Of man, it is said that he only knows himself when he faces an obstacle. The obstacle, therefore seems to be the scale on, which man places the quantity and quality of his material resources, at the service of his physical and intellectual aptitudes, his determination to overcome the difficulty and above all, the strength of his conviction, in the pursuit of the ideal he will have chosen for himself. As it is with the man so it is with the people.
During the long and painful period of the foreign double occupation, the people of Cameroon have preserved intact their conviction to find the fullness of their nature only in Unity, as well as their determination to reconstitute it. On both sides of the line of demarcation falsely drawn by the occupier, the struggles to achieve this were numerous and heroic. The civic, trade unionist, and political battles waged by die-hard patriots. The most striking of all, however, remains the referendum consultation, which will forever seal the Unity of the Cameroonian people, Unity which was not an option, but an existential need.
During the long and painful period of the double foreign occupation, the people of Cameroon have kept intact their conviction that the fullness of their nature can only be found in Unity, as well as their determination to reconstitute it. On both sides of the demarcation line artificially drawn by the occupier, the struggles to achieve this were numerous, and the civic, trade unionist and political battles led by inveterate patriots were heroic. However, the most outstanding of all was the referendum consultation, which sealed the unity of the Cameroonian people forever. This unity was not an option but an existential need.
This need is expressed in the theme of the 49th Unitary State Festival, namely; Army and Nation: Together lets overcome health security challenges and preserve the peace, stability and prosperity of Cameroon. Indeed, it must be noted that almost half a century after having warded off the demons of division, the Cameroonian people are once again facing danger that could threaten their survival as a homogeneous and prosperous entity.
For the challenge posed by COVID-19 is far from being solely sanitary, although this aspect is the one that deserves the most attention. Otherwise, what is the value of a population with one part undermined by disease and the other in the process of being so? How can the peace and stability of Cameroon be preserved with a population of under the weather whose youths are unable to attend the temples of knowledge that should help clear the boulevards of prosperity? Moreover, as we have seen in recent times, are we not running the risk of being quarantined by people who are jealous of their health security? Can you imagine the damage that a lack of attention to health would do to our society and economy? Thousands of families would be decimated by the disease, millions of people would be forced into a hypothetical exodus, effectively depopulating entire portions of the national territory. With an economic fabric that has broken down due to a lack of able-bodied labour, poverty will not be slow to wreak untold havoc.
It is understood, that the ambient distress will give grist to the entrepreneurs of the dislocation of the social fabric. The generations before ours faced similar challenges, whether it was the access to independence or the return to unity. Just as living free and united was a vital necessity for those patriots, so is living united and healthy for us. But it is not enough to wish it to happen.
Let us all be convinced, determined and committed in these times of uncertain favourable to societal disintegration as well as health nationalism, Unity and Health are two precious assets that can only be preserved by the profound conviction deeply rooted in each citizen, civilian and military alike, to be the conveyor on the one hand of the desire for indivisibility that animates the entire national community. And, while we hope with all our strength for a return to normal life, it is up to us to make our sociological diversity a cement and not a dissolver of unity. It is up to us to make the health challenge an instrument of expression of our patriotism./-
Commander Cyrille Serge ATONFACK GUEMO Head of Communication Division / MINDEF