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THE PROBLEM IS THE CAMEROONIAN PEOPLE

 

Everyone I have met from Cameroon seems to complain about tribalism, corruption and the need to overhaul and reform the system. They also seem to agree that the current Government and the mentality of the people are also part of the problem. We are all virtually in agreement that something has to be done and urgently. We all seem to want to do something or at least pretend to. So, why can’t we ? Why is it that we as a people can’t do what we need and want ?

When it comes the time to agree on any given course of action to decisively act on a problem, we are all too undecided or unwilling, too afraid or too divided. In some cases, we work against the honest attempts of others to seek out solutions. The recent shellacking of the divided “Political Opposition” at the presidential election of 2011 is just one symptom of a larger problem.

We, African people, spend more time arguing about personalities instead of ideas. We spend more time expressing our emotions –anger, insults, bitterness, tribal, ethnic and lingual feuds-- instead of our rational and objective thoughts. Upon leaving school, we spend too much time drinking beer, dancing in Night clubs and entertaining the pleasures of the senses,  while spending very little or no time reading or writing books, or improve on our general knowledge on the topics of our times, or empowering ourselves with knowledge and expanding our understanding of the world. We spend more time rambling with the shenanigans of tribes, ethnic and lingual differences, instead of summoning our good spirits to come together and collaborate in a constructive and productive way. We spend more time with the denotations instead of the connotation of ideas. We spend more time criticizing each other’s ideas and fueling tribal and ethnic divisions instead of helping to improve our collective capacity to reason and grow intellectually. We spend more time serving our negative instincts of self-aggrandizement, cult of personalities, egocentrism and narcissism instead of harnessing our spirit of tolerance, inclusiveness, progressiveness, compassionateness and citizenry.

These self-destructing and self-defeating impulses, which take root in the low and negative instincts of the human soul is part of the reason we have not been able to come together, as a people and summon our collective spirit of creativity and ingenuity around a common cause, purpose, or belief. The belief that we must aspire to be part of something greater than our selves. The belief that the urgency of the time requires that we come together as a people and work to try to make life better for our fellow citizens. The belief that we must strive to leave a country to our children, better than the one that we inherited. A belief that we must seek to restore dignity and respect to the image of our continent, only known for its dauntingly dreadful pictures of desolation and sorrow, chronic child starvation, tribalism and corruption, irrelevance and incompetence. The vacuum we create by being a –passive-- bystander or not being an active stake holder of the future of our own country is what fuels the colonial Master’s instincts to continue to make decisions on our behalf and against our interest.

Whenever African people come together to debate an idea, you will notice that more often than not, things easily get out of control. It quickly becomes a display of emotion, of personal ego and or self-aggrandizement. One can quickly notice how things get switched from the topic at hand to a topic of personalities, envy, jealousy, personal destruction and sometimes hate. This inherent immaturity –of mind and spirit--is one of the main cause of our inability as a people to come together and solve a problem of any kind. This inherent cognitive and intellectual weakness --which made slavery and colonization so easily possible in the black continent--is what has made some to wonder if the black continent was ready for any kind of democratic process, where every topic requires vigorous debates. Some have even argued that Democracy may be a luxury that the people of Africa simply can’t afford, given their inability or unwillingness to transcend the trickeries of tribes, ethnicity and lingual origin. And that we as a people are not --yet--attuned to the higher principles required for any relatively grandiose collective endeavor. That we have not attained the mental and spiritual state of mind, where you learn and assimilate the idea that the “Collective” must transcend the individual. That we are still to comprehend the spirit of collaboration and cooperation that seamlessly made creation and cosmogony possible.

We as a people must begin the process of reconciling ourselves to the idea that we must be part of something bigger than ourselves. The idea that our individual existence on earth truly only matters as a “Collectivity”. That our lives are without purpose without the awareness and knowledge of the "Within and the Without", the knowledge of Oneness and “Wholeness”. We have not quite reconciled ourselves to the indispensable need to devote ourselves to something greater than ourselves, lest we remain “Small Men” forever. The work for the “Collective” is truly how we impact change in any --humble but yet significant-- way. The “Collective” or the collaborative is always much bigger than any one man, and no one man should be allowed to subject his will to the “Collective”. The “Collective” is truly a reflection the “WE” as a people. It is the center of our aspirations. The symbol that sums up our ambitions, our hard work, our sacrifices as a people. It represents the sum total of “all of us” and is what truly matters, and not just each of us as individuals. Just like the hive of bees is able to produce a delicious honey as a group, without individual bees being able to achieve the same result. The colony of bees must be bigger than any single bee. It’s the “whole” hive that matters, and not just the individual bee. That’s how the cells of the human body are able to keep the whole body alive without each of them being able to achieve the same results individually. The live of the cell only has a purpose if there is life to the whole body. The body becomes the essence of the cell’s existence. The people from Africa must begin to attune themselves to these basic principles of selflessness, oneness and wholeness. They must come to the knowledge that any meaningful change can only be achieved when we are all attuned to these principles of the “Collective” or oneness and wholeness. Once attuned to this higher level of consciousness, we become less aware of our individuality and even to some extent of our own mortality, and more aware of our “collectivity”. We then begin to understand the mystic of collective sacrifice and the cosmic laws that govern this fundamental and secret principle. The individual becomes more cognizant of the collectiveness of the problems of society.

When we do, we begin the internal transformation that predisposes us to dedicate ourselves and our knowledge to the collective good and not just to the SELF. We begin to see tribalism, bribery, corruption, abuse and misuse of power, personal responsibility and accountability under a more holistic prism. We become more creative, more imaginative and more constructive. We want to uplift the lives of others as much we do of our own. We want to work selflessly and tirelessly to the cause of building a better country than the one we inherited. The cause that challenges and compels us to leave a better nation for our children, better the one we inherited. We begin to comprehend the oneness of mankind and the connectedness of our beings at a much deeper and subtle level.

“The people get the Government they deserve” --Thomas Jefferson.

We are all somehow –in the depth of our being—complicit of the state of our country. We are all -- as a people-- to some degree, responsible for what’s wrong with our government. And as every day goes by without us coming together to address the problems, we are doom to perpetuate the misery of MAN and in that sense we are guilty as a people, by our --unconscious--complicit silence and inaction. This is the “collective” sin, that strays us in the wilderness of existence. The sin that delays our arrival to the proverbial promise land. And until we become aware, conscious of the basic laws that govern our own existence, until we understand the purpose of creation, until we become attuned and aligned to the requirements of the Creator, we will remain lost in the wilderness of existence. That’s in part why I call for the "Spiritual Awakening", the very act of the proverbial "Being Born Again" that opens man’s consciousness to the universal truth and awareness to the oneness of mankind.

"Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become more corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters." –Benjamin Franklyn.

Perhaps this quote sums up current the state of our collective karma –or the sins-- that we as a people carry. And in that sense, we the people, are part of the problem. It’s up to us..

 

Note: I am fully cognizant of the sensibility of this writing. I am also aware of the fact that many Africans are descent and gentle spirited people. Not all Africans fit the stereotype expressed in this writing. But there are many of us who still wear this hat. And if we were to confront our problems with sincerity and honesty, well we must take the dirty Landry out the closet. Sunshine is one of the best disinfectants. I hope you get the idea..

 

 

 

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