The women in #NWSW of Cameroon have so much compassion for humanity. I am certain of this. They have been tirelessly and consistently saying #NoToViolence, and restlessly advocating for an #InclusiveAndSincereDialogue, highlighting that guns do not talk but people do. I celebrate their patience, resilience, tolerance, determination, compassion, and love.
These women, who are often taken for granted or sidelined, have never relented their efforts. If I were to die today, I would go with the satisfaction that in the English-Speaking Regions of Cameroon #WomenBuildPeace in a way that every act of violence is condemned; all initiatives for peaceful resolution of the ongoing conflict are supported; proposals on possible ways to move forward towards a just, secure, peaceful and sustainable society are advanced; and advocacy and lobbying efforts targeting diplomatic missions, embassies, and international organizations have been carried forward. The work has been non-stop.
These noble, selfless, and genuine contributions from women with little or no support, are the things that reassure me of the existence of love for humanity, and respect for human dignity. They always show love and compassion. This is in sharp contrast with the entire atmosphere of violence in Cameroon, where people, especially women and children, are being barbarically and gruesomely murdered, revealing nonexisting respect for human lives and values from the ones perpetrating the violence.
I can’t say I am surprised by the way this group of female powerhouses is being undermined, especially by the warring parties. Women expressing their pain and frustration regarding the massacre of schoolchildren, as well as countless other acts of violence, were met with these dismissive replies: "You are pretenders because separatist fighters are your children, and you’re hiding and protecting them"; "You are hired protesters staging this march"; "What have the women been doing?", etc.
I am comforted by the fact that these women have been there, calling for a #PeaceNegotiation, #TalksNotBlood, #CeasefireNow, and #EndAnglophoneCrisis. Though by the standards of war barons, this is because the women have been bought over to say so. Unfortunately, the polarized atmosphere makes it clear that women's consistent voice for #Peace can only be acknowledged if they engage in power-sharing or military actions. But the women do not and will not fight that way.
These women have fought and are still fighting for the respect of human rights and dignity. In addition to numerous campaigns such as the aforementioned, they have issued calls for ceasefire, they have published research documents on the impact of the conflict, and they have launched petitions to call for an end to the conflict.
As a proud woman peacebuilder, I look forward to a time when my community, with its patriarchal background, will stop interfering in women's contributions towards peacebuilding within these armed conflicts. For now, I take comfort in both having witnessed and having been a part of women’s contributions towards building peace. And I can only hope these efforts are finally acknowledged, and that they will stand the test of time.