On the Ridiculousness of the Cameroonian Charlie

Imagine my shock when I found out that all these years I had been calling many of my Cameroonian friends and acquaintances by the wrong name. I mean, they were Moluas and Brendas and Ondoas and Frus and I was under the impression that I had heard these people correctly when they introduced themselves, that my eyes were O.K when I read their names on Facebook and my memories of our school days back in Cameroon were  intact.

I found out I’d been living a lie.

I found out that many of these people were, in fact, named Charlie.

And who can blame them for wanting to shed their identities for Charlie?

You see, Charlie is this really exemplary person who shines bright as the champion of  the right to free speech. So deep is the commitment to this right, Charlie will defend your right to say what you want, even if Charlie deeply disagrees with what you are saying or perceives it  to be harmful to society. Charlie is full of  selflessness and compassion and the global human spirit which reaches across desert and ocean to share in the pain and suffering of others.

It was confusing. Surely, this must have been a case of dissociative identity disorder à la Frankie and Alice, because I have distinct memories of instances where these same people or groups of people barely noticed or vehemently supported the suppression freedom of expression for the marginalized groups in our communities, in the name mostly  of tradition and religion.

I think this  dissociative identity disorder afflicts us Cameroonians/Africans, both at home and abroad this is how it usually goes:

Something happens on the global stage and explodes across our social media platforms. Carried away with the bandwagon frenzy, we join the hashtags, change cover and profile pictures. Update statuses showing solidarity, write tomes and think pieces  on our blogs. Our celebrities are all over it and we applaud them for using their fame to do something the way western celebrities do. We talk about it with friends at school and at work and bond over the shared unity of purpose. Our bodies just di jollying as we feel connected  to the world. We are the global village. Creatures of the information age.

None of the above is bad.

The problem lies in the fact that often, quite often, too often – we do not display the same dedication to dissecting causes that actually do carry some importance to us as Africans. Often,  we fail to turn the analytical lens with which we examine these issues on ourselves. Quite often, the issue at hand, the reason for our outcry affects us marginally, if at all. And too often, we display a breath-taking amount of intellectual dishonesty when discussing these issues.

Allow me to illustrate.

So two islamist extremists enter the main offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris, France and kill pretty much the whole editorial staff. We know what followed. We all witnessed it. We all were a part of it.

Many of us discovered our inner Voltaires, and based our newly discovered reverence for the right to free expression on the quote which although often misattributed to Voltaire, was not by him:

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

Ok, Fine. Petit Voltaires.

Where were you when Eric Lembembe (Cameroonian journalist and LGBTI human rights activist) was found dead after having been tortured? Were you Eric then? Where were you when Alice Nkom, first female lawyer in Cameroon, a woman who has dedicated much of her career to fighting for the rights of LGBT folks in the country, and who has received death threats and threats of arrest for her trouble, was recognized for her work and massively criticized by Cameroonians everywhere? #JeSuisAlice any one?

The same people who would declare #JeSuisCharlie, are the same people who will tell an African woman not to speak her mind else she might not find a husband or it is unbecoming for a woman to be so outspoken. I di wait man wey e go send me some nonsense private message this year. Just try it. #JeSuisFindPalavaWoman


The same people who will declare #JeSuisCharlie will talk about how certain books, music videos, magazines, imagery etc, imported from the West  are destroying the fabric of our society.

You, Catholic, Presbyterian and other member of bigger denomination will declare #JeSuisCharlie, but will you stick your neck out and defend Evangelist Apostle Theophilus of Christ, Senior Pastor of Church of the Categorically Saved – International (CCS – International) preaching loudly at the bus stop  if a policeman arrested him for the heck of it?

You don’t have to like what they say or approve of it, but the spirit of Charlie demands that you stand up and defend their rights to express those views just as visibly as you did for Charlie. Charlie who despite the nobility ascribed to him, invests a lot of energy lambasting a holy figure as precious to the eyes of some, as Jesus is to many of you.

You want to laugh at the presidents who traveled to France to march in solidarity? Laugh at yourselves first, because you are cut from the same cloth.

I’ll keep an eye out for all you Charlies this year. And believe me when I say that I will be there, exercising my Charliehood to remind you of why you are not, in fact, Charlie.

22 thoughts on “On the Ridiculousness of the Cameroonian Charlie

  1. bonbon acolisé

    Drops the mic and waltzes away. Well said

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Picks up mic, wipes it and hands it back to you…
    Waiting for more Palava😆👌

    Liked by 1 person

  3. great post and quite impressive..

    Liked by 1 person

  4. mmmhhhh , there are more than one sides to a story….how ever , well written.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Reblogged this on The Last Immigrant and commented:
    Findpalavawoman has spoken and I approve!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ashawo Man Pkin

    Je ne suis pas Eric, ni Alice, ni Charlie et non plus Theophilus of the Church of the Categorically Saved, why? because wetin concern me?
    While your peice is well written, you seem to forget one litttle titbit “your neck is responsible for your head and only for your own head”. If Molua, Fru, Besong, Ondoa, Nde, and god knows who else want to become Charlie for which ever reason, wetin concern me ? If Alice Nkom decides to be the voice of the voice-less ( and I do appreciate her efforts) wetin concern me … she took up the charge … what ever happens to her is her responsibility… same too if you decide to piss of some Islamist, you need to be ready for what ever comess your way …
    Action and the resulting reaction are equal …

    Liked by 1 person

    • Indeed, indeed my friend. But then, there was their action and this is my own reaction, carried out by my head on my neck 😉 We live in an interdependent society, as much as we sometimes like to think otherwise and while we are responsible for our actions (or lack thereof) they also affect other people. A little more sensitivity to and honesty about this fact is all I’m asking for here


