Aspects of Highly Effective Literary Translations: A Pedagogical Perspective


Peter Vakunta, Ph.D

Literary translation is a highly meta-linguistic[i] transaction requiring not only perspicacity but also mental flexibility, the more so because far from being a mindless replacement of lexical items in the source text by equivalent linguistic elements in the target text (Catford, 1966); translation practice has metamorphosed into cultural exegesis[ii].  What accounts for the complexity of literary translation as opposed to the non-literary is the peculiarity of the stylistic aesthetics and socio-cultural matrices in which works of literature are hatched. One of the vocal voices in this school of thought is House (2002) who contends that “in recent years there has been a shift in translation studies from linguistically-oriented approaches to culturally-oriented ones” (92). Arguing along similar lines, Steiner (1998) maintains that translation is an “act of elicitation and appropriative transfer of meaning” (312).He likens translation to an operative convention which derives from a sequence of phenomenological assumptions about the coherence of the world, about the presence of meaning in formally antithetical semantic systems.

It is tempting to deduce from the foregoing that there is tacit agreement of sorts among translation theorists who view translation as an act of cultural hermeneutics[iii].  In this essay, rather than dwell on the underpinnings of translational theorization, we would rather shed light on the ramifications of viewing translation practice as an act of interpretation (exegesis). Our adumbrations in this discourse do not apply to technical and specialized texts. The reason is that the formalistic and aesthetic qualities of non-literary texts call for an entirely different set of skills that will not be broached in this paper.  Suffice it to say that the faithful translation of a non-literary text depends on the translator’s deliberate conformity with professional canons; with the rules of the trade as it were. Literary translation is governed by rules that underscore best practices; these canons constitute the crux of the discussion that follows.

§  Translation as Cross-cultural Communication

In a bid to produce a text that meets the demands of dynamic equivalence from a cultural viewpoint[iv], competent translators function as cultural brokers. Dynamic equivalence determines the inter-textual, intercultural and inter-lingual transfers that occur between source and target texts. In a bid to transfer meaning holistically from source to target texts, seasoned translators endeavor to unravel the latent significations embedded in the source text signifiers. House (1997) observes that the source text ought to be analyzed at the levels of language, register and genre. The reason she provides for such analysis is that in conveying information from one language to another, translators seek functionally equivalent linguistic and non-linguistic equivalents in the receptor language.

Dynamic equivalence is a key notion is translation theory and practice. The genesis of this discourse dates back to Eugene Nida, who in 1964 argued that translators should translate so that the effect of the translation on the target language reader is roughly the same as the effect of the source text on the source language reader. It is worth mentioning, however, that this is not meant to suggest that the translator should always find one-to-one categorically or structurally equivalent units in the two languages.  Sometimes two different linguistic units in different languages perform the same function. As a cultural communicator, the onus rests with the translator to bridge the gap between source and target text significations at both linguistic and cultural levels. As Siegel (2013) observes in one of her write-ups, “A source text could be thought of as a blueprint. If one strays from the instructions given, they end up with an entirely different product than the one originally intended.”[v] Fidelity to the source text means that the intention with which the source text was created has to be faithfully reproduced in the target text. Viewed in this light, the practice of translation appears to be a deliberate act of cultural interpretation.

§  Translation as Interpretation

The thesis according to which literary translation is a sort of interpretation has gained leverage among translation practitioners. It is customary for literary translators to seek out the author’s thoughts and communicative intent (Buhler, 2002). To put this differently, effective translation derives from the translator’s ability to decipher the significations of the words in the source text. The term ‘interpretation’ is used in this paper to mean ‘exegesis,’ the act of deciphering the meanings embedded in the linguistic and non-linguistic aspects of the source text. Exegesis presupposes a deliberate attempt by the translator to unveil the communicative motivations of the author of the text s/he is rendering. Competent translators are mindful of the fact that written texts embody among other things, cultural peculiarities, worldview and imagination of members of the linguistic community for whom the texts were written. The task of the translator does not end with uncovering the hidden meanings in the source text; an even more important demand on the translator is the task of transposing the unraveled meanings over into the target language.

