Ngarbuh! Ngarbuh! Ngarbuh! Three times I call your name, Ngarbuh. Three times I shout out your name, oh Ngarbuh! But three times only the deep echo of your silence bounces back to my ears, oh Ngarbuh!
Oh, Ngarbuh, piercing your silence, like a sorrow-coated arrow, and far in the distance, are the screams of our women, the ‘Rachels’ of our land, who, as in the days of the prophet Jeremiah, are inconsolable because our children, the children of Ngarbuh, are no more! (Jeremiah 31: 15-17).
Ngarbuh! Ngarbuh! Ngarbuh! I hear a plaintive guitar sound rising from the banks of the Wouri, clawing its way up the hills of our land, crawling down the valleys of our land and rising up to embrace the highlands of Ngarbuh. The guitar sound of that phenomenally-gifted musician, Richard Bona. He too is asking why you, oh Ngarbuh?
I join my sorrow-coated voice to the sorrow-laden sounds of his guitar to mourn our children, the children of Ngarbuh. Peacefully sleeping were you on that fateful night, oh children of Ngarbuh! That night of the 14th of February in the year of our Lord 2020. Yes, that cursed night that shall live forever in infamy, Ngarbuh! The night death came crawling on the unsuspecting, peacefully-sleeping children of Ngarbuh, to sow and reap a rich harvest of blood and destruction and desolation.
Like prowling beasts, the bearers of death crawled into your midst, Ngarbuh, leaving in their bloody path dagger-slit throats and bullet-riddled bodies. That is why the ‘Rachels’ of our land are mourning inconsolably because the children of Ngarbuh, our children, are no more.
All for what, Ngarbuh? All because Cameroon must remain “one and indivisible”. Oh, Ngarbuh! Ngarbuh! Ngarbuh! I mourn for you! I weep for you! I scream for you! I tear my hair off for you, Ngarbuh. You were an unknown village until death came visiting you. Now forever you are planted in the bloody memory of this land of our forbearers; this supposed “Land of Promise”; this supposed “Land of Glory”. But, wherein lies the Promise, Ngarbuh? Wherein lies the Glory, oh Ngarbuh?
In peace, may you sleep, Ngarbuh! In eternal peace may your children sleep!
If I forget you, Ngarbuh, may my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth forever!
Ngarbuh is a small, insignificant village in northwestern Cameroon, the epicentre of a revolt against the central government that has come to be known as the ‘Anglophone crisis’. On the night of February 14, 2020, government soldiers and government-backed armed militia moved in and practically wiped out its population.