This piece is my ‘Diary of a Confused Political Youth’
The 6 am CRTV morning news on radio is blasting from my neighbor’s room. He is a 26-year-old pompous guy who always reminds me daily that he listens to news and he is more politically efficient than all youths in #Cameroon. If he is not saying it to my face, he makes sure he reminds me when he turns on his radio in the morning (who listens to radio anymore?). For a long time, I have battled between tolerating his arrogance or attacking it with well-crafted diatribes about him being an old soul with an annoying taste for elderly things. But somehow, that battle has always ended in a masked admiration for his enthusiasm in knowing and participating in his country’s affairs.
This is a country that doesn’t care about me (So I think). Its politics, its politicians, its policies (or lack of thereof,) do not see me, do not speak to me, and do not cater for me. And so I have escaped into an el dorado of foreign media consumption and taste. Yes, I love Beyonce, I love Kanye and I can narrate the American presidential cycle, its candidates and policies. God damn it I even know about TPP and Joe the Plumber. I like watching political pundits on Kate Bolduan debate. Oh before I forget I hate Donald Trump and somehow I feel so invested in the news cycle and life that I forget I am Cameroonian and have to deal with Mbi Mvondo, Osih Joshua or Kah Wallah.
It is escapism, I know but I have always felt justified because I do not think this is a country that cares about me and my opinions about politicians being sell outs and galloping youth unemployment and my own seemingly stifled progress and inertia. I seem to have lost hope in this country and regained it in a made up world crafted with dreamy concepts of western democracy and opportunity.
I am an immigrant in my country; make no mistake, this corporeal body you see has a soul in a far distant American city (I love the sound of Atlanta). But my neighbor, two years younger than me has a zest and a longing for this country that I sometimes think he is living in an alternate dimension. He was telling me the other day about some reform in Cameroon’s forestry sector and for a brief second, forgot the name of the minister of Forestry. So he motioned to me to help him out
…Yes you guessed right…I was mom. After calling some Bakossi name, he asked why I was so much abreast with Etas and the West and not one bit knowledgeable about Cameroon? I responded, “way weti be the advantage for know about Cameroon?”
He said “well, for one, because you will never be an American! You might dream of it, live in it, speak like one, dress like one, feel proud to have fallen bush but you will never be an AMERICAN because you have a task to change your own country and you have failed and taken a shortcut for yourself.”
Yes, I am kwoh Elonge and this is my dairy, a dairy of a confused political youth.