§  Translation as Transposition

Jones (1997) sheds light on the signification of the term ‘transposition’ when she notes that transposition is a non-literal translation device.  Transposition involves a change in grammatical categories, namely nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions and more. For example, the source text in French which reads “quelques jours après sa mort, la presse fit des révélations sur la vie privée du président” could be rendered as “A few days after he died, the press leaked out, information on the president’s private life.” Notice that the noun phrase “sa mort” has been translated as a verbal statement, “he died.”  We must not lose sight of the fact that subtle differences exist between English and French. One such difference is that English is a synthetic language whereas French is analytical. To do a good job, the translator is expected to be conversant with structural discrepancies between source and receptor languages. Such knowledge enables the translator to resort to modulation as a translation technique.

§   Translation as Modulation

Modulation as a translation strategy involves a change not in grammatical category as with transposition, but rather in the thought pattern of the source text writer. The ability to skillfully effect a message modulation distinguishes competent from incompetent translators. Highly effective translators are those who have mastered the ropes and know when to resort to modulation in a bid to not only maintain the figurative connotation of the source text message in the target text but also to demonstrate sensibilities of the to target language community.

§  Sensitivity to Target Language Sensibilities

Texts are not written in a vacuum; they are offshoots of cultural milieus. To a large extent, deeply held beliefs in a target language community determine the extent to which a translated text will be accepted or rejected. This has wide-ranging ramifications for the marketability of translated works. As Lefevere (1992) puts it, “translators are interested in getting their work published. This will be accomplished much more easily if it is not in conflict with standards for acceptable behavior in the target language culture: with that culture’s ideology” (87). Seasoned translators know that if the source text is at variance with the ideology of the target culture, the translator has the latitude to tinker with the text so that the seemingly offensive passages are modified to conform to the ideology and poetics of the recipient community. This presupposes that the translator disposes of a sizeable socio-cultural baggage. Without such knowledge, the translator would be hard pressed to find relevant analogies in the target language culture and literature. The foregoing discourse places a huge premium on the primacy of cultural literacy as an effective operational tool in literary translation.

The question that begs to be asked at this juncture is why is it important to know all that has been said above? How valuable is this knowledge to budding translators, translation instructors and students of translation? We will provide answers to these questions below. The intent of this paper has not been simply to provide a plethora of modes of achieving faithful translations. The primordial intention has been to provide instructors and students of translation with some food for thought. The second and, certainly more important rationale has been to provide instructors of translation courses with a working model for conducting translation studies. We maintain that knowledge of the source and target languages alone will not suffice to be a good translation instructor. Given the polytonality and hybrid nature of the texts that are often assigned for translation, appropriate instructional models must be conceived for teaching literary translation. Culture-based literary texts, undoubtedly call for culturally-oriented pedagogical models. I will discuss one such model—the Bloom-Hermeneutic (Exegetic) model below.

Bloom-Hermeneutic Model

The Hermeneutic Model propounded by Schleiermacher and Bowie (1998) could be used in conjunction with Bloom’s Taxonomy (1956) to create an effective model for teaching translation. This dual model of textual analysis would be germane for teaching literary translation. The theory of hermeneutics underscores the importance of interpreting, not only the hidden significations embedded in the source text but also the situational dimensions that constitute the substructure on which the text is anchored. The model facilitates the teaching of translation by enabling instructors to come to grips with the rudiments of text analysis. The model is anchored on the perception that a holistic understanding of a text is feasible when the relationship between individual parts and the whole has fully been grasped.

Bloom’s Model of textual analysis requires instructors to create higher-order learning tasks that require translation students to interact with source texts at six different levels: Evaluation (making value judgments about issues discussed in the text, resolving semantic controversies, assessing the function of vocabulary in context and other textual issues); Synthesis (creating a unique original product that may be in verbal form or a combination of concepts to form a new whole, using old concepts to create new ones); Analysis(organizing ideas and recognizing trends, finding the underlying structure of communication, identifying motives); Application (using and applying knowledge, problem-solving, use of facts and principles implied in the source text); Comprehension (interpreting, translating from one medium to the other, demonstrating, summarizing, and discussing the signifier-signified relationship); Knowledge (recall of information, discovery and observation).


