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« Biya's New Year Speech:The Gauntlet Has Been Thrown Down! | Main | Fru Ndi Is A Traitor - Ayamba »

Monday, 07 January 2008

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It is a rather strange list, this one, that has enumerated what it sees as heroes and martyrs of 2007. If it is correct that "heroes are symbols of achievement," that they are "ultimate victors," as George Ngwane avers, then what is the achievement of Mugabe? Of what is he an ultimate victor? I wonder whether Ngwane can tell the multitude of Zimbabweans scavenging for a living as refugees in South Africa that Mugabe is a hero. Even more, to claim that Mugabe is endeared to most Africans is a hyperbole characteristic of much Cameroonian writing. Which Africans? Elistist scholars? The leaders who went to the European Union-African Union Summit? Most of these people are not even loved by their own people! To congratulate African leaders for rallying behind this dictator (Mugabe), explains much about why Africa continuously retrogresses. Intellectuals who should know better harp the achievements of underserving leaders and then we turn around and wonder why less educated people should be sending motions of support to Biya begging him to amend the constitution! I wonder whether Bate Besong would have joined Ngwane in this griotism.

And then Bate Besong: a martyr? This is far from clear. Martyrs are those who are intentionally killed by those who oppose the cause which they press. It is clear that BB had many enemies who would have wanted him dead but it is not clear that they intentionally killed him. I am not aware of any clear investigation that came to the conclusion that BB & co. were intentionally killed (probably there is one, in which case I would love to be informed of it). This, of course, does not mean that BB & co. should not be honored, but they should simply not be called martyrs. In fact, we can still honor them without calling them martyrs. Ngwane's penchant for allocating the designation "martyr" to each and all is further evident in the list when he named many who died of "natural" causes. Kenyan Airways passengers are martyrs? This is indeed ridiculous. These are tragic deaths and the people deserve to be remembered but to call them martyrs demonstrates a profound lack of understanding of what martyrdom is all about. If martyrs are simply "ultimate victims," then all may qualify as martyrs, for it appears that all are ultmately victims. Then my father who passed away for lack of adequate medical care in Cameroon, is a martyr of the system. This is such a loose understanding of martyrdom that unknowingly breeds docility and even senility.

A proper understanding of martyrdom and heroism will shorten the list considerably.

Clear

It is a rather strange list, this one, that has enumerated what it sees as heroes and martyrs of 2007. If it is correct that "heroes are symbols of achievement," that they are "ultimate victors," as George Ngwane avers, then what is the achievement of Mugabe? Of what is he an ultimate victor? I wonder whether Ngwane can tell the multitude of Zimbabweans scavenging for a living as refugees in South Africa that Mugabe is a hero. Even more, to claim that Mugabe is endeared to most Africans is a hyperbole characteristic of much Cameroonian writing. Which Africans? Elistist scholars? The leaders who went to the European Union-African Union Summit? Most of these people are not even loved by their own people! To congratulate African leaders for rallying behind this dictator (Mugabe), explains much about why Africa continuously retrogresses. Intellectuals who should know better harp the achievements of underserving leaders and then we turn around and wonder why less educated people should be sending motions of support to Biya begging him to amend the constitution! I wonder whether Bate Besong would have joined Ngwane in this griotism.

And then Bate Besong: a martyr? This is far from clear. Martyrs are those who are intentionally killed by those who oppose the cause which they press. It is clear that BB had many enemies who would have wanted him dead but it is not clear that they intentionally killed him. I am not aware of any clear investigation that came to the conclusion that BB & co. were intentionally killed (probably there is one, in which case I would love to be informed of it). This, of course, does not mean that BB & co. should not be honored, but they should simply not be called martyrs. In fact, we can still honor them without calling them martyrs. Ngwane's penchant for allocating the designation "martyr" to each and all is further evident in the list when he named many who died of "natural" causes. Kenyan Airways passengers are martyrs? This is indeed ridiculous. These are tragic deaths and the people deserve to be remembered but to call them martyrs demonstrates a profound lack of understanding of what martyrdom is all about. If martyrs are simply "ultimate victims," then all may qualify as martyrs, for it appears that all are ultmately victims. Then my father who passed away for lack of adequate medical care in Cameroon, is a martyr of the system. This is such a loose understanding of martyrdom that unknowingly breeds docility and even senility.

A proper understanding of martyrdom and heroism will shorten the list considerably.

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