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West Africa: The four Cameroonian historical myths

This week's blog round-up starts on a literary note, with Voice in the Desert‘s review of The Door of No Return – a book targetted at children:

Congratulations to Sarah Mussi for her triumph in the Children's category of the 2007 Glen Dimplex Awards.

I read The Door of No Return earlier this year and really enjoyed it.

The surge of children's books set in Africa recently has been extraordinary. Was it really only last August that Amanda Craig commented in her Times column that it had been a long time since a children's author dared to write about Africa? That column elicited THIS BEAUT LETTER from my dear Mum (at a time when she was also going into Waterstones and carefully adjusting copies of ‘Sophie and the Albino Camel’ to make them more prominent – not that I've ever done that, of course!).

From Burkina Faso, we now switch gears and move onto bi-lingual Cameroon as Dibussi Tande of Scribbles From The Den goes down the memory lane to blog about: “Four Myths About the Unification of British and French Cameroons“:

Anglophone nationalist leaders and scholars, in turn, have quickly recognised the importance of rediscovering Anglophone history as an invaluable political resource in combating the regime and raising the consciousness of the Anglophone population. They have therefore attempted to bring back Anglophone identity into the historical space, strongly contesting some of the myths created by the regime and organic scholars. We have only room here for a few examples.

Although each myth is discussed extensively on the said blog post, for the sake of brevity, only the core points would be listed below:

Myth # 1: “Cameroon has always been one and no more”
Myth # 2: Reunification was warm-heartedly and freely embraced by both parties
Myth # 3: The constitution of a reunified Cameroon was agreed upon in Foumban in 1961
Myth # 4: The 1972 Unitary State was the outcome of a massive vote by Cameroonian people.

Cameroonian blogger, Rosemary Ekosso of Enanga's Pov shares the opinion of an article in the Proletarian : Africans need true independence not imperialist ‘charity’:

I found a 2005 article that reflects much of what I have been saying on this blog about Africa's relationship with the West.

As I have said before, what galls me is the hypocrisy that permeates everything the Western world, or at least its governments, would like us to believe about ourselves. The article that follows is reproduced with the kind permission of the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB). It reflects the socio-economic and political views of its author, and while I do not consider myself to be a socialist or communist, I was struck by the careful research that produced it. It shows what people can do when they start thinknig for themselves. I was particularly interested in the following statement, which is attributed to John Pilger:

“At present, for every $1 of ‘aid’ to Africa, $3 are taken out by western banks, institutions and governments – and that does not account for the repatriated profit of transnational corporations.”

Still on African issues, Imnakoya of Grandiose Parlor has this to ask: “AFRICOM: Where does Nigeria stand?“:

The bone of contention here is a statement attributed to Nigeria's President Musa Yar'Adua after a meeting with President George Bush where the former was reported to have announced that:

“We have discussed on security issues, security within Nigeria, the Niger Delta, the Gulf of Guinea and peace and security on the African continent. We shall partner AFRICOM to assist not only Nigeria but also the African continent to actualise its peace and security initiatives. It is an initiative to have standby forces in each of the regional economic groupings in Africa.” – Via VOA, December 13, 2007..

Imnakoya has this to say about the issue:

In what can be considered the first major international media event for YarA’dua, not only did he present himself as a green-eared president going by his “I will never forget this moment….” ’star-struck statement’ – not sure if YarA’dua was simply at awe of the magnificence of the White House or swept off his feet at meeting the ‘notorious’ George Bush – whatever the reasons may be, YarA’dua came across, embarrassingly, as a media relations mediocre. His statement on AFRICOM – which now deserves some white-washing – is an indication of how lax our foreign affairs department is. Shouldn’t the department have assessed the likely post-meeting scenarios and prepared accordingly – prepping the poor YarA’dua on what and what not to say, and how to say what he ought to say, even before he left Abuja for Washington?

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