In a nutshell, instructors tasked with teaching the translation of culture-based texts cannot but be like the texts they teach—at once bilingual and bicultural. The Bloom-Hermeneutic Model is distinctive by its circular nature. It is built on the concept that neither the whole text nor any individual parts can be understood without reference to one another, hence, its circularity. The circularity inherent in the Bloom-Hermeneutic Model implies that the meaning of a text is to be found within its cultural, historical and literary contexts. The interface between socio-linguistics and literature implied in this model makes it particularly suitable for teaching the translation of hybrid literatures. There is no gainsaying the fact that this two-pronged pedagogical paradigm is exegetic and thus suitable for teaching the translation of multi-layered texts that call for multi-faceted analysis.


[i]Meta-linguistics is the branch of linguistics that deals with language and its relationship to other cultural behaviors. It is the study of dialogue relationships between units of speech communication as manifestations and enactments of co-existence.(cf.

[ii]Exegesis is a term used in translation circles to describe the unraveling of the significations embedded in the linguistic and non-linguistic components of source-text. Ljuldskanov (1969) posits that exegesis refers to the translator’s willful attempt to decipher the context, style and intent of the source text. Buhler (2002) opines that viewing translation as interpretation conditions the translator to “examine the social factors present in the surroundings of the author” (62). For more on exegesis, see George Steiner’s “The Hermeneutic Motion” in After Babel: Aspects of language and Translation (1998). Also see Vakunta’s The Role of Extralinguistic Factors at the Exegetic Stage of the Translation Process (1991).

[iii]Hermeneutics is the theory of textual interpretation, especially the interpretation of Biblical literary and philosophical texts. Modern hermeneutics includes both verbal and nonverbal communication as well as semiotics.

[iv]According to Nida (1974), dynamic equivalence is to be defined in terms of the degree to which the receptors of the message in the receptor language respond to it in substantially the same manner as the receptors in the source language.

[v]  Online communication in a translation course taught at the University of Indianapolis by Peter Vakunta, 2013.

 Works cited


Buhler, Axel. “Translation and Interpretation,” in Translation Studies: Perspectives in an

Emerging Discipline. Ed. Riccardi, Alessandra. Cambridge: Cambridge University

Press, 2002.


Cadford, J.C.  A Linguistic Theory of Translation. London: Oxford University Press, 1966.

House, Juliane. Translation Quality Assessment: A Model Revisited. Tubingen: Narr, 1997.


_____________. “Universal Versus Culture Specificity in Translation,” In Translation Studies:

Perspectives in an Emerging Discipline. Ed. Riccardi, Alessandra. Cambridge:

Cambridge University Press, 2002.


Lefevere, Andre. Translating  Literature: Practice and Theory in a Comparative Literature

 Context. New York: MLA, 1992.


Ljudskanov, Alexander. “The Semiotic Approach to the Theory of Translation,” in Language

Sciences, 1975.


Nida, Eugene.  The Theory and Practice of Translation. Brill: Leiden, 1964.

Steiner, George. After Babel: Aspects of Language and Translation. Oxford: Oxford University 

Press, 1998.


Vakunta Peter W. The Role of Extralinguistic Factors at the Exegetic Stage of the Translation

Process. MA Thesis, University of Buea, Cameroon, 1991.


How to Cook One’s Husband the African Way[1]

 By Calixthe Beyala
Translated from French by Dr. Peter W. Vakunta

Mine is the tale of an era when human beings no longer have the
time to procreate. There is decadence; there is excitement; there is craziness, and good food is regarded as poison to the human body because it engenders a surfeit of flesh that hurts the public eye.
I, whose life this tale is a part of, left my native land in order to know the world better because there is time to be lost and time to find one’s way; time to wonder and time to return to one’s roots.

