“We Are At War”: Lockdown Of Fako, Good or Bad For The Struggle?
By Arrey Bate Arrey
April 4, 2019, former PAP party president, Hon Ayah Paul Abine has penned an open writing to dispora leaders of the Anglophone struggle following an imposed lockdown from April 4 to 13, 2019.
The letter focuses on the lockdown on Fako division, a bid to frustrate the activities of the Limbe Festival of arts and culture (FESTAC).
While this has been received with mixed feelings by inhabitants, barrister Ayah Paul writes on the use of a “lockdown to show that “We Are at War”.
” Mrs. Ayah returned from CONGELCAM, Buea, yesterday, after two hours of unsuccessful effort to buy fish. The husband visited the scene in the late evening to appraise the situation. WHAT A CHAOTIC SCENE! Some elderly women had been there all day without as much as entering the building. There was no queue. Entry was by the fittest. Even then, those behind the counter decided whose money to take when…
Anglophones abroad at room temperature often do grossly fail to appreciate what patriots in the war zone go through daily. While they have sound sleep with the police pacing up and down, assuring their security, those back home are under constant apprehension of being killed by direct or stray bullets.
While they enjoy good earnings, coupled, at times, with windfalls, the ‘dogs of war’ back home have lost everything: ascendants/descendants, shelter, access to medical facilities, foodstuffs preserved for the rainy day
While their own children are going to school, excellent schools quite often, the children back home suffer educational privation as the price of war.
Their catch clause is ‘WE ARE AT WAR’. So what? What is the difference between us? You run away from the war. Then, from your safe sanctuary, you seek to induce others to volunteer into all kinds of battlefields. How more valuable are your own lives? And are there any relative values in human lives?
WE ARE AT WAR, YES! Why are you at war if there is no difference between your conduct and the conduct of the other party you are at war with: if the end justifies the means either way?
If, for instance, the other party kills directly and you kill slowly, is the latter killing not more painful – dying after suffering? To put it otherwise, if the one party destroys food preserved for future use, and you prevent the planting of crops for future use, what difference does it make?
The wise teach that leadership is constant introspection so as to avoid repeating mistakes. And that is the mainstay of credibility. Empty boasting (bluff) leads to contempt. After the previous lock-down; after the ban on food leaving or entering the land; did credibility not require proper introspection before venturing into another lock-down: all the worse, such a sudden lock-down? What is the intended objective? What if the festival holds after all? Would the privation of movement and food not have been in vain? Even if the festival did not hold, would the price paid by the people be commensurate to the failure of the festival?
Those questions are of immense importance and relevance. Fighting against someone for doing what you too do is self-infliction. There’s little difference between someone killing a patient on board an ambulance and you preventing the desperately sick, including women under labour, from being taken to the hospital in the name of LOCKDOWN. There is little difference between the one who forces people into the bushes/forests to die from want of food/medicines and you preventing people from planting food crops during the planting season like now.
It is absolutely facetious to shout out that people should ‘STOCK FOOD AND WATER’! There are families here hosting as many as 25 refugees (some prefer to call them ‘internally displaced persons’). The minimum wage in Camerouoon is 38.000 francs. Would any intelligent person call on any such family to ‘STOCK FOOD AND WATER’ to last them 10 days? If such a family bought a bag of rice for 25.000 and some trog-canda, would they eat the rice raw? How much water would the family store for, maybe, 30 persons for bathing, laundry, cooking and drinking for 10 days?
LET US BE MORE SERIOUS – MORE HUMANE!!!
We beg to opine that it is self-defeating to fight against the very people one claims to be fighting for. May we add that true leadership is more than copying and pasting – far more than safeguarding one’s own life while pushing others into self-destruction. Whoever advises, let alone, urges unlimited sacrificing should do so by examples: joining us back home, if only OCCASIONALLY! ”
Dear ARREYB Readers, drop a comment, let’s know your thoughts!