  7. You said it all.. Great write Findpalavawoman.


  8. Hurrah! Finally I got a website from where I
    know how to actually get useful facts concerning my study and


  9. іmportant; /* Collapsing Skyscrapesr fіҳ */ . skyscraper height:600px!
    hide-сomment-buttons #loginButtonContainer display:
    none; /* Expandable MPU fіх */ #sіԀe .hide-ϲomment-buttons #singleCommentHeader .
    іmportant;padding:0px! skyscraper height:auto! іmportant; 65
    journalists Һave ƅеen kille in Syria ѕince thе ѡar began –
    ѕо hoѡ dߋ reporters ѕtop themselѵеs fгom becxoming the story?
    – Middle East – Ԝorld – Ƭɦе Independrent Ϝriday 13 Marсh 2015
    x300 overflow: visible!

    Үօս must Һave ɑ ank account in youг name with at leɑst 1,600 GBP in placе fоr up to threе mоnths prior to your application. ϒou mսst bе ɑ passport holder fгom Canada, Australia, Νew Zealand, Japan оr Monaco.
    Υou mսѕt bе bеtween tҺe ages of 18 annd 30
    at thе tіmе your travel commences. Υоu must be ablе to travel ѡithout dependents.
    Аlways approach Ƅеѕt immigration consulltants befoгe applying
    fοr Canada student visa fоr ƅetter guidance ɑnd expert advice.

    Students ѕhould mmainly concentrate ߋn their educational
    goals ɑnd communication skills tο cleaг tҺe interview. Afteг successful
    submission օf tɦе student visa requirements іt іѕ advised to
    international students tߋ start preparing fߋr tɦe interview.
    Oncce the two уear period is completed in fսll compliance οf tɦе guideines sett օut Ьу tҺе immigrant investor program tҺе invetor аnd tɦeir immedіate family ϲаn be giνеn unconditiolnal status and be granted a grfeen card

    ΤҺе guidelines օf tthe EB5 Visa program аllow
    ɑn investors іmmediate family tߋ ƅе admitted to the United Ѕtates on а twο year conditional period.

    Immеdiate family іѕclassed аѕ a spouse аnd ɑny unmarried
    children ѡɦߋ arе undеr tɦe age օf 21 уears old.

    Students mostlʏ prefer studying іn Canazda tο enhance tɦeir skills.

    It Һas а broad Educational ѕystem consisting ߋf many Univefsities ɑnd Institutions ԝhich ɑгe ѵeгy vast οn thеiг
    own. Its universities аrе wеll ҡnown for higher education.

    Mοst of tҺe students choosee Canada tо cߋmplete their education Ƅеϲaսse оf itѕ well recognized Education ѕystem.
    Ϝive Canadian university іs in the list of tοp 100 Woгld
    University Ranking. Canada οffers а highly qualified education ѕystem.
    Keeep tɦе medication іn tɦе original labeled vials.
    Ԝhile үoս mаke tɦink itt is ѕο obvious that ϲertain things shоuld Ье
    ɗоne it iѕ аlso tɦe reason աhy noboɗƴ oгderеd thе wedding cake, աhy the bridegroom iѕ withօut а

    List tҺеm јust to makе ѕure yоu ɦave them beause if үoս forget you
    will not alwaƴs bee ɑble tօ rectify thе problеm.

    Ҭhe “Federal skilled PR visa for Canada” iѕ one οf
    thе most popular visa type tҺat aге offered tо
    skilled professionals. Canada іѕ knoաn fօr offering ѵarious visa tyles tο
    newcomers, helping tҺеm accomplish tɦeir dream ߋf settling аnd woгking in the
    country. Tɦe applicant սndеr thiѕ visa class іѕ aaarded ρoints օn tҺe basis ߋf age, educational qualification,
    աork experience, language ability ɑnd meeting tɦе health аnd
    character requirements.

    ƬҺe Federal Skilled visa а ρoint basxed permanent residency visa
    ԝɦere tҺе applicant neеds to score ɑ total օf 67 ρoints οut of
    100 in orɗeг to fulfill thе elugibility criteria.


  10. Now that we’ve gone through the basics of what the system
    affords, let’s move into our opinion and the entire VirtNext assessment.


  11. Hello my friend! I want to say that this post is awesome,
    great written and include approximately all vital infos.
    I’d like to peer extra posts like this .


  12. Beaucoup chantent des chansons traditionnelles et de laisser une carotte ou
    un peu de foin pour St. . 20, 2015: “Tout le désert» (même jour que la sortie en salles) . ”
    Le Conte de la princesse Kaguya “a reçu une nomination aux Oscars pour meilleur film d’animation .


  13. Which means there are still loads of Android activities available for
    sale right-now that one may snag copies of, download, and fill the storage on that fresh Android product of yours up.


  14. What i do not understood is if truth be told how you’re no longer really
    a lot more smartly-preferred than you may be now. You are so intelligent.

    You recognize therefore considerably when it comes to this subject, made me personally believe it from so many varied angles.
    Its like women and men are not fascinated unless it’s something to do with Woman gaga!
    Your personal stuffs great. Always handle it up!


  15. An intriguing discussion is definitely worth
    comment. I think that you ought to write more about this subject matter,
    it might not be a taboo matter but usually people don’t speak about such
    topics. To the next! Kind regards!!


  16. Appreciate the recommendation. Will ttry it out.


Eh heh... Tell me what you think!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s