I am black, even the sun would testify, but exile has made me lose my bearings. As time passes, I realize that I have succumbed to decadence, like someone cutting through fog, eyes wide open. I take a look at the sky and I ape white women, because, I believe, their fate is rosy; because, I believe, they have a better perception of good and evil, of what’s appropriate and what’s inappropriate, of what’s fair and what’s unfair; because, I believe,  they know how far they want to go and when to stop.

I don’t know when I became white; what I do know is that I straighten out my hair with maximum strength products called “Skin Success”.

I don’t know when I became white, what I do know is that I flake my skin with “Venus de Milo”. In the same vein, I brutalize my body in order to minimize it: I don’t have breasts. My buttocks are as flat as the surface of the earth, because,  I have to please white men; it’s a question of necessity; If I look like a bread-board, then I am pretty. I dance in circles on chilly days and men in hot pants vie with one another in their lust for me. When I walk my dry bones crackle on the left side of my body when you’d expect to hear them crackle on the right side, causing sun lovers and fine sand eaters to work up quite an erotic feat. I savor this victory while cleaning public restrooms: I know their nooks and crannies and could give you a description of the type of men who visit here.

First, there are the handsome old ones, who’d tell you that they’ll teach you how to make love with a woman; they’ll tell you that they’ll teach you the act and the art of love-making. But you wouldn’t understand anything at all because before they’re done teaching you,  they are stretched out on you as if attempting to escape from the ravages of time.

There are the chunky ones who’d stop thinking about their copious bodies when they smell vapor exuding from excrement and urine. They'd say they’d teach you quiet generosity by offering you the opportunity to take a look at their sleaky private parts.

There are women with big or tiny legs; rich and poor who  give the impression that they have the umbilical cord of the universe between their teeth. They wouldn’t say a word to you, as if by some mystery, you have come to share their fate. And that’s better.

I don’t know when I became white— it happens when people live close to one another; when days go by in great numbers and become so muddled up that they get confusing. One day the weather is awesome; the next day it is awful, and we, white women, black women, at times winter, at times summer.

We dare not take our eyes off the ground for fear of stepping on dog droppings on the sidewalks. If I’d taken my eyes off the ground, from time to time, just at the right moments, maybe it would have dawned on me that sometimes there’s light in the clouds; at times there’s darkness in the sun. Times have changed; much is still to come; only the future should preoccupy us.

Indeed, for the sake of the future we workout  inside the gym; our beauty wilts in sauna baths; we crush tons of fat because with bare bones we’ll look attractive to men, as if they were dogs. We pant, legs up in the air, chuckle, and when one of them manages to get hold of one of us he brags about her unusually skinny body at parties: “Have you met my new girlfriend?  A real model!” he would whisper, excited and contented. 

 Translator's note

[1]   Translation of an excerpt from Calixthe Beyala’s novel titled Comment cuisiner son mari à l’africaine(2002)

Nelson Mandela Convalescent in his Native Village
(Translated from French by Dr. Peter Vakunta)

Nelson Mandela avec sa petite-fille Ndileka Mandela le 18 mai 2011à Johannesburg.

 Nelson Mandela and his grand-daughter Ndileka Mandela on May 18 in Johannesburg

In South Africa, ex-president Nelson Mandela  left of his Johannesburg home yesterday, Sunday May 22, for the first time in four months. He is headed for his native village in the southern part of the country, where  he  will be convalescing, according to a communiqué issued by the South African Presidency.  The reason why Mandela decided to leave  his Johannesburg home in not known. The communiqué simply states that he needs some  rest. Last week, he told his family that he would like to return to his birthplace. He is now in the village of Qunu where he grew up. This weekend, military aircraft were seen in the air at the Mthatha  airport  very close to Qunu  in Eastern Cape  province. Moments later, a convoy came to fetch the former president and his wife Graça Machel. The communiqué from the presidency asserts that Madiba « is in good health. »
This was the first time « Madiba » as he fondly called by South Africans left his home since January. He was in hosptial toward the end of January, according to official sources, for a routine check,  but it later became known that he was suffering from a severe lung infection. No one has seen him since then. The  only photos seen of him since he left the hospital have been those that show him casting an early vote in the upcoming local elections.  
It should be noted that Nelson is 92, was imprisoned for 27, and not in good health at present. No one knows how long  he is going to be in his native village, much less whether he will be returning to Johannesburg.
Dr. Vakunta

S.O.S Bertrand Teyou!

