ABSOLUTELY INTERDEPENDENT

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I feel amply vindicated by what, in my judgment, is a resounding disapproval by the home front of the resolution of the Anglophones in the diaspora in favour of the continuing shutdown of schools in English Cameroon. It is a powerful endorsement of my assertion that the Anglophone question never can be resolved absolutely by the action of the one group of Anglophones without the participation or, at the least, the endorsement of any such action by the other group.

The present debate about the reopening of schools has, by necessary implication, buttressed the argument in favour of AAC 3. But how else can we best exchange views than in an all-Anglophone forum? I do entertain quite some doubt as to what they do offer in the alternative those contending that an AAC 3 is nugatory. If the bone of contention is the appellation “AAC 3”, are we seriously pleading the case for the form defeating the substance?

I think that we owe posterity a collective duty to prepare those growing up to take the relay baton from us. Therefore, am I one with all those who hold that education is too invaluable to be toyed with. None of us would be doing with efficiency what we are doing today without education. It is absolutely self-defeating to prosecute for a better tomorrow and perpetrate simultaneously conduct that mars that very tomorrow.

Like many others living the ongoing killings, our concern ought to be solely how feasible it is for schools to reopen. Pragmatically, everything seems to conspire against schools reopening! The prosecutors of the war kill at will whoever they come upon, particularly, in most of the rural areas. You may not find ten persons in all the settlements along the main road between Muyuka and Kumba, for instance. And the aggressors’ targets are young persons – the very ones attending schools. The odds are not any less the fact that the population is in the deep forests, preoccupied primarily with their survival.

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Back home, most of the schools have been burnt down. Dwelling houses have been razed to the ground. And a week hardly goes by without some government minister/official praising the perpetrators of these atrocities for their efficiency/professionalism, thereby encouraging them to proceed in the like manner or even more aggressively. How do schools function under those circumstances?

The condition sine qua non for the effective reopening of school is the cessation of hostilities on the initiative of the Camerounese Government that did declare war; followed by concrete confidence-building measures. You cannot declare war and call on the adverse party to lay down their arms unilaterally. You cannot argue the case for a return to normalcy when you go killing people indiscriminately, including the most innocent. Nor can you do so while arresting people arbitrarily and taking them into dungeons incommunicado, without, at times, their relatives even knowing their whereabouts, or whether they are still alive at all…

One has heard the lame argument that the national armed forces should not be placed at par with “terroristes/secessionnistes”. The mere fact of formally declaring war against the “terroristes/secessionnistes” is implicit recognition that you have before you a force to be reckoned with. Where two forces are facing each other in battle, it is of commonsense that standard methods of cessation of hostilities have to be followed. Such methods in the search for peaceful resolution never take into consideration the military strengths of the warring parties, their successes at battle or their status. So it is all over the world; always. Cameroun cannot be the exception.

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Let us be serious for once. There is ONLY one door to the reopening of schools: the cessation of hostilities (as the starting point)! … That does not however mean that Anglophones at home and/or abroad should take refuge under continuing hostilities to stay formally resolute against the reopening of schools. My considered opinion is that we should leave the door open, thereby shifting the blame to those guilty of belligerency.

AS I write these words, I am distracted by a deafening downpour outside. I do visualize the countless number of women in labour, the old and elderly, infants and babies in the forests/bushes wet to the skin and shivering from cold: the victims of military efficiency and professionalism! Let us not add to their woes or perpetuate same as a matter of policy.

AYAH PAUL ABINE

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