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Analysis: The Fate Of The Anglophone “Cockroach” 

By Peterkins Manyong

"Can the cockroach expect justice in an assembly of fowls?" The answer to this question posed by Nigerian playwright, Ola Rotimi, is obvious to those who have witnessed the behaviour of fowls at the sight of cockroaches. They don’t ask what the cockroaches were doing in the basket of dry corn stalks which the rural woman brought out of her barn. The majority Hutus in Rwanda certainly had this image in their minds when in 1994 they nicknamed the minority Tutsis "cockroaches". Radio Milles Collines did its dirty job, the outcome of which was the bloodiest carnage hitherto in modern African history.

The difference between what happened in Rwanda and what is transpiring in Cameroon  is that our own Hutus have not only employed a more subtle form of hate literature to denigrate Anglophones, viz, "enemy in the house"  "those who don’t feel Cameroonian should go elsewhere"; they use state-owned radio for their hate propaganda. In the case of Cameroon, the killings are sporadic as in the case of the  suspects in the March 1997 government catalyzed "Terrorist Attacks" and the  open shooting of peaceful Southern Cameroonian activists in Kumbo  on October 1, 2001.

Whoever deprives another of his/her source of livelihood has as good as taken away the life of that person. The onslaught on the economy of the former British territory of Southern Cameroons is clearly part of this genocidal war. After sending the Produce Marketing Board, PMB, to an untimely death, Francophone mismanagers fell with a more voracious appetite on Cameroon Bank. Today, Amity Bank which they first hijacked is the property of the Atlantic Bank Group. An attempt to cart away the Credit Union only failed because of its people-rooted structure.

Socially, the Anglophone is a nonentity. As in the days of slavery, Anglophone Cameroonians can only play second fiddle to his/her Francophone who is quite often a sot by comparison. His role is that of Lucky, the servant of Pozzo in Samuel Beckett’s "Waiting for Godot"; he is the human beast of burden, who not only performs the filthy chores, but is the intellectual bondman who has to do the thinking for his unimaginative Francophone puppet master, who styles himself "Ingenieur de Conception when the whole world knows he is incapable of conceiving anything.

Because the Francophone thinks he was imbued with leadership capability at birth,   the Anglophone has been reduced to the status of a beggar at his own gate in SONARA and Ayaba Hotel. Stanislaus Ngoh Nkwain was more than just being ironical when he wondered in 1983 how Anglophone households functioned so well when there were no Francophobes there to act as family heads. Greek mythologists created a river in the underworld called Lethe from where frustrated souls drank in order to forget their sorrows.

To effect or catalyze the forgetting process, the waters of our own Lethe are produced and bottled in breweries established mainly in French Cameroon to provide employment for Francophone youths. These bottles are securely placed in crates and packed in trucks that run nimbly through the nation. Anglophone youths who have little or nothing doing, see in the consumption of this delicious but lethal liquid the only means of drowning their sorrows.

To enable them get intoxicated at a cheap cost, these breweries launch contests announcing that there are millions of free bottles to be won. Beer has a tendency to get more appetizing as its consumer gets tipsier. Besides the fact that life spans are reduced by beer, it ruins families economically. This leads to a new kind of slavery: parents give their children away easily to traffickers who convey to the big towns to serve as domestic servants or barmaids, etc.

Prostitution and armed robbery become the livelihoods of   these youths who, because of their enslavement, miss the opportunity to learn useful trades. Those who acquire HIV/AIDS in the process return home to die and seeking companions to the world beyond, spread the disease before the final breath. The armed robber ends up in prison with the most deplorable conditions imaginable which make long life an impossibility or get lynched by irate mobs that have since lost confidence in the justice system.

Politically, the Francophone boss is not prepared to see roles reversed. He tells the world that everyone in the country can aspire for the highest position in the state. But when an Anglophone wins the presidential elections, he is put under house arrest and his province of origin subjected to an inhuman state of emergency. To effect the extermination of the Anglophone teeming population, soldiers sent to implement the state of emergency are chosen on the merit of their HIV sero-positivity. The same regime later stigmatizes the Anglophone against which the biological war was launched as that with the highest prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS infection.
After that, the next Anglophone Province is targeted.

This time the oppressors invent another stratagem called "Operation Dorade". Goods are indiscriminately seized with the excuse that they were smuggled from neighbouring Nigeria. Those goods found to be of little value are burnt, while the majority are auctioned or consumed by the very persons whose quarrel with their owners was that they were contraband and dangerous for human consumption. The hardship thus engendered sends prodigious numbers to an early grave.

To render the situation more unbearable, the Francophone slave master who had reminded the Anglophone of his enemy status and told him to leave would not allow the one he had beaten even the right to cry. SCNC activists are prevented from holding meetings even in private premises. God’s own territory is not even safe. The attempted murder of a reverend sister near the St. Joseph Metropolitan Cathedral in 1994 by gendarmes has not yet been forgotten by most Southern Cameroonian activists. If all the killings that have taken place so far, either directly or indirectly cannot be called genocide, then the UN and its surrogates have no name for it.

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