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A village in Cameroon – 1958 (2)

Revenge


for bigger picture click on this photo

(Photo: Huard)

Cameroon.

Tears well up in Halla Fitini's eyes. At that time she was only a seven-year-old girl. She would like to never remember it again, but she has to do it now. She has become old, and she feels death approaching. It is time now to write down her memories. She swallows.

“I see the picture perfectly in my mind, as though it happened yesterday. With one arm I was tied to Uncle Ngan Njock, and with the other to Uncle Minkéng Mi Ndjé. French soldiers had tied all of us together, and had brought us to the forest. “Fire,” shouts the commander. A soldier who is standing right next to me looks around helplessly. “Fire!” shouts the commander again, but more angrily now. The soldier turns around and shoots indeed. The head of Uncle Ngan Njock bursts open. Blood gushes out of it.
After the shooting – twelve men are slaughtered – we all lie on the ground, dead and living together. The French soldiers have gone away. We lie there, together, in complete silence, we cannot comprehend what has happened. I see swarms of green flies laying tiny white eggs in the blood-covered head of my uncle.
After a few hours Grandpa Helly and a few other old men come out of the forest to us. They have escaped the soldiers, because they understand the art of making themselves invisible. They untie the ropes.


for bigger picture click on this photo

(Photo: Huard)

Cameroon.

A week earlier, we had received the message that French soldiers would come to search every inch of our forest, looking for freedom fighter Mpôdôl. The men of our village decided that they would never cooperate. They discussed what to do. They would dig pitfalls, pronounce secret charms, and whatever else. There was only one gun in our village, a hunting rifle with only one bullet. With this they would eliminate the commander.
The helicopters were already arriving while they were still discussing it. Everyone fled into the forest. The sole bullet was indeed fired at the commander, and some lead went into his shoulder. He was bleeding considerably. One of the villagers disinfected a knife above a fire, and removed the lead pellets. Then the commander was bandaged. Next morning a message arrived from the capital that twelve men should be executed.”

_______________________

Source
The Cameroonian author Werewere Liking depicts in her novel La mémoire amputée (2004) the life of a village girl, who ends up in the city, always longing for her village.



Go to next page: 'First they take your land and then your children' - French Alps – 1960
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