By Dr. Peter Vakunta
Like all brutal dictators the world over, President Paul Biya of Cameroon continues to tighten his grip on power by having recourse to ruthless suppression of the basic freedoms of Cameroonians.  Lambo Pierre Roger Sandjo (a.k.a Lapiro de Mbanga) is languishing in the New Bell Central prison in Douala for daring to compose a song titled Constitution Constipée (Constipated Constitution)[i]  in which he castigates the Cameroonian Legislature for fiddling with the supreme law of the land to suit the whims and caprices of the executive.  Pius Njawé, owner of the Le Messager group of newspapers, and head of the Press Free Media Group who died under mysterious circumstances last year in the United States of America had a record number of 126 incarcerations under the nefarious Biya regime! Joe la Conscience, Loum-based musician and freedom fighter, also came under the axe of Mr. Biya’s demented soldiers not too long ago. His teenage son was shot to death by the Cameroonian military. Joe la Conscience’s only crime was that he dared to organize a one-man nonviolent protest against attempts to scrap presidential term limits from the Cameroonian constitution.  In February 26, 2010, three journalists, namely Harry Robert Mintya of the weekly Le Devoir, Bibi Ngota of Cameroon Express and Serge Bobouang of La Nation were arrested and are now languishing in jail, awaiting trial after they published a document in which the Secretary General at the Presidency of the Republic, Laurent Esso, is said to have urged the manager of the country’s hydro carbon corporation (SNH) to pay some commission worth $3million for the purchase of a ship. Last month, Kah Walla, a presidential hopeful, was subjected to a snake beating by Biya’s super-brutal military following an abortive uprising in Douala intended to send a clear message of exasperation to Biya who has been in power since 1982! The list is interminable.  Popaul’s latest victim is Bertrand Teyou, committed writer and human rights activist. Teyou is leaking his wounds in the notorious New Bell maximum security prison after publishing two books, L'Antécode Biya (Biya Anti-Code) and  La Belle de la République bananière: Chantal Biya, de la rue au palais"(The Belle of a Banana Republic, Chantal Biya, from the Street to the Palace). What follows is an interview he granted Patrice Nganang from his prison cell in New Bell where he is serving a two-year term.
Patrice Nganang: Hello Bertrand! How are you?
Bertrand Teyou: I am okay.  Listen, I am not despondent. I am upbeat because I know that the act that has landed me in jail is a just cause.  I wrote a book to express my feelings on the status quo in Cameroon, my homeland. My incarceration is, thus, attributable to my attempt to express myself freely. I have health problems due to the terrible meals I eat here. I have come down with hemorrhoid and mucus. My stomach is infected. The doctor has written a medical report in which he recommends special diets.
Patrice Nganang:  How are you treating yourself medically?
