Western Media Lies in Libya

The destruction of Libya: the cake
The destruction of Libya: the cake

With yet another lie today (the presumed death of colonel Mouammar Kadhafi… buried in the desert), I thought about recapitulating all the lies we’ve been served by western media since the attack of NATO on Libya:

21/02/2011 : The British minister of foreign affairs, William Hague, announced that Mouammar Kadhafi with his wife and daughter, had left the Libyan territory, and were in Venezuela (Lie!!!)

21/02/2011 : Saif Al Islam Kadhafi had been wounded in a fight with rebels (Lie!!!)

23/02/2011 : Aïcha Kadhafi had ran away to Malta (Lie!!!)

20/03/2011 : Khamis Kadhafi died in Brega in a plane crash (Lie!!!)

10/08/2011 or 05/08/2011? : Khamis Kadhafi died in Zliten, after a NATO raid (Lie!!!).

22/08/2011 : Saif Al Islam was captured by rebels, and his brother Mohamed had surrendered. Obama even came out of vacation to confirm in a speech… the next day, guess who was free? Saif!!! Never captured, etc…

27/08/2011 : Mouammar Kadhafi had ran to Algeria (Lie!!!)

29/08/2011 : Khamis Kadhafi had died in Tarhuna after intense combats, and was burried in Zliten… officially listed on the Wikipedia page. (Lie!)

29/09/2011: Mouammar Kadhafi was hiding near Algeria (Lie ?)

Libyan flag
Libyan flag

Last week: Moutassim Kadhafi had died (another Lie!!!)

Kadhafi is in Niger (Lie!!!) – Kadhafi is sick and will be transported to Saudi Arabia (Lie!!!) – Kadhafi is in the south of Libya (Lie!!!) – Kadhafi has been cornered in his campground (Lie!!!) – and the biggest of all, the start of it all, Kadhafi has killed 6000 of his own people (or was it 10,000?) (Lie!!!)

The list is so long… How many times has Khamis died again? 8 times! and how many times was Saif captured? at least twice! How many times did Kadhafi run away? Did we ever see OBL’s body after his supposed death in May? No wait… it was disposed off at sea! Now Kadhafi’s body has been disposed of in the desert! I guess one lie couldn’t fly twice. Well… my friends, the message is simple: stop being gullible… open your eyes and learn. Read Mathaba!

Afrique de David M. Diop / Africa by David M. Diop

African tree at dusk
African tree at dusk

This poem by David Mandessi Diop was my favorite. By the time I was 9 years old, I knew it by heart…  I loved it so much! It symbolizes so much about Africa, and the love we, all African children, should have for her. Oh how I wish David Diop had lived longer to see the effect of his ‘ode to Africa‘ on other generations. Enjoy!!!


Afrique mon Afrique
Afrique des fiers guerriers dans les savanes ancestrales
Afrique que me chantait ma grand-mère
Au bord de son fleuve lointain
Je ne t’ai jamais connue
Mais mon regard est plein de ton sang
Ton beau sang noir à travers les champs répandu
Le sang de ta sueur
La sueur de ton travail
Le travail de l’esclavage
L’esclavage de tes enfants
Afrique dis-moi Afrique
Est-ce donc toi ce dos qui se courbe
Et se couche sous le poids de l’humilité
Ce dos tremblant à zébrures rouges
Qui dit oui au fouet sur les routes de midi
Alors gravement une voix me répondit
Fils impétueux cet arbre robuste et jeune
Cet arbre là -bas
Splendidement seul au milieu de fleurs blanches et fanées
C’est l’Afrique ton Afrique qui repousse
Qui repousse patiemment obstinément
Et dont les fruits ont peu à peu
L’amère saveur de la liberté. 
Africa my Africa
Africa of proud warriors in ancestral savannahs
Africa of whom my grandmother sings
On the banks of the distant river
I have never known you
But your blood flows in my veins
Your beautiful black blood that irrigates the fields
The blood of your sweat
The sweat of your work
The work of your slavery
Africa, tell me Africa
Is this your back that is unbent
This back that never breaks under the weight of humiliation
This back trembling with red scars
And saying no to the whip under the midday sun
But a grave voice answers me
Impetuous child that tree, young and strong
That tree over there
Splendidly alone amidst white and faded flowers
That is your Africa springing up anew
Springing up patiently, obstinately
Whose fruit bit by bit acquires
The bitter taste of liberty. 

