by the same authority! He remained there to show the Cameroun nation in a mirror what is left of them: voracious wild animals on the rampage, no humanity left; indeed, as one of these elite troops said: “Dieu, c’est QUOI?”. Such ‘national spirituality’ has consequences and brings about what we see: “Ecce homo!” The perpetrator? Or the victim?
Cameroun!! Is that barbarity all that is left of you? Have you no people who understand that the failed policies of the past 60 years have brought us into a total mess instead of bringing two people to live and work happily in harmony? Did all this carnage serve any of your purposes? Are you greater now? Are you planning for the restitution of all criminal damage to “your friend’s” land? As the regime wants the two ‘friends’ to be ‘one and indivisible’, let them learn from the brave change in leadership of the Francophone Archbishop Kleda who struggled to know and appreciate more of the inside of the Anglophone problem. That is the only practical and humane way forward. Cameroun can produce more such people. Cameroun can sideline those who can no longer make that change!!! Let dialogue make sense. There is no dialogue if only one side is allowed to impose its position. Let both honour their nation and each other.
What happens in Anglophone Cameroon today is genocide. Some great nations call that an internal affair and ‘wash their hands’ while they provide Cameroun with all they need for their crimes!!! A whole professional army to shoot an old, decrepit woman demonstrator to death. A whole professional army to burn a 96-old woman to death. Is that what they call moral equivalence? Military support and a conspiracy of silence that helps the murderers makes anyone full accomplices in this blatant ‘international’ crime. Leaving any part of military capability, offered by international cooperation, to the discretion of the Biya regime is supporting a murderer on a massive scale. Boko Haram is for this regime a welcome excuse to gain more support for the Anglophone extermination. France and Britain, with their recent agreement to jointly increase military operations in the ‘Sahel’, are well aware of this ‘side-operation’ of the Biya regime and should stop it where they can. Both nations have spawned the historical blunders that have led to this Cameroon carnage; they cannot just walk off in innocence, whatever legal fine points they think they can hide behind.