Bertrand Teyou: I have access to the Douala General Hospital. Each time I have a medical appointment, I am escorted there. I have to pay for everything, including the person that escorts me to the hospital. When I don’t have the money to pay, I postpone my appointments. I find it absurd that a prisoner has to pay for an escort. This is corruption! I pay to be given a place to sleep in prison. If I don’t pay, I will be made to sleep in mud containing garbage. If I did not have money to pay for a sleeping place, they would have made me sleep in the yard.
Patrice Nganang:   Where do you get money?
Bertrand Teyou: From the little savings I had made before being arrested and sent to prison.  But I am now broke, to tell you the truth.
Patrice Nganang: Do you have legal assistance— attorney or legal counsel?
Bertrand Teyou: No, I don’t have an attorney at this point in time. I had a lawyer to defend me for the first book but don’t have one for the second one. All lawyers are scared. Chantal is a bigger threat than her husband in Cameroon. When I write a book about Chantal Biya I am arrested but no one bothered me after the publication of my first book on Paul Biya.
Patrice Nganang:   What’s your greatest need at the moment?
Bertrand Teyou: My most urgent need is to pay my fine, the more so because my health is deteriorating with each passing day. I am wearing a diaper as I talk to you right now because I am bleeding profusely.  I had to resort to diapers as a preventive measure. The most urgent need for me now is to get out of this dreadful situation which is taking a hash toll on health. The second point I would like to make is that the sale of my books has not been prohibited.   We could find ways to sell my books in Cameroon and overseas, given that there has been no formal ban on these books.
Patrice Nganang:   You say your books have not been banned?
Bertrand Teyou:  The books have not been banned.  Sales outlets have been intimidated but have not been prevented from selling my books. A ruling of the Court did not affect the sale of my books. I inquired from the judge and she asserted that books cannot be censored in Cameroon. However, there are intimidation tactics being employed to impound my books. My office in Akwa has been ransacked, but these are mere intimidation maneuvers given that my books have not been legally prohibited in Cameroon. So they can be sold. 
Patrice Nganang:   What pushed you to write this book?   
Bertrand Teyou:    My book is the free expression of a citizen.  I hold no grudge again the First Lady but I refuse to live in a country where she has excessive control over the lives of citizens. I cannot stand the fact that our country is rotten and no one seems to be bothered about doing something to turn things around.  We are entitled to rise against the injustice that is crippling our country.  We cannot let evil  go unquestioned. This is the attitude I adopt in my writing. The struggle continues in spite of the travails I am going through right now. Each hurdle reinvigorates me. This system is bad for everyone.
Patrice Nganang: So, you stand by your books?
Bertrand Teyou: I acknowledge the fact that I have been excessive in my self-expression but this is the normal reaction to expect from a citizen overwhelmed with discontent.  I was expressing my discontent after having been persecuted for publishing my first book. So, this book is the expression of my dissatisfaction with what is going on in Cameroon, especially the macabre system that gives Chantal Biya the leeway to treat people around her with extreme cruelty.


