Lyon, France– Dear Cameroonian Brothers of Anglophone culture, I understand your sorrows, your pains and misfortunes. I see the sadness and the spite that seizes your souls. I read the bitterness that you feel against this country Cameroon; for which you have contributed to forge a national unity and its international fame. But I also know that in certain circumstances you have the ability to operate for decisive choices for the future. You have shown your stature in February 1961 when choosing to attach yourselves to francophone Cameroon rather than join the federation of Nigeria like German Cameroon. This is proof that you have dreamed that together we can build a strong nation, united and prosperous.
As you know, the recent events sadden us all. Don’t listen to these reactionary francophone tribalists in their bones but listen to those who have the audacity today to stand as captains of national unity. Listen to those who understand your pain. I know that 95 % of you would rather be closer to opt for a federation rather than secession. I know that if you decided to join francophone Cameroon in 1961, it’s because you dreamt that together we could build the future. I also know that successive governments in Yaoundé have torpedoed the ideal of federation which you dreamed of. Yes you’re not lying. Any objective analysis of history shows that you have been tricked into a unitary state solution and not the Federation, unfortunately, with the complicity of some of your leaders like John Ngu Foncha, Solomon Tandeng Muna or Emmanuel Endeley, who fought more for their personal interests rather than to build a genuine Federation. Yes, unfortunately in the archives of history, I came to the evidence that you’ve been tricked. A lot of francophone Cameroonians, who do not even know the history of their families may not know it.
But dear brothers, we shall have to forgive the pains of the past. I claim your right to protest and the right to information. I believe that if you are sick, my duty it is to inform the doctor and tell him he has a patient who is sick. My duty is not to tell you that you’re not sick because I’m not a doctor. Francophone Cameroonians do not have the right to tell you that your claims are useless. No, it is a cowardice act of the wicked and bad fate. These are the first to treat you ” bamenda “, ” Anglofou “, ” Nigeria “. Do they have any idea of the pain you feel when these ethnic epithets are thrown at you? Do they know that they take away your dignity? No, they don’t know. They permanently feel superior to others. Look at them when it comes to problems of Rwanda, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Gabon or Senegal. They are the first to lecture them. But when the reality catches up with them, their favorite sport becomes tribalism. But we’re going have to forgive them. Only forgiveness will help start on new bases.
Believe me, I know that Paul Biya and his government will not provide structural remedies to your problem. I know that Paul Biya won’t strictly enforce decentralization that you call federalism, but I know at least that his government has the capacity to provide answers that depend on the situation because, it’s unity and National Security, which are now in play. The real solution to your problem, namely, the federation or the actual decentralization will not come until after the Biya regime leaves. This is something you should know. But no one will accept secession, not even the international community. So let’s be realistic and negotiate.
For a month, you have demonstrated as a monolithic block, as anglophones, your strength and your determination to change your conditions. However I suggest you take a break, to engage in further negotiations, take three months and evaluate. The situation has become so critical that it is necessary to make a strategic withdrawal. On the other hand, you can pursue civil disobedience to force this government to listen to you, but avoid the street protests. We have enough dead brothers and we must no longer lose anyone. I share the pain of all those families. Especially with a mom whose child has received a bullet while standing in front of their house. This regime’s brutal, barbaric and violent acts are enough proof that they will not hesitate to use this means to the most extreme.
Dear Brothers, many francophone Cameroonians understand your sorrows, including within the administration and the army. Many people want things to change. Think about those people who do not speak, who do not say anything but who support you. In all struggles we can mark a break. A break is not a weakness but a strategic withdrawal.