Monday, October 4, 2010

DESCRIPTION OF CAMEROON (From the political thriller "Triple Agent, Double Cross")

Cameroon on a Map of the World

 Part I ( from the book "Triple Agent, Double Cross)

The African Pearl

If you board a plane or ship plying any of the international routes and ask to be taken to the heart of Africa, do not be surprised to find yourself disembarking in Cameroon. It is a beautiful country per se,  situated opposite the middle portion of Brazil, on the eastern side of the Atlantic Ocean. Bordered by six countries of which Nigeria is the most prominent neighbor, Cameroon appears on maps like a heavily pregnant mother carrying a baby on her back. .
     This peculiar geopolitical entity was created by accident and apportioned to Germany during the 1884 Berlin conference that carved up Africa. Berlin treated German Kamerun as its treasured colony for thirty-two years until Great Britain and France captured the land during the First World War, partitioned it into British Cameroons and French Cameroun, and then went on to lord it over the people for four decades. However, they too were challenged by Cameroonian nationalists who campaigned for the divided territory’s reunification and self-rule. Today, English and French are the country’s official languages, mirroring the dominance of the two Indo-European languages in Africa.
      They say the gods have a design even in the most outrageous acts of mortals. If that is the case, then it also applies to Cameroon. The country has defied so many odds in its history that the people now pride themselves with the saying that “Impossible isn’t a Cameroonian word.”
      Renowned voices tend to call Cameroon “Africa in miniature”, not only because of its fanciful shape and turbulent history, but also because of the physical and human aspects of its geography. It is the point in Africa where the East meets the West and where the North meets the South. It is a country that features plains and mountains, plateaus and valleys, rivers and seas, lakes and waterfalls and other landmarks that mirror the rest of Africa. The south is dominated by equatorial and tropical rainforests, the north is covered by Sahelian vegetation, and the middle portion of the country is graced with high savannah of mixed grassland and forest. In fact, all the different flora and fauna in Africa can be found in this carelessly drawn triangle called Cameroon.
     The curious eye is apt to notice varying statures, facial types and shades of complexion as it travels throughout Cameroon—a legacy of the territory’s history as the crossroads of African migrations. Anthropological linguists hold that all of Africa’s four major language groups converge in Cameroon.
     The southern portion of the country is the base from where Bantu speakers spread to southern and eastern Africa. The furthest spread of Afro-Asiatic peoples is in the north of this territory, featuring groups like the Semitic-speaking Arabs, Berber-speaking Tuaregs, Chadic-speaking Hausas and Batas, and Fula or Fulfulde-speaking Fulanis or Peuls. Nilo-Saharan speakers dominate the north of the country in their furthest spread to the west of the continent. Also present in Cameroon are small ethnicities of the fourth major subgroup (Niger-Congo A) that occupy the southwestern border regions with Nigeria. Settled in the northwestern portion of the country that looks like the pregnant part of mother Cameroon is the fifth and unique indigenous group that you will find only in Cameroon. Called semi-Bantu, Graffi or southern Bantoid, this group has characteristics of all the four major language groups or sub-races in Africa. Legends and lore hold that semi-Bantus are originally of Afro-Asiatic and Nilo-Saharan descent and that they assimilated all the peoples they encountered in the course of their migration. The Bamileké people are the dominant ethnicity in this group.
      It is true that Cameroon’s human and physical wealth has been the source of its turbulent history, its pride and the ingredients that give its people a unique flavor. The flavor has produced colorful Cameroonian characters that the curious eye and mind is likely to enjoy by hating or loving them, pitying or angrily denouncing them. These characters provide insights into the human nature and the African continent that is haunted by leaders with the evil disposition.
     While other African peoples have picked up arms and warred among themselves to have their country split up, Cameroon is the only geo-political entity in the continent whose inhabitants went to war to reunite its people separated by the legacy of Anglo-French partition of the former German colony of Kamerun. It is the only country where those who fought for its reunification and independence are yet to assume political power, as they continue to languish from the defeat suffered in the hands of the French overlords and the puppets they installed in power. It is the land where you will find Africa’s biggest political deception and sleaziest mafia. It is the country in Africa with the lowest number of heads of state in its history, yet it is a country that is unlikely to engage in internecine war to get rid of the suffocating system. 
     In the middle of the twentieth century, a child was born in Cameroon who by the age of ten, proved he could become anything he wanted to be. This child prodigy happened to be the son of a soldier of the Free French Forces that fought across the African desert and liberated France from German occupation during the Second World WarThe boy looked up to his revolutionary father as the greatest source of inspiration in his life. But how he ended up serving those who wrecked his world is the riddle the rest of the story is going to unravel...

(Culled from Triple Agent, Double Cross)

Part II: Afterthought on 07/04/2015: Cameroon as a Hijacked Nation

In power since 1982 is Africa's absentee dictator Paul Biya, who was made the successor of his predecessor Ahmadou Ahidjo by an order from former French President Francoise Mitterand; Ahidjo, who himself was brought to power by the French to usurp the aspirations of Cameroonians in their liberation struggle led by the UPC that the French banned in 1955, a party with more than 80% of the land's intellectuals and even more national support. France had made sure Ahidjo's power was secured by decimating its support base in a 12-year war against the party and by killing all the UPC leaders (Un Nyobe 1958, Felix Moumie in Geneva 1960, Ossende Ofana 1966, Ernest Ouandie 1971 etc.), leaving Cameroon a nation haunted by an "Unfinished Liberation Struggle". Today, Cameroonians are out not only to get rid of the Dictator Biya's autocracy, but also to get rid of the French-imposed system that its custodians want to continue with someone else after Paul Biya departs.

Part III: Cameroon under an oppressive system and  haunted by Terrorism

Compounded by the retrogressive system and the lunacy of the Biya regime is the specter of Boko Haram that started haunting northern Cameroon a few years ago, a distorted form of Islam espoused by a group that sees glory in the murder of the innocent (women, children and other civilians), a spillover from Nigeria's religious tension and an amalgamation of geopolitics as foreign interests extend the exploitation of resources in the Lake Chad basin. Only a Cameroon rid of the retrogressive French-imposed system and headed by those who put the interest of the land above their personal interests or the interests of foreign entities who have no genuine concern for the land, can the citizens of Cameroon be certain that the country and government would be able to handle the insecurity posed by anti-people and dehumanized groups like Boko-Haram. In fact, Boko-Haram in North Cameroon and the system/Biya regime are in symbiosis as they make each other relevant in a space where both are loathed by the vast majority of Cameroonians.


1 comment:

  1. This is a very apt description of Cameroon and Cameroonians. A people of two sub-cultures, sharing so much in difference but in perfect agreement to accommodate each other!