Blood For Tears

ARREY- ECHI
Posted November 23, 2020 from Cameroon
Graphic picture done after the Kumba Massacre, as seen on Facebook.
Graphic picture done after the Kumba Massacre, as seen on Facebook. (1/1)

I woke up this day very excited to face the day. I was to be a panelist on a 10+2 part Amplify Sickle Cell Disease Voices. I was excited because we have been working hard on this and it was now time to share the knowledge with the world. My excitement turned to trepidition when network issues in my country Cameroon, made it difficult for me to carry on.

I was angry when the network became steady an hour after the event was over and I decided to crawl into my bed and sleep. I wished I had followed through with the desire to sleep. Of course, the news flying everywhere would have been difficult to escape. Just maybe, I would have delayed myself from getting the news and get that much needed sleep if, I had followed through with my plans to sleep and not browse the net.

24th October 2020 has gone down in the history of the Anglophone crisis as the day never to be forgotten. It was the day our individual and collective feelings froze for hours and then came crashing down with a heavy, indescrible pain at the cheap,wanton disregard of life.

When innocent kids...kids with so much to live for and dreams to achieve are attacked and gunned down as spoils of war, then you know humanity lost it.

These kids, assured they could now peacefully go to school, left their homes in high spirits, for the quest of an education to fulfill the dreams they have for themselves and by the end of the day, they were gone. Gone like the wind. The senseless, wanton disregard and destruction of lives of innocent helpless kids sent chills down my spine. For a moment, I tried to picture myself in that sacred classroom of knowledge  now descreted by the split inncoent blood of these kids. I tried to imagine how they would have raised their books and pens in defense as their brains were blown off in close range by heartless individuals while screaming for mama and papa and I died a thousand times over.

I imagined if I could feel this way miles away, how could the parents and siblings of these innocent kids feel?

It's been four years. Four years of living in fear. Four years of uncertainty. Four years of immeasurable lost. Four years of shattered lives and dreams. Four years of mental and emotional trauma.  Four years of watching our people being slaughtered, maimed, displaced while the world largely turns a blind eye and maintains a stoic silence.

Kumba was just one of many. There have been Ngarbuh. And just before we could try to absorb what really happened in Kumba, there was Limbe. There was Nkambe and there continue to be many other places.

This wasn't what the common man on the street bargained for when lawyers and teachers went to the streets in 2016 to protest the marginalization of the English Speaking Minority  Cameroonians. All they ever wanted was to live their lives as equal citizens in the place they called home. Today, they have become bargaining chips in the hands of the military, separatist fighters and the new one we hear daily "unidentifiied gunmen".

While all these go on, the common man carries the emotional, financial, mental, physical and whatever bondage as they are left directly in the face of a burning furnace they didn't ask for.

The disabled live in dread. The elderly have no strength to run and several have died, burnt or shot at in their homes. The women have been wailing for four years. They have been on the frontlines calling for peace. Their wails have refused to stop while they witness the carnage taking away their husbands, sons and kids.

And yet, the world is mostly silent.

For some of us living in the French part of the country, we feel sad and frustrated that we cannot visit home and family again that easy. We feel restless, worrying about our friends and family in the thick of things. We feel angry and disappointed and very frustrated when plans to carry out activities are yet again suspended because of the unrest and in our frustrations, we feel guilty, thinking about those directly exposed to the furnace which keeps getting hot and intensely burning daily and when we see how seemlessly life goes on where we are, the guilt intensifies.

Peace has been elusive for four good years. Peace, even a semblance of peace could mean kids going to school without fear of being killed because of their quest for knowledge. Peace could mean people in the English Speaking regions of Cameroon could readily sleep with both eyes covered without the fear of being gunned down or raped or maimed. Peace could mean the elderly and disabled are given a chance to live life and die in dignity. Peace could mean some of us would live life as it is without that guilt or restlessness worrying if our people are well or being slaughtered. Peace could mean the willingness to #EndTheAnglophoneCrisis and they be left to enjoy equal opportunities within the land they call home. Peace could mean being able to travel without fear of being kidnapped or killed. It could mean a lot of things for the common man...

