Hidden in plain sight – the voilent reprisals against peaceful protest in Cameroon
There’s revolt in the air. And on the streets of Egypt, Libya, Yemen…
But when it comes to sub-Saharan Africa, it doesn’t seem to be on the news. It seems the oppressive regimes of the continent are no one’s problem until the violence spills onto the marble staircases of foreign embassies or the diplomatic community are shamed out of their inaction by the rallying cries and sacrifies of the masses for democracy. For change.
Cameroon began that journey yesterday, 23 February. It was more a whisper than a shout: a group of a few hundreds peacefully demanding an end to the 28 year rule of Paul Biya. That group was met by army officers in full riot gear as they walked the streets of Douala, Cameroon’s delapidated commercial capital, who first spray the group leader and presidential candidate Kah Walla with the water cannon and as she and the other drenched protesters board the army truck, they are beaten with batons.
Perhaps the media pays Africa no mind because it perceives these atrocities as being simply characteristic of Africa: the perception that there’s death, voilence and destruction everyday, that this is not different.
But it is different. This is voilence people desperate to realise the democratic ideals Africa is so often lambasted for not having. These are people desperate to come up from under the oppression of patriarchs whom world leaders have at worst santioned and financed and at best, simply ignored.
The least we can do is look, listen and relay the message.