‘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 part 1 of a three part series.
Back in Kembong, with bishop Andrew Nkea of Mamfe. The smell of smoldering fires penetrated all I could think of: the wanton killing, torture, vandalism and arson, and… innocent suffering. The eagerness of Cameroon’s ‘elite’ troops to cause a carnage here among the unarmed civilian population had emptied the large village of its total population. The smell, the sight, the silence carried an eerie message: this is Cameroun’s vision and future for Anglophone Cameroon. No one mentions any plan B. Here is home. The army on the rampage speaks French. If only you too speak French they will come closer to you and confide: “We know that 100% of the population here is our enemy”. A truism. That’s why the army, the government and the president call “all” these people “terrorists”. That easiest of terms must defend their atrocities over against the international community.
Aren’t we all obliged to eliminate terrorism all together?
To live or not to live, that is the question
Anglophones are die-hard, non-violent, unbending activists. They have lived admirably through a standing pernicious provocation for 60 years: Cameroun’s covert, deceptively gradual, annihilation of all things Cameroonian, except –ostentatiously-, English, and that only when it suits. The result of any referendum already firmly in the minds of government: there cannot be any referendum!! They know that democracy is no friend! Therefore, the president of Cameroun has declared war on all of Cameroon: enemies, terrorists, 100%, just over 3 million of them. The international community must be sorry for Cameroun, having to cope with such an overwhelming terrorist problem. In the process the 3 million Anglophones are taught that la République has no room, no plans for them other than total repression, oppression, suppression, annihilation of anything Anglophone within Cameroun’s untouchable ‘conquest’ territory. The Anglophone perception is: From the Nigerian border roughly 40-50 kilometers into Anglophone land, looted, plundered or not, all has been ‘cleared’ and ‘scorched’ to be a shooting range for the elite forces: anyone seen moving inside it is dead. What is more human: to die at their hands? Or to be one of them and their piecemeal carnage!!?
Anglophones: 3 million but one.
How many have been killed? How many ran into the forest and were never seen again? How many reached one of the five UN refugee camps across the Nigerian border? Fear grips all. Defenseless civilians are attacked by heavily trained and armed ‘professionals’ of Cameroun, financed, equipped and trained by the ‘international community’, which is really a main co-perpetrator of this genocide. The fanatic ways in which Cameroun hides their atrocities from the public forum shows clearly that they are fully aware that they are happily mauling a nation to death, committing crimes against humanity and war crimes. Does not genocide begin as soon as the first person is killed not for what he does but for who he is? Cameroun invites Cameroon to come and dialogue, but only about their own greedy interests; Cameroon’s interests cannot even be brought to the table. Very well, Cameroun, just talk! What you want to talk about is what you have pursued for the past sixty years. And you cannot see the miserable mess you have created and keep creating on a grand scale. Un seul mot: continuez.