Remember Ruben: A Rare Video Biography of Ruben Um Nyobé

UPC Leaders (L. to R.) front row: Castor Osende Afana, Abel Kingué, Ruben Um Nyobé, Felix Moumié, and Ernest Ouandié
UPC Leaders (L. to R.) front row: Castor Osende Afana, Abel Kingué, Ruben Um Nyobé, Felix Moumié, and Ernest Ouandié

After my article on one of Africa’s greatest freedom fighter, the Cameroonian leader, Ruben Um Nyobé, I thought that this small rare video with pictures of Um Nyobé would be very fit to add to our knowledge.  Ruben Um Nyobé with the UPC in 1948 were the first in Africa to ask for the independence of their country, Cameroon.  He was murdered by the French colonial administration, and his story was totally buried for many years: it was as if he had had no impact on the lives of Cameroonians, and Africans as a whole.  It is just amazing to realize that, 50 years later, he had spoken at the United Nations tribune three times for the independence and reunification of Cameroon in 1952, 1953, and 1954.  It is amazing to think that in Cameroon, there was someone of the caliber of N’Krumah, Lumumba, and Nyerere… Yes… Ruben Um Nyobé’s place should be at the Pantheon (if it existed) of African legends.  Enjoy!!!

Ruben Um Nyobé: Fighting for the independence of Cameroon

Ruben Um Nyobé
Ruben Um Nyobé

With presidential elections taking place this Sunday October 9th in Cameroon, with its plethora of opposition candidates, and no real organization, I thought that a trip down memory lane to the time of the 1940s-1960s when there was a real opposition in Cameroon will be very appropriate. I would like to talk about one of Cameroon’s greatest opposition fighters and freedom fighters: Ruben Um Nyobé, the real father of Cameroon’s independence.

Ruben Um Nyobé was a Cameroonian freedom fighter, and an anti-imperialist leader. Born in Song Mpeck in 1913, Um Nyobé was a stellar student raised in a modest family of farmers.  Initiated to the culture of the Bassa by his father who was well-versed, Um noticed early all the crimes committed by the colonial administration on the indigenous people, crimes such as indentured servitude, forced labor, dehumanization, spanking, beating etc…  This made him later write: “la colonisation, c’est l’esclavage ; c’est l’asservissement des peuples par un groupe d’individus dont le rôle consiste à exploiter les richesses et les hommes des peuples asservis“( “Colonization is slavery; it is an enslavement of the populations by a group of individuals whose role is to exploit the riches and the men of the enslaved populations.”)

Flag of the UPC
Flag of the UPC

On April 10th, 1948, the Union des Populations du Cameroon (Cameroon People’s Union or UPC) was founded and was first led by Leornard Bouli, and later Um Nyobé  was elected general secretary. The main goal of the party was the independence and reunification of both (British and French) Cameroons.  Its symbols were a red flag with a black crab on it: red for the blood of patriots who lost their lives, the crab as a reference to the reunification of Kamerun, and black to symbolize the color of the Black continent, Africa, the cradle of humanity.

