The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect HillTop Voices Bamenda's editorial stance.



This reflection is inspired by the fact that as the crisis in Anglophone Cameroon degenerates, journalists attempting to make sense of events are wrapped in a 'linguistically volatile' thicket when reporting news from these regions. It is also inspired by the fact that despite the existing of media bias for centuries, it seem to be of great concern now, as people on both sides of the divide turn to see bias in media content that disagrees with their views and see fairness in content that support them. It has reached a level that journalists covering the escalating crisis in Buea and Bamenda are experiences exactly the same bias crisis reporters covering the aged old Israeli/Palestinian conflict have been experiencing. Depending on which side the conflicting
 see the report of the journalist, its like hell in Heaven or Heaven in hell.

When the report seem to favour the government side, you are just one door away from hell. When the report seem to favour the freedom fighters/ restorationists or what government calls 'terrorists' you are equally one door away from hell in the hands of freedom fighters. When the journalist decides to play safe or stay quiet,  ordinary members of the population accuse him or her of not reporting hard truths or failing to do his or her job of journalism.

When Clifron Daniel, the chief New York Times correspondent in the Middle East completed his tour reporting the Region's Arab- Israeli conflict, he observed that the words a reporter used invariably placed the correspondent on one side of the controversy or the other. Nearly sixty years later, his successor was accused by each side of unfairly favouring the other. A reporter in the Arab -Israeli conflict is accused of being 'pro Israeli' each time he or she refers to Arab 'freedom fighters' as terrorists.' You are also criticized for being 'pro Palestinian' if as a journalist you refer to 'Israeli occupied territories' instead of disputed territories. This is what James Bennet, former New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief refers to as a ' linguistically volatile thicket when reporting from that region. It is exactly the same scenario today for journalists daring to cover the Anglophone crisis in a manner that makes sense to both sides.

Since 2015, our talk show program, Press & Associates broadcast over Ndefcam Radio 94.9 Fm has been doing just that. Even before others jumped on it, we were there, fearlessly articulating the plight of Anglophones, one Saturday at a time. Since the outbreak of the Anglophone crisis, we have, rather than support one side-for that is not the mission of radio, attempted to put all the arguments into proper perspectives. Each Saturday, we give voice to the still silent voices caught in the web of the conflict. Rather than act as a relay for views and positions from leadership from both sides, we give voice to the ordinary callers whose opinions obviously count. Even when our panelists do not share their views, callers from amongst the affected population are given an opportunity to air their grievances. Unlike other radio stations that run a current affairs program, we take virtually all calls and integrate all shapes of opinion. But does that free us from being seen as bias? Not at tall. When it is government agents threatening, they accuse us outrightly of supporting Ambazona and that it would not be long before they come for us. When it is Ambazonian agents, as can be testified by threats against my person, Afu Stephen, Peterkins and others on social media, we are accused of obstructing Ambazonian struggle and of siding with LA Republique du Cameroon and that we would be visited soon, the same way the Batibo D.O and Social Affairs Regional Delegate were visited. We are accused of being funded by Yaoundé to downplaythe cause. Only if I had access to such mouthwatering amounts of money. I would not even be around here. Not for any reason. The whole story may sound like the puzzle which was included in the famous movie 'Labyrinth', in which Jennifer Connelly's character gives the right answer. It also signals that either way you pose the question you can have the correct an to which door leads to heaven.

Here is the puzzle: 'You are standing between the door to heaven and the door to hell. A guard stands by each '. One guard always tells the truth and the other always lies. You don't know which guard is which. What one question can you ask a guard to find out which guard leads to heaven?' Let's attempt an answer. First of all, there are multiple ways to phrase the correct question that would give you the correct answer. You could ask this question: Which door would the other guard say goes to heaven? If you asked the honest guard, that guard would point toward the door to hell, because the other guard would lie. If you ask the lying guard, that guard would point toward the door to hell, because he knows the honest guard would point toward the door to heaven. Either way, you will be directed to the door to hell, so you know  that the one that the guard does not point to is the door to heaven. Did you get it?

Either way, we are just one door away from hell. This may not be because of any sin of yours but rather because of the vaulting ambitions of individuals who want to be more holy than the Pope. But according to Milton in Paradise Lost, when Lucifer was banished from hell, he said: 'It is better to rule in hell than to serve in heaven'. So, this is the typical question that is usually asked: Would you want to rule in hell than to serve in heaven?. Or better still, would you want to be the emperor of the Roman empire or living your life right now? The upside to being emperor is that you role everyone, you guard would point toward the door to hell, because the other guard would lie. If you ask the lying guard, that guard would point toward the door to hell, because he knows the honest guard would point toward the door to heaven. Either way, you will be directed to the door to hell, so you know  that the one that the guard does not point to is the door to heaven. Did you get it?

Either way, we are just one door away from hell. This may not be because of any sin of yours but rather because of the vaulting ambitions of individuals who want to be more holy than the Pope. But according to Milton in Paradise Lost, when Lucifer was banished from hell, he said: 'It is better to rule in hell than to serve in heaven'. So, this is the typical question that is usually asked: Would you want to rule in hell than to serve in heaven?. Or better still, would you want to be the emperor of the Roman empire or living your life right now? The upside to being emperor is that you role everyone, you have untold power, and lots and lots of stuff. But you have to worry about the maintenance of your empire, enemies from within and without, potential assassination plots, depending on the time you are emperor. But being yourself you may not have to rule, you will have a simpler life not having to control millions of people and their wellbeing. Over and above, I can say that although heaven does not want me, hell is afraid I will take over it.

The good news is that although we are just one door away from hell, God in heaven knows that no family has ever gone through any form of pain because of me since the start of this Anglophone crisis. 

And so....even though I go through the shadow of darkness, no evil would I fear....psalms 23
I rest my case.

By Colbert Gwain 
Author (most recent book; Bamenda source of inspiration for Modern Cameroon), Columnist for The Voices Weekly Newspaper, Radio Host, Rights (internet, girls, women and minority) Activist and Communication Consultant. 
Derick BAKAH

Derick BAKAH

Bakah Derick is a Broadcast Presenter and Multimedia specialist with focus on sharing with the rest of the world the daily happenings in the Northwest Region of Cameroon. You can contact us on +237 675460750 or debakah2004@gmail.com.

Post A Comment: