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.