We live in a world in which chaos reigns, a world in which the respect of human rights and human dignity are disregarded. As Edmund Burke opined, evil will surpass the world if good people do nothing. True, a majority of good people feel powerless and helpless; but calling out avarice is a source of untapped power that we can tap on in the age of social media. This category titled WITNESS REPORT is an opportunity for us all to become crusaders of liberty. We encourage our readers to share their own stories so we can shine a light on the evil lurking in our midst.
Contributed by: Solange Chin
It has been three years since the Anglophone crisis started in Cameroon and life as we know it has been deteriorating to a point where people have abandoned entire villages out of fear. The UN estimates that tens of thousands of individuals have been displaced both internally and externally (to neighboring Nigeria). Businesses in the two English speaking regions have been hugely affected as several businesses have closed their doors while some have laid off most of their staff. Being caught in the middle of the conflict between the military and restoration forces is rampant and this has caused people who were initially disinclined to move, to flee their homes.
The near death encounter of a young barber and the some military officials depicts that staggering reality and safety is an illusion. This young man was almost scapegoated by soldiers who could not catch the rebels they were chasing but were eager to spill blood just the same. This barber use to live in Yoke, a small locality in the Muyuka subdivision in the Southwest region. According to this young man, on a faithful Tuesday morning, with the town still to come alive after the usual Monday ghost towns, he opened his shop preparing to welcome customers. This routine was interrupted by a sudden outburst of gunshots nearby and this caused the barber to quickly close his shop and lie on the floor behind the lone sofa to avoid stray bullets.
The fire exchange went on for hours then went quiet again. The barber maintained his position for a while to ensure that it was not just a brief reprieve before deciding to leave for home. A few steps from steps from his shop, he was surrounded by armed soldiers who seemed to have appeared from nowhere. All their guns were pointed at him and the confused barber dropped on his knees with his hands in the air in a posture of total surrender. This did not impress the armed men who were eager to assert their strength. The barber was asked to show them where the rebels were hiding and when he indicated ignorance, the steel end of a rifle was shoved into his ear, probably to jog his memory.
The poor young man cried and pleaded his innocence but this only seemed to enrage his captors who kicked him around while threatening to kill him if he didn’t start telling them what they wanted to hear. He knew he would die, he knew there was no way he could convince them that he deserved to be alive. He knew the rifle point plunged in his ear was going to blow out his brains at any point, then suddenly other military men appeared on the scene. From his vantage point on the muddy ground, the young man could surmise that these were senior officers inquiring about what was going on. He breathed a sigh of relieve when he heard the voice of the Muyuka brigade commander, one of his most famous customers. He looked down at the youngster cowering on the ground and told the soldiers to leave him alone, he was just a good barber trying to make a living. Early the next morning, the young barber took the first bus heading for Douala. Thankfully there are many heads that needs shaving in the city and he loves his job.