Thomas L. Friedman, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for The New York Times in his book From Beirut to Jerusalem tells the story of how violence turned Lebanon into a shell-shocked stalemate and green-lined Beirut into “a huge abyss, the darkest corner of human behavior, an urban jungle where not even the law of the jungle applied.”
The violence that swept Bamenda today December 8, 2016 could be likened to the description of the old day Lebanon and Beirut. It was like in a movie with water cannons, teargas, gunshots and blood, and then deaths. Bamenda started bleeding and in few hours the city suddenly became smoky from all angles. Road barricades were at almost all the road junctions in the central town while some were transformed into firesides as a military helicopter was up the sky. The incident erupted when unidentified protesters clashed with security forces at the Bamenda Grandstand. Matters came to a head when the unidentified youths tried to disrupt an anti-federalism rally which was to be attended by Prime Minister Yang Philemon (some government ministers), including Jean Nkuete, the Secretary General of the Central Committee of the CPDM as well as some officials of that party.The peaceful mission of the CPDM to the North West had diversified interpretations from the populace.
By evening, Bamenda turned Labanon as cars, houses, including the 3rd police district burnt down to ashes. Social media pictures show youths at the City Chemist Roundabout the street with the corpse of chanting. Reports say about 3 persons have died and several others injured. But we have not yet had the exact number. Bamenda goes bloody, deadly too.
The North West Region is Bamenda, it has been said and proven. Whether from Boyo, Mezam, Menchum, Donga Mantung, Bui, Ngoketunjia or Momo Division, everyone is known as the Bamenda. Bamenda is a place where “heroes come to die” says Wamey Julius. But I will contextualize this statement by adding that Bamenda like America is a place where every minute of the day gives birth to a new hero. From the dawn of time, the Bamenda people have distinguished themselves as pictograms of hard work, vigor and dotted with the willpower that historians find difficulties to comprehend when it comes to popular uprising. This strong spirited and collective commitment of the Bamenda people has over the years tolled to have what they have often been seen to be and tagged by others. In other words, the Bamenda man lives the life of a Spartan soldier who would prefer to die than to surrender. When Bob Marley said that truth is something that must be spoken even it means "speaking to die for it", he was surely talking of the likes of Bamenda people. A type of life that can only be compared to toad in a heating tube that keep adapting to the changing temperature until it finally gives off the ghost.
The inhabitants of Bamenda lived the melody of city that keep changing to adapting temperatures. A Baghdad scenario or some sort of a Western movie setting of radical extremes, or a place of violent behavior, a situation in a movie where life and death are matters of seconds. But above all the Bamenda man is a pack of dexterousness, persistence, and warmth even when people have suffered, and or ready to. Of this, there can be tiny debate.
For decades, Bamenda has had the good fortune to have produced individuals who on account of their peculiar gifts of values have contributed to the advancement of this country.
Ah! Bamenda! Home of all the heroes of yesteryears Albert Mukong, John Ngu Foncha, Jua, ST Muna, Bernard Folon, Ndeh Ntumazah, Prof Anomah Ngu, Nanga, just to name the few. In February 1983, President Paul Biya declared Bamenda as his second home.
Bamenda still remains a focal point of what takes place in the country politically. What, however, defines a Bamenda man, at least within the present political environment, would be that both the ruling party (CPDM) and the main opposition party (SDF) were created in Bamenda which makes the city the heart of politics in Cameroon; yet circumstances have made Bamenda the city of versions, where in a moment of civil strike makes you live a life through a perpetual fish bowl. It is hard to imagine what this kind of life.
The Land of Noble Birth
“Bamenda, the place where heroes go to die.” That is how Julius Wamey, the famous CRTV anchor, in an article titled in the same words, described the headquarters of the Northwest Region some years back. Francis Wache in one of his articles titled: NW Region: The Caesarean Womb Of CMR’s Democracy wrote that “the name ‘Bamenda’, has, over the years, come to represent the whole Region. With a hint of pride in their voices, natives of the Region, living ‘abroad’, would say they are from ‘Bamenda’ when, in reality, they are referring to Din, Akweto, Essimbi…‘Bamenda’, has, therefore, become generic- a reference to the whole Region”.
When News Breaks Out, We Break In. (The 2014 Bloggies Finalist)