And finally, peace could mean women and others wailing and raising their voices will no longer shed blood for tears.

This story was submitted in response to Peace for Cameroon.

Comments 13

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Jill Langhus
Nov 23, 2020
Nov 23, 2020

Hello Arrey Love,

I hear you. I'm at a loss to know what to say anymore. I know it's been going on for four years, but I can't believe that it has, without no outside, or inside, intervention. I just keep praying every day for all the Cameroonian Anglophones, especially my sisters, and their friends and families, to be protected. It seems that's all I can do now. I'm afraid to ask what these "unidentifiied gunmen" are? What's going on with them?

Hang in there, dear. Better days to come when you can move about freely and see your family without worry.

XX

ARREY- ECHI
Nov 23, 2020
Nov 23, 2020

Dear Sis Jill,
Thank you so.much for reading through this as always. Your prayers and emotional support have been of immeasurable help in the face of all these.

You understood the weariness I face even though I seem to be in a relatively safe place.

Thank you for these and for always being there. I guess that is mostly all we can do and raise our voices as the those who have the power to end this continue to play blind and deaf.

Jill Langhus
Nov 23, 2020
Nov 23, 2020

You're very welcome, dear:-) I hope so.

Yes.

XX

ngumedna
Nov 23, 2020
Nov 23, 2020

Indeed dear it's a day never to be forgotten

ARREY- ECHI
Nov 23, 2020
Nov 23, 2020

A black day of sorts. History will be written because of these innocent lives.

ngumedna
Nov 23, 2020
Nov 23, 2020

Indeed dear it's a day never to be forgotten
We need peace in Cameroon
#END ANGLOPHONE CRISIS#
Hugs
Sisterly

ARREY- ECHI
Nov 23, 2020
Nov 23, 2020

Thank you for reading dear. Yes. We need that peace that have been elusive for all these years.
Hugs to you.

Nini Mappo
Nov 24, 2020
Nov 24, 2020

Oh Arrey:/
The grief, loss, trauma, frustration, and all the life the war sucked out of individuals and communities you spell out in your story are beyond grief. And to imagine as you said that to be the reality of families of these children, and of other victims of war is beyond belief. Your contrast of one side living peacefully this whole time and the other ravaged by war is puzzling and powerful, as is the longing for home in terms of peace and how that would restore the essence of home in may respects.
I hope that for all Cameroonians, home comes soon, as a symbol of peace where life begins, is nurtured, and thrives.
I send you love and hugs, and join your cry for peace and tears of joy.

ARREY- ECHI
Nov 26, 2020
Nov 26, 2020

Dear Nini,
Thank you so much for these kind thoughtful words. I can only say, you read and got the essence and depth of the pains only too well.
So long as people think with their ego, things will continue same and the common man will suffer. We can only hope.

Thank you.

Karen QuiƱones-Axalan
Nov 25, 2020
Nov 25, 2020

Hello, dear sis Arrey, there are no words to describe the grief and pain your nation is going through, but your heart is so skilled in letting those words flow. We mourn with you, dear sister. We stand with you as you raise your voice for peace in Cameroon. We cry justice for the lost lives of these innocent children. Really heartbreaking. It crushes me every time I remember.

Thank you for your boldness to share your truth.

ARREY- ECHI
Nov 26, 2020
Nov 26, 2020

Thank you so much my dear sis. I appreciate the kindness, the love and the support through these four harrowing years. I just needed to get this out. Thank you for reading. We can only hope many more read and feel our pain and do something. .

Jennifer Zeng
Nov 25, 2020
Nov 25, 2020

Dear Arrey,
This was so tragic. I hear your voice. And wish you peace in Cameroon!

ARREY- ECHI
Nov 26, 2020
Nov 26, 2020

Dear Jennifer,
Thank you so.much for reading and for hearing my voice and feeling my pain. The tragedy of four years is too heavy especially for those in the thick of things.