Whipping Up Anti-French Sentiments is a Distraction!

By Patrice Nganang (Translated from French by Dr. Peter Vakunta)

Our mango season begins this February 23. If the Cameroonian revolution must succeed, we must learn some lessons from the successful Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions.  Each one of us must ask these questions: why is it that the Egyptians did not burn the American flag during their revolution, even though it is an open secret that Americans supported Hosni Mubarak during his 30-year tenure at the presidency?   Why did Arabs not burn president Obama’s effigy as they have always done with American presidents?  Why did they not burn the Israeli flag?  Closer to us, we must ask ourselves why Tunisians did  not commit acts of violence against French investments when it is well known that Alliot-Marie has been openly providing support to the Ben Ali regime until his last days in office by way of police training? The response to these interrogations is simple: just as the Arabs considered anti-American agitation a distraction, so too is anti-French resentment for us!
Dear friends, let us rejoice, rejoice for the battle to recapture Cameroon is underway.  It is our mango harvesting season. Biya’s regime is on the brink; let’s push it off the precipice. The hour of our liberation has come.  But, we have to resist the temptation to fall back on our old habit of whipping up anti-French sentiments or committing acts of violence against French interests at home or abroad. Here is why: 
  1. No football match can be won if there are nets in all the nooks and crannies of the stadium; no battle can be won if the assault is launched in all directions at the same time.  History has no record of such incidents. Our primordial goal at this juncture should be to chase Biya away from the helm.  He will go!  In this light, any agitation against the French is a very naïve distraction. Worse still, this will serve as a cynical tool at the disposal of those who want Biya, aged 80, to remain in power for seven more years. France would view anti-French uprisings in Cameroon as an opportunity to employ its classic stratagem: ask all its citizens (who in the most part are indeed Cameroonians!) to leave Cameroon; send its supposedly empty aircraft to Cameroon to evacuate its citizens as they did in Chad in February 2008 when Idriss Deby found himself in the throes of an uprising that engulfed Ndjamena. France would use this excuse to infiltrate our country and use its troops based in chad and Gabon to protect Biya.  Let it be crystal clear that a president like Biya, who cannot even guarantee the security of his own sub-divisional officers and soldiers at Bakassi but promises 25000 jobs to the youths for the simple purpose of currying their votes, is a leader at the end of his tether.
  2.  Cameroon has an Anglophone minority that has been in the forefront of the struggle for change in the country since 1990. Committing acts of violence against French interests in Cameroon would stifle the pulsating heartbeat of this struggle and alienate some Francophones who would jump to the conclusion that it is once again the ‘anglos who are fomenting unrest.’  We must not lose sight of the fact that several Francophones, including the elite of opposition parties, have close ties with France just as Biya and his cohorts do. I will cite the case of our illustrious Mongo Beti, who as we all know, had French citizenship. Attacking French interests in Cameroon would result in the same fiasco that brought a popular majority uprising in Cameroon in the past to a premature end and has never been resuscitated for 20 years.  Let us not commit this tactical blooper again!
  3. Battles are fought and won when they are waged on a common front fueled by solidarity and inclusion of willing combatants. Many French people would not be opposed the ouster of Biya if they are certain they are not the target of a Cameroonian uprising.  Putting the French on the horns of a dilemma would make it impossible for them to take sides in the event of a Cameroonian revolution. They would not form networks back at home in support of Biya; they would not put pressure on their government to maintain Biya in power. All hands need to be on deck in our upcoming revolution. Needless to mention the tactical blunder committed in Côte d’Ivoire, especially the gaffes made by Blé Goudé, who after creating a volatile situation, gave France ample opportunity to whip up sentiments of racism and xenophobia in a bid to talk to the international community on the behalf of Côte d’Ivoire, and to finally arrogate to itself the role of spokesperson of the Ivorian crisis.
  4.  Let’s be mindful of the fact that France under Sarkozy is weak and distracted as it is by events in Côte d’Ivoire, Tunisia, and Egypt and in other climes. Let us give him neither the honor nor the opportunity to interfere in our struggle. On the contrary, we, Cameroonians, should remember that we would win our battle by paying heed to the clarion call of Cameroonian youths who couldn’t care less what France thinks. We shall win by calquing our revolution on the tactical model of Tunisians and Egyptians who for the first time in the history of the African continent, succeeded in overthrowing tyrants using the synergy of a people united behind a common cause. We shall win our battle if we remind ourselves that when France ordered its citizens to leave Tunisia, Tunisians never turned against French people or against France. So, this time around, if we leave the French alone and direct our collective energy against Biya, Bèbèla, he will go!

Biya Will Go!

By Patrice Nganang (Translated from French by Dr. Peter Wuteh Vakunta)

