Several online dictionaries establish that the word “Truth” is a noun, referring to “the quality or state of being true”. Wikipedia elucidates further that: “Truth is most often used to mean being in accord with fact or reality, or fidelity to an original or standard. Truth may also often be used in modern contexts to refer to an idea of ‘truth to self’, or authenticity”.
A lot of us reading this editorial may wonder why The Times Journal has chosen this seemingly uninteresting subject matter at this point in time when everyone is concentrating on key strategies on how Southern Cameroons should become the independent country it was voted at the United Nations to be since April, 1961. Some of us are even holding stones already to throw at the writer for daring to recall that truth ought to be an essential part of this struggle for liberation and greater freedoms for all.
The Times Journal has always been for the truth in every sphere of national life and nothing shall frighten us to think differently now. Let us begin by recalling that the greatest Dictionary of all times, the greatest source of wisdom of all ages, the Bible says some simple but compelling thing about how the truth should contribute in a liberation fight like this one. The Bible says; “And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set thee free".
That message is clear and unambiguous; especially so because our struggle is to lay bare a truth which has been hidden from so many Cameroonians and the rest of the world over the years, until this time that our lawyers and teachers decided to take the bull by the horns so that all may see that Cameroon is a den of discrimination, marginalization, dehumanization, torture and bare-bone repression. We are struggling to let those out there who do not know, to take home the truth that we are a people, that the UN General Assembly voted for our independence in 1961 and that Southern Cameroons has recognized and documented international boundaries.
But we must admit one thing to ourselves; it is not possible and not even conceivable to say you can use falsehood to unveil truth. If we never thought about this, it is time to begin looking at this stark reality in the face, so that we can courageously begin to adjust to embrace the only veritable path that will bring real freedom; truth. Those who fought liberation fights with resounding success before us are still here in their writings to remind us that truth is a huge weapon that devastates the enemy more than anything else.
We all quote and like the venerated Mahamat Gandhi for his achievements that will remain relevant thousands of years from today. Hear what he said about the role of truth in struggles like this one; “Truth never damages a cause that is just”. These eight words are so potent that no one needs to elaborate on them. Perhaps adding another authority, William Faulkner’s view to it would bolster our understanding, he says; “Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world…would do this, it would change the earth”.
Since October 2016 when this struggle started, a lot of falsehood has been perpetrated and that has scared a lot of converts and made them opponents of the revolution. It has been so easy to destroy people who look at us in the eyes and tell us that we are wrong by coming up with conspiracy theories to tag them as “agents of La Republique” or “someone who has been bought over with as mission to betray the ‘winning’ struggle”. It is obvious that once you are associated with “La Republique” gimmicks, you immediately become an enemy of the freedom of the people and everyone gets authorized to call you names at will.
Worse, by ignoring the truth, because we want to present to the world at all cost that we are united, that everything is alright even when it isn’t, we have succeeded in creating virtual and android monsters whose inconsistencies we now are afraid to point out because we run the risk of being blocked on ‘hot Facebook pages where things happen’ or we may be called blacklegs and named agents of the enemy. Hypocrisy is now the order of the day and we have seen so-called and sometimes self-styled leaders flicker between the federal option and outright self-determination the same way pop stars change dresses, and no eyebrows raised.
We have gradually created the type of leaders known only in the 17th century; the likes of Pope Pius IX who came up with the Dogma of Papal Infallibility. It stated that; “The Pope in discharge of his duties is infallible”. Now, dear friends, go to Facebook and see how those who dare come up with a truth that everyone knows but is refusing to say is treated; “No please, not here, why don’t you handle this one-on-one, make a call please, we don’t need this here, even if he insulted you, please ignore it because he is too important in this struggle, he is our leader, please let the teachers and lawyers allow these guys to continue the way they are going- they should wait and when things are over they can take back their organization” and the list is long.
It was these kinds of thought that pushed one-time US President Theodore Roosevelt to say; “To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American people”. President Roosevelt was a great man still acknowledged until this day and what he said is what a lot of us reproach of the current regime, but can’t afford to be different.
The message from Rick Riordam is that we need to think and act in a way that honours, not in a way that demeans us. He says; “It takes strength and courage to admit the truth”, so, because a lot of people think it is a weakness to make a turnaround and uphold a truth that holds the potential to save millions of lives, to guarantee a future for millions others counting on our ability to walk them out of slavery and servitude. The kind of fear is so nuclear and better described by Czestaw Mitosz when he says; “In a room where people unanimously maintain a conspiracy of silence, one word of truth sounds like a pistol shot”.
Today, the reality is here; power struggles that ought not be are raging on, Facebook constituencies are creating and dismissing leaders of bodies whose basic texts and functioning they know nothing of, basic principles on the devolution of power in every organization have eluded us and even renowned and sometimes venerated men of law attempt to make us see our organizations that federate other organizations as belonging to single individuals who can suddenly decide that although someone were elected along with them, they can decide to endorse any other persons above them- what a shame!?
By Anglo-Saxon, a lot of people mean integrity; that is why we at The Times Journal buy the view of Barbara De Angelis when she notes “Living with integrity means: Not settling for less than what you know you deserve in your relationships. Asking for what you want and need from others. Speaking your truth, even though it might create conflict or tension. Behaving in ways that are in harmony with your personal values. Making choices based on what you believe, and not what others believe”.
Here, we must regret that at a time things are taking a very determined turn, a lot of us still do not realize that boys have to be separated from men. That is why we still cheer when someone stands and says, on behalf of a body that has from inception stood for non violence, preferring to sell reason and not threats, that; “We are giving Parliamentarians of Southern Cameroons origin one month to resign and return home”, and when asked what he would do if they did not cooperate, he answered without wavering; “We will blackmail and threaten them to cooperate”. That is exactly what President Paul Biya and his men describe as “terrorism”.
At The Times Journal, we know the Southern Cameroonians who conceived this struggle never blackmailed nor threatened anyone to adhere; that is why the truth is urgently needed to rescue the struggle from the hands of opportunists and conspiracy theorists before we start finding it difficult to garner the global support we all need to attain our objective.