The problem-du-jour in the Southern Cameroon’s leadership is fairly obvious: the case of the hundreds of lives slaughtered by the Cameroon military, the thousands of our strong men in bushes and forests, and the other hundreds kidnapped to unknown detention camps. Little wonder that some people are now beating the drums of war at ear-tearing decibel. Many howl for blood. The social media has burst at its seams with invectives against one another. Facebook, twitter and whatsapp are teeming with all types of wicked propaganda. Each person believes he has the truth, and half-truths and entire lies are winning the day. All this boorishness makes the blood boil and the emotions threaten to jump out of the body for war. I have seen individuals come out and daringly proclaim their willingness to die for the cause they so passionately promote. It is so terrifying; and there is this feeling we are already in war. These are normal feelings especially when we consider what bullies from LRC have wrought on innocent souls back home. Our people are justified in their fire and anger.
It is very easy to jump to open warfare. But when vision abandons us and the first bomb explodes, and military cruelty takes over, and vulnerable civilians – the old, the weak and the helpless – begin to perish, the highway to solution begins zigzagging; and enormously expensive. Remember the destruction that accompanies wars. Remember the humanitarian disaster that visits war zones. Remember the lukewarm attitude of the so called super powers and those who supply arms to us – remember their coldness when things grow awry. Remember those innocent people who would perish out of no fault of theirs. Remember the pillaging of property and landscape. Do arithmetic with this, and ask yourself if war is worth the salt.
The fact is, the price of warfare is difficult to measure. An additional reality is, no matter the morality for war, regardless of whatever provokes the fighters, warriors would still come to the debate table one day. Even in the nastiest of combats, people must still bump into each other at some point to dialogue. So why not spare ourselves the pains this time and rekindle the fire of our non-violent fight which in the 21st century is more compelling than gun and bomb. Think also of our military might; and you know the Bible is true: “suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand?” Grief-stricken by the pictures of the innocent blood that has flown as a result of military bestiality and therefore the hundreds of lives lost in that carnage on 1st October, we can be tempted to anguish and compliance.
There should be no room for anxiety since we are on the right side of history. The independent State of the Southern Cameroons Ambazonia would not die. It would never be defeated. LRC apparently won the battle of exterminating unarmed civilians, but has not won the fight. The fight is of God and victory is God’s. This God has taken sides with the oppressed and no matter what the oppressor does, the tyrant’s ending will be Goliath’s.
Absolutely, the evil day is on us but we are not cynics. God the Almighty is our armor! We were prepared for moments like these. Stand steady in the evil day. Stand up for freedom. Paul Biya’s criminality shall not have the last word. My rendition of this faithwells up from unshakeable convictions.
The time for true Ambazonian leadership and statesmanship has therefore arrived. In volatile times like these, experience has taught that tanks do not necessarily bring peace. When outright war breaks, only innocent civilians on the ground agonize, and foot soldiers and internet stars come out scot free. And therefore SisikuAyukTabe, we know with your sagacity and smartness, with your humility and large-heartedness, with your fear of the Lord, you and your creative crew would know what to do to teach Yaoundé the lesson of their life. Culprit-Yaoundé must pay for it; yet we do it in a way that casualties are reduced. Among the things I propose – and I do it with modesty – is that dialogue should still be prioritized even as we are fighting. I have not changed from my stance of non-violent combat. Combat in diplomacy and combat with the pen. In such ways, violence doesn’t. Dialogue does. Open talk does. Negotiation does.
But how do we talk of dialogue at this hour, how do we talk about dialoguing with a known crook, dialoguing with a person who has raped my daughter, killed my brother, knocked to near-death the head of my grand mum, kidnapped my parents and banished me from my own homeland. In the dialoguing table, whose case will this man of a housefly sponsor if not that of the leg damaged with wounds. In our justified misery we would ask these questions! Yet, we must eternally remember that even though laden with blood-cuddling challenges, and despite the gory 1st October, our people’s hearts still beat for peace.
Am I here proposing ethical passivity in the face of blatant evil? Far be it from me. Like the Catholic Church I am not a pacifist who rules out the gun completely. Let the Yaoundé genocide-plotting mafia be brought to justice because the lives of our brethren lost in that carnage would not go in vain. They will pay for their wickedness because self-defense is an absolute right. Even the Church endorses self-defense. If you break into my house, kill my son, rape my wife, and you are coming for me and I have a knife or gun I am going to gun you down; and go to Heaven with a clean conscience. If you shoot my weaponless father who is marching with a peace-plant and shouting ‘no-violence’, and you turn towards me and are after my own life, and I catch you, you are not going to go back home alive! The story is that simple.
Father Gerald Jumbam
Buea Diocesan Priest