The party was at first the Cameroonian branch of the RDA, of which Um Nyobé became one of its vice presidents in 1949.  However, the RDA of Houphouet-Boigny choose to cooperate with the French colonial administration, while UPC of Um Nyobé  refused to join in this treason and choose to continue the fight for the immediate recognition of the nation of Cameroon (independence), and its reunification.  Um Nyobé, the leader of UPC, was particularly charismatic, courageous, and a very good orator.  For the Cameroonian intellectual youth of those days, he was without any doubt the leader which embodies Cameroonian patriotism, and for the masses,  he was the hero who will bring a new dawn.  His aura was such that his name travelled into the country in rural areas.  He was affectuously known as “Mpodol” or “celui qui porte la voix ou qui défend la cause“, “the one who carries the demands.” He was particularly active, wrote political articles, held  meetings where as much as tens of thousands could be seen, met the masses, and moved across the country.

Ruben Um Nyobé with his family
Ruben Um Nyobé with his family

As the charismatic leader of the UPC, Ruben Um Nyobé (1913-1958), defended three times (1952, 1953, and 1954) the cause of Cameroon at the United Nations tribune in New York.  On 22 April 1955, the UPC published the “Proclamation commune(Common proclamation), which was considered as a unilateral declaration of independence and a provocation by the French authorities.  On 19 May, Um Nyobé went underground and on 22 May, the French gendarmes dispersed UPC meetings and the party announced it would no longer recognize French authority. Following violent riots, the UPC and its branches were banned by the French authorities on 13 July 1955.  Since the UPC was then the main political party in Cameroon, the French authorities decided to support other, less provocative parties, to try to divide-and-conquer. In December 1956, the UPC which was banned from participating in the general elections, set up an armed branch called the “Comité National d’Organisation” (Organization National Committe or CNO) and started an armed struggle. A pacification campaign was performed by the French army which was actually a genocide perpetrated on the people of Cameroon, and culminated with the assassination of Um Nyobé on 13 September 1958.  He was murdered by the French army, near his natal village of Boumnyebel, in the department of Nyong-et-Kéllé in the maquis Bassa. Um Nyobé ‘s death set in motion events that totally decapitated the UPC (even to this date) as the strongest opposition party of Cameroon.  In essence, his murder allowed the French to set a neo-colonial state in Cameroon, which today still lives as a puppet state serving Western interests.  At the time, however, his fierce fight forced the French colonial power to abuse of its powers, commit a genocide (still not well-documented almost 50 years later) in the Western highlands, and Bassa maquis, and finally forcing them to award independence to Cameroon.

Ernest Ouandié, Marthe Moumié, and Abel Kingue in Geneva after Felix Moumié's death
L-R: Ernest Ouandié, Marthe Moumié, and Abel Kingue in Geneva after Felix Moumié's death

The independence of Cameroon, under complete French control, was proclaimed on 01 January 1960 and some leaders of the “legal UPC” rallied President Ahidjo.  However, others in the UPC continued with the struggle within the country and abroad.  Félix Moumié, Um Nyobé ’s successor, was poisoned with thallium on 3 November 1960 in Geneva by a French secret agent (William Bechtel).  Abel Kingue died in Algeria in 1964, while Osende Afana was arrested and decapitated in 1966. A post-colonial struggle by UPC rebels opposing the new Cameroon army (trained and armed by France) continued until August 1970 when the last battalion of the UPC, commanded by Ernest Ouandié, was arrested.  Ouandié was sentenced to death and was shot by a death squad in a market on 15 January 1971, in Bafoussam.  The civil war, resulting in the destruction of villages and use of napalm is estimated to have resulted in at least 30,000 to 500,000 deaths.  It has been conveniently removed from official history, both in Cameroon and in France.

In his book, Richard A. Joseph says: He [Ruben Um Nyobé ] was undoubtedly one of the most brilliant political thinkers and organizers to emerge after the Second World War in Africa. Had he survived to lead his country to independence, he would most certainly be ranked today on the same level as Julius Nyerere, and the late Kwame Nkrumah and Patrice Lumumba.” 

