“Stop Saying We Are All Cameroonians: You Are Adding Salt to the Wound.” Kwoh Elonge
In an attempt at showing positivity and encouraging so-called unity some people have tried to call for ‘calm’ by asserting that ‘we are all Cameroonians’.
What they fail to realize is the core premise behind this assertion, which is that we should not highlight the Anglophone problem because we as Cameroonians share common problems and triumphs. That’s true! But the problem with that premise lies in what goes unaddressed in that line of thinking.
In talking about anglophone marginalization, we are trying to point out that there is demonstrable evidence that anglophones are treated less as Cameroonians. You might be ignorant about it if you are not exposed to the marginalization that exists. You might not have witnessed firsthand the different forms it takes. You might not have noticed that the Ohada law was hitherto produced exclusively in french; you might not know that my cousin in government school finds it increasingly difficult to understand IT because her teacher pronounces “ignore once” as “iniorh onze”; you might not have witnessed how my neighbor was jailed because an investigating police officer who did not understand English took down a contrary sworn statement and the presiding judge too did not understand English well; you might not work in a government office in the Southwest region and you receive all official documents exclusively in French.
If you subscribe to the premise of ” we are all Cameroonians “, it is likely you live in a predominantly francophone area, the majority of your social group is francophone etc (you get the trend). I am not judging where you live or who you socialize with; that’s your prerogative. My basic logic is that if you’d had to witness gross marginalization of Francophones, you would understand why saying ‘we are all Cameroonians’ is so harmful.
In effect what I am saying is that when women are talking about their experiences in pregnancy, you as a man should not hop in to tell them your ideas about their experiences because you share humanity. Sit down, listen, learn and try to understand.
What you fail to see is that in us pinpointing to the anglophone problem, we are trying to say what you are saying; that anglophones are equally Cameroonians. You are just missing the many ways in which our country is not standing by this principle. When you say we are all Cameroonians, you’re drawing attention away from a struggle that would help push the country towards that version of itself where we are all Cameroonians. In other words, when you say we are all Cameroonians, you are perpetuating toxic marginalization of Anglophones and in fact, you are part of the problem.