May 20 boycott hits new high

One more May 20 mock celebration. One more opportunity missed for Paul Biya to speak to the soul of the nation he claims to lead. One more proof that his “one and indivisible” Cameroon was intended to include former Southern Cameroonians not as citizens whose lives count and whose feelings and aspirations matter, but as slaves or captives. One more demonstration of his “get-lost” attitude towards anyone who expects him to streamline his lifestyle to the state of the country.
This year’s commemoration came in the wake of a fiendishly bloody war he declared on them.
Biya sailed imperially into and out of the ceremonial grounds in his new-fangled toy – a bullet-proof Sentinel Range Rover jeep valued at upwards of half a billion CFA, a state-of-the-art limousine first seen worldwide at this year’s auto fair in Geneva.
Even the habitually obsequious “other-language” papers could not pull their punches at his revolting flamboyance in the midst of his country’s wrenching penury.
They published elaborate pictures of the car alongside taps spouting muddy water, buses stuck on impassable roads and soldiers grounded for want of transport. For Southern Cameroonians, however, this seems to have become a neighbour’s cup of tea. They appear to have flipped the page on Biya’s antics and to Francophones used to grumbling in their armpits.
To both groups, however, Biya’s core message seems to be, “Get lost!” The bloke appears to live his life in a bubble, totally impervious to the feelings of his detractors and loyalists alike.
There he was at the May 20 Boulevard, basking in the glamour of his high office, mindless of the fact that thousands of former Southern Cameroonians have been spending weeks in the forests fleeing from the soldiers that should be protecting them; mindless of the thousands now homeless after over 70 of their villages have been reduced to ashes by the same soldiers; even mindless of the gory pictures that the whole world has been seeing lately – pictures of the most unsightly ways in which his troops are killing, torturing and abusing unarmed civilians in this embattled area.
Despite all this, his vassals on the ground have been at pains to force the surviving members of these families, still mortified by the loss of their loved ones, homes and property, to come out and march to celebrate May 20. In fact the regime seems to have been so desperate to have people march that local administrators instructed Churches to close Pentecost Sunday services before 8 a.m. Behind this order, the population was quick to detect a plan by the regime to swoop on Christians during or after Church services, and force them to the parade grounds. It turned out they had accurately read the Government’s mind, for that is precisely what happened in Buea and other places – all of this in a bid to hoodwink the world that this was a happy, united nation in celebration.
Well, only a world of morons would be taken in by such window dressing, flooded as it is with videos of the carnage being visited on the same people by the same regime. And it has to be the very sickest level of sadism to require young widows and orphans to bottle up their grief and go marching for the pleasure of those who ordered the killing of their husbands and fathers. However, the story of this year’s May 20 boycott defies all window dressing. Many even see the Sunday evening accident on the Tiko-Douala road as divine visitation to hired marchers who were returning from their mission in the Southwest.
Meanwhile, driving back home in his roaring motorcade, Biya cut the picture of a man pathetically insulated from the country he claims to lead. A normal human being would have understood that enough has happened to turn May 20 into a day of national mourning. Even God, the Almighty Creator, can afford to say to erring humans, “my people, come, let’s reason together.” And in a transport of remorse after destroying the world with the flood in Noah’s time, God took an oath, materialised by the rainbow, never to repeat what He had just done. With the spirit of God so manifestly absent in Mr. Biya’s leadership, no wonder many consider all his actions inspired by none but the prince of the abyss himself.
That is a most scary threshold for any people to cross – to be convinced that the devil holds the helm of their country. From that moment you can expect evil in any form.
The most disturbing twist to all this is that very few rumours of the regime’s macabre designs against former Southern Cameroonians have turned out completely unfounded. That should explain the recent palm oil fever. Rumour had spread that a device had been exploded in Lake Awing with purpose to gas the surrounding population to death. Since the population could not put this regime beyond such wickedness, they took to massive consumption of palm oil, believing it would neutralise the toxic effect of any gas.
A visit to the lake by the Fon of Awing eventually reassured the population that nothing of the sort had happened. However, there being no smoke without fire, grapevine maintains that the alarm was triggered by leaked Intel about a gas attack planned for later. One can only hope and pray, that even if this demonic plan were actually in the works, it would be aborted now that its cover is blown.
Last weekend, the gorgon reared another head in Mile 16, Buea. An SOS from a weeping young man in hiding took us back to the Old Testament when the Egyptians sought to depopulate the Israelites by killing their male children from age 13. This story appeared to signal the implementation of another leaked plan which we dare hope regime intelligence will debunk, or expose and foil.
This is to say nothing about the blood letting on the so-called national day itself. Soldiers of the regime are paid to do the bidding of their commander-in-chief. In so doing they put their lives on the line. Young former Southern Cameroonians radicalized by the unjustifiable killing of their loved ones, have taken up arms to defend their kith and kin, driven by the desire to be in a country where their lives, opinions and aspirations are respected. Armed clashes between these two sides are an unfortunate but logical unfolding, because when you take up arms you are ready to kill or be killed. But if Mr. Biya were a normal human president one would ask him why all those unarmed civilians deserve to die, and for how long he intends this to go on. Is he aware that the more blood he sheds the more remote the prospects of reconciliation? This thing is the ultimate test of his mettle as a leader and it is only human, when you fail, to step aside.

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