Remember Ruben de Mongo Béti
'Remember Ruben' by Mongo Béti

Check out the website Grioo.com where there is a good biography on Ruben Um Nyobe’s life. Don’t forget to check out the website of Dibussi Tande. The great Cameroonian writer Mongo Béti wrote the book Main basse sur le Cameroun, autopsie d’une décolonisation (about the Cameroonian resistance led by the UPC) which was banned in France in the 70s, which led to him to write Remember Ruben in honor of Ruben’s memory.  As leader of the UPC, Um Nyobé  made several trips to the United Nations headquarters in New York where he spoke in favor of an independent Cameroon. I leave you here with the rare footage, the only footage of Um Nyobé speaking at the UN tribune.  This is the only audio and visual record of Um Nyobé  found to date. Enjoy hearing Mpodol speak!!!  It is a real treasure!!!

Madam President wins the Nobel Peace Prize

Nobel Peace Prize winners (L to R): Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee, and Tawakkul Karman
Nobel Peace Prize winners (L to R): Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee, and Tawakkul Karman (source: BBC)

Wow… such was my surprise and joy when I woke up this morning to find out that Madam President, Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf had won the Nobel peace prize this year with another fellow Liberian lady Leymah Gbowee, and a lady from Yemen Tawakkul Karman.  I just thought that you would want to re-read the post I wrote almost two years ago on this proud African Iron Lady, and watch the video on her first 52 weeks in power.  Enjoy!!! (Just a spin: why is it that for women they had to put all three of them together? couldn’t the Nobel committee have acknowledged Madam president this year, and then the other two next year? or Madam president and the fellow Liberian lady this year, and the other one next year? So sad that when it comes to women, the world, even the Nobel committee is still sexist!)

Le Chef Poltron

Village africain
Village africain

Autrefois, au plus profond d’une profonde forêt, se trouvait un gros village appelé Ganda. Le chef de ce village s’appelait Kanomba et son épouse Okorou. Ils avaient un fils nommé Aba-soko.

Le chef tenait à avoir une bonne réputation. Quand il avait trois cauris, il en donnait un à sa femme et un à son fils. Il gardait le troisième pour lui. Il voulait se faire passer pour un homme généreux, mais c’était le roi des avares. Aucune richesse, aucun pagne, aucune pièce d’or, aucun grain de riz ne sortait de chez lui pour aider un pauvre ou un orphelin.

Le chef parlait toujours de son courage et donnait des leçons à tous de son courage et donnait des leçons à tous sur la façon de se battre, de se comporter en brave. Mais jamais il n’avait cherché l’occasion de montrer son courage. Quand  l’occasion se présentait, il était malheureusement malade. Or ce chef n’était qu’un poltron, et voilà comment on l’a appris.

Régime de banane plantain
Régime de banane plantain

Un soir, Kanomba revient de son champ plus tard que d’habitude. Marche courbé en boitant. Son œil gauche est jonglé et à moitié fermé.  Il paraît très fatigué.  Tous les villageois qui le rencontrent l’interrogent, mais il répond en bredouillant :  Je suis tombé d’un arbre, ou je me suis cogné à une branche ou des guêpes m’ont piqué.  Il ment certainement! Que s’est-il donc passé? Quand il arrive chez lui, le chef Kanomba se laisse tomber sur un tabouret bas et fait appeler sa voisine:  Gbré! Gbré! vient vite, le chef veut te parler !

Voila donc la femme qui abandonne sa marmite et qui se présente devant le chef. Celui –ci lui dit :  Gbré, j’ai décidé de te récompenser. Demain tu iras dans ma plantation et tu pourras couper le plus gros régime de banane plantain que tu trouveras, je te le donne.  N’oublie pas de prendre ta meilleure machette et de l’aiguiser soigneusement. Continue reading “Le Chef Poltron”

African Small trades: the Mobile Shoemaker/ Les Petits métiers africains: le Cordonnier Ambulant