If advisers of the President of Cameroon were as intelligent as they are qualified, they would have asked him this question: Mr. President, are you hard of hearing?  Do you really want to stand as candidate during the upcoming election? Don’t you hear the voice that is calling out from Tunis and Cairo? Don’t you hear the voice that is asking you to go on retirement? They would have asked him these simple questions, rather than eulogize him for organizing an agricultural fair in his region of origin after donkey’s years!  They would have talked him of this outdated idea of organizing an agricultural fair in 2011 after thirty years! Who would have thought of unearthing this archived idea concocted and used by former Cameroonian dictator, Ahmadou Ahidjo, for many years in order to idolize himself before suddenly resigning from power to be sentenced to death by his protégé, Paul Biya, and subsequently dying in exile as we all know ?
But then, instead of asking him these questions, Paul Biya’s advisers will be telling him, I am sure they have already done so, that Cameroon is not Tunisia.  To drive home the point, they will take a walk down memory lane and make reference to the angst expressed by the Cameroonian downtrodden in March 2008, an uprising that caused the death of hundreds of people but fizzled out because there was no leader to take charge of the moment. This is what happens when citizens of a country decide to sink their anger into the silence of frustration or seek solace in the opium of religious charlatanism. Paul Biya’s advisers will be telling him that Cameroon is not Egypt. They will underscore the fact that Cameroon is the most militarized country in the entire Francophone Africa, helmed in as it by the Republics of Chad and Gabon with French military bases, and sharing a common border with Nigeria, a country that is complacent with the regime in power in Cameroon. In sum, Paul Biya’s advisers will tell him that Cameroon is Cameroon.
Yes, these advisers will tell the president that Cameroon is Cameroon. They will  draw his attention to the fact that there is no viable opposition in Cameroon, coagulated as it is for twenty years with the likes of John Fru Ndi, Adamou Ndam Njoya, Jean Jacques Ekindi, you name them. Worse still, the Cameroonian diaspora has not yet been able to produce its own El Baradei or Alpha Condé.   They will tell him that fear of the kind of war that has set Côte d'Ivoire ablaze, after the Congo and the Central African Republic; the paranoia created by the abortive coup d’état in our country in 1984, will deter Cameroonians from attempting to replace the status quo with a new regime. They will assure him that the ethnocentric well-paid Cameroonian military will defend him, when necessary, against the Cameroonian people. Above all, Paul Biya’s advisers will, undoubtedly, tell him that French President, Nicholas Sarkozy, will stand behind him to safeguard his new position as tourch-bearer for Françafrique in the wake of the demise of Omar Bongo.  
If Mubarak were to quit today in the wake of the events in Tunisia and Egypt, Paul Biya will be the longest serving president on the African continent, with the exception of Robert Mugabe and Obiang Nguema. No mango tree will ever be more bereft of its last fruits by history; and never before has the message been more explicit to Africa’s lingering despots. Each passing day does not portend a propitious moment for the reign of dictatorship in Africa. On the contrary, what has transpired in Tunisia and is ongoing in Egypt is indicative of the fact that Africa’s reigning dictators will not be treated with kid gloves and allowed a peaceful exit from office. Say, which Cameroonian does not see the parallels between the regimes of Ben Ali and Paul Biya?  We  know full well that what we are witnessing in Côte d'Ivoire is symptomatic of an enfeebled France which in ten years has been unable to oust Laurent Gbago, because  Ivorians have mustered the courage to say: ‘no, my dear friends, not this time around!’ In Tunis, France finally backed off.
We are aware that the ongoing dramatic events in Egypt amount to undressing a tyrant who came to power in 1981 with a lone objective in mind: bequeath power to his own son. We know that the hereditary democracy prevalent in Togo and Gabon is the sort of governmental modus operandi that Paris would like to impose on Africa in the name of ‘stability’ and ‘peace’. France intends to do so in exchange for the technical assistance she provides African countries in terms of policing, as she attempted to do in Tunisia before being dribbled by the Tunisian people. We know, yes we know, bèbèla! We know that Cameroon is bigger than Togo or Gabon; and knows how to defend herself. Indeed, she has already done so in the past.  Above all, we Cameroonians, have a simple utterance in our repertoire, invented in 1990, and revived in 2008. We will re-write this sentence in our streets and on our bodies if need be, this utterance so simple and yet so just that we know how to make it expedient at this critical time in the history of our country: BIYA WILL GO!


A Wink at the Cameroonian Soldier

By Patrice Nganang (Translated  From French by Dr. Peter Vakunta)

You soldier, are skillful at using a gun; as for me, I have never touched one in my life. However, you are my brother.  That is why I am asking you this question: have you watched recent events on TV?  Like me, you have seen tyrannized people in Egypt and Tunisia rise to demand the respect of their basic freedoms from oppressors. You have watched Mubarak who has been in power for 30 years like Biya; send the police against his people. You saw how these policemen declined to open fire on their brothers and sisters? You also saw how the Egyptian president sent soldiers with tanks against his people but they refused to shoot at the crowds. Oh, I am sure you also saw how the bewildered president of Egypt sent military aircraft and helicopters against his people; you saw how the military refused to throw bombs on their own brothers and sisters.  Certainly, you saw how the president sent his body guards to beat up people when foot soldiers refused to kill in his name. No tyrant