Friday May 19, 2017
Cameroon Journal, Washington D.C – The former British West Cameroon, call it English Cameroon, Ambazonia, Anglophones or Southern Cameroons, have never ever cherished the idea of the so-called 20th May celebrations, an institution foisted upon the people, its heritage and territory. We have known since 1972 that 20th May was wittingly hatched and forced upon us by two successive regimes of Ahidjo and Paul Biya who were out to complete our assimilation into the French colonial hegemony in Cameroon.
When 20th May became a national day in 1972, it wasn’t an invention to foster national unity as the regimes have told us in successive years. Rather the whole idea was crafted with the intention of surreptitiously wiping out the identity of, and the emblems of the Southern Cameroons from the federal status that we obtained in 1961.
We recall that in 1960, French Cameroon got its independence from France and one year later, the Southern Cameroons too gained independence as a state, howbeit choosing in that plebiscite to unite with LRC. When French Cameroon emerged from Independence, it had a flag, a national anthem, state capital, all of the things that constitute a sovereign nation. Like LRC, the Southern Cameroons too had a Flag, an anthem, a state capital in Buea, a gov’t in Buea, economic institutions of its own like banks, the airport in Tiko, the Sea Port in Victoria, and a territory with borders, flanking LRC, Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea by sea.
But when the French began the sneaky project of erasing everything Anglo-Saxon, masked in the name of national unity and national integration, what they actually integrated and assimilated wasn’t the two cultures of the country, rather it was the Southern Cameroons’.
Consider for instance, that the stanza in the Cameroon national anthem written by Bernard Fonlon in which he described the natural endowments bestowed on the Southern Cameroons was egregiously taken out of the Cameroon national anthem. And isn’t it very interesting that many are unaware of this? People sing the Cameroon Anthem today, ignorant that anything in it talked about Mt. Fako, and the water falls of Menchum. Cameroon’s federal flag with two stars at the center that pointed to the sovereignty of each of the states in the union was demolished out of existence and replaced with the current one star flag, and that Star represents LRC not a united Republic of Cameroon. We had our seat of gov’t in Buea, but it was stealthily carried to Yaoundé again in the name of national integration and national unity.
In 1984, Paul Biya finally dealt away with the appellation, United Republic of Cameroon, choosing to call it The Republic of Cameroon, or (La Republque du Cameroon) which is where the French appellation LRC comes from. We do well to note here that LRC was the official name of the French Cameroun republic that it obtained from independence in 1960.
20th May 1972 was thus the day LRC orchestrated the coup or grand scheme to dismantle everything Southern Cameroons. They then launched the assault on our institutions, culture and heritage. We should not be celebrating May 20th with drumbeats, and pup parties, rather it should be celebrated with morning, in sackcloth as Albert Mukong propagated, and would wish we do.
The Southern Cameroons didn’t become official slaves to LRC in 1961, we became their slaves in 1972. 20th May 1072 was the day we all became second class citizens in the land of our birth.
Clandestinely, we were taught and forced to speak and write in French, English sign boards in the Southern Cameroons were pulled down and replaced with French signs reading Bienvenue a’ Buea, a’ Bamenda, a’ Kumba etc, etc. English prosecutors in our courts were sneakily replaced with French prosecutors and French Registrars. Then in order to turn our educational system into French, they began the formation of all these Lycee’ Bilingues. Today, in the Lycees, we have predominantly French teachers instead of a 50/50 bilingual instructors.
We are constantly reminded of how ours is a bilingual country. But while they made all efforts to impose French upon all of us, they made sure no English was thought in schools and colleges in LRC. They came up with this idea of Lycees so that children of their colonial administrators in our territories could learn in French – their own language. But when our children went to Yaoundé, Douala or Bafoussam, they had to learn in French, even if they had no knowledge of French. Bilingualism was never meant to facilitate communication and integration; it was designed to assimilate the Southern Cameroons.
Ask yourself, do we really need French in the Southern Cameroons? Of what good is the language? English is the world’s coveted language, it is the world’s business language, and it is the worlds’ political and social language. What is French good for? Except for the French themselves?
When you are a child you reason like a child, but when you are an adult you are expected to reason as an adult. It is time we tell LRC that we are no longer children, that we can no longer accept the status-quo that they boxed us into. That time has come for us to take our destiny into our own hands. That there is always weeping in the night, but joy commeth in the morning.
Our morning is here, and God is finally on our side. This is time we tell LRC that the time we took instructions or orders from Yaoundé are behind us. That whether they believe it or not, we are now a nation as in 1961. We have a presidency in Buea, we have a boundary in the Mungo, we also now have our own TV station, our national Police and military is in the making, one of these days they will hear from our commanders. Our gov’t is being put in place and our diplomats are being appointed.
Away with LRC, AWAY with 20th May. It was a day of slavery. Who wants to remember that? Talkless of celebrating it! Any Southern Cameroonian who goes out to celebrate 20th May should be considered an enemy, a foreigner and a spy among us.