African shoemaker
African shoemaker

As a follow up to my previous article on the static shoemaker, today I will be discussing the work of the mobile shoemaker. Have you ever found yourself with a fallen shoe sole, or heel, on your way to work or home, with no idea how to walk home since one of the heels on your shoe has fallen out? or have you ever found yourself with a torn shoe due to some sudden movement? What do you do in such cases? Well, in Africa, and particularly in Cameroon, people call a mobile shoemaker. A mobile shoemaker is a shoemaker who has a toolbox strapped to his shoulder (like a purse), and walks around the neighborhoods with his tools in a rectangular wooden box about 50 cm long, and perhaps 20 cm wide. In his toolbox can be found: needlles of different sizes, a small hammer, some shoe soles, different kinds of strong glue, threads, pieces of leather, a sharp knife, pieces of rubber, a brush, a sponge, small nails with magnet, and shoe polish of different colors (red, brown, black, neutral). His small hammer will not only be used to repair shoes, but also to knock on his toolbox hitting a particular note/rhythm making it resound such as to announce his presence to the entire neighborhood. No need to shout: this way of hitting the box announces his arrival. Any passerby could stop him; sometimes, inhabitants of neighborhoods can be seen rushing outside their homes looking for the one they just heard afar. Once stopped, he will either sew the shoe, or stitch/ glue the sole to the shoe itself. He works quite fast, and moves to the next neighborhood or house block. This is very similar to the work of a shoe shiner, where the work is well-done but in an expedited manner. The mobile shoemaker is particularly special to people’s heart because it’s like having a personal shoemaker who comes to your house to beautify your shoes. It is beautiful to watch them at work. It is really an art! Enjoy this video about the mobile shoemaker dealing with a customer in the streets of Douala, the economic capital of Cameroon.


En suite à mon article antécédent sur le cordonnier statique, aujourd’hui je vais vous parler du travail du cordonnier ambulant. Avez-vous jamais perdu la semelle de votre chaussure, ou un talon, quand vous rentriez du travail ou alliez au travail ? Vous êtes-vous jamais retrouvés avec une chaussure déchirée à cause d’une course folle ou d’un mouvement brusque ? Que faites-vous dans ces cas ? En Afrique, et en particulier au Cameroun, on appelle un cordonnier ambulant. Un cordonnier ambulant est un cordonnier qui possède une boîte à outil accrochée en bandoulière à son épaule, et se déplace  à travers les quartiers de la ville avec tous ses outils contenus dans une boîte rectangulaire en bois d’environ 50 cm de longueur et à peu près 20 cm de largeur. Dans sa boîte à outils, on peut y trouver : des aiguilles de différentes tailles, un petit marteau, quelques semelles, différentes qualités de colle forte, du fil, des morceaux de cuir, un couteau très tranchant, quelques pièces de caoutchouc, une brosse, une éponge, des petits clous armés d’aimant, et du cirage de différentes couleurs (rouge, marron, noir, neutre). Son marteau ne lui sert pas seulement à arranger les chaussures, mais aussi à battre en cadence sa boîte à outil, la faisant résonner  de manière à annoncer son arrivée dans tout le voisinage. Nul besoin de crier, cette façon de frapper sa boîte  annonce son arrivée. N’importe quel passant peut l’appeler ; il arrive de voir des habitants du quartier ouvrir leur portail et se ruer vers l’extérieur à la recherche du cordonnier qu’ils ont entendu au loin. Une fois arrêté, il coudra la semelle ou la collera à la chaussure ; dans certains cas, il devra raccommoder la chaussure. Il travaille très vite, et ainsi peut aller chercher sa clientèle ailleurs. C’est très similaire au travail du cireur, dont le travail est bien fait, et exécuté rapidement. Le cordonnier ambulant occupe une place très spéciale dans le coeur des gens, car c’est comme si on avait son cordonnier personnel appelé à faire resplendir nos chaussures. C’est vraiment beau de les voir travailler. C’est tout un art ! Amusez-vous à regarder cette vidéo sur un cordonnier ambulant et son client dans les rues de Douala, la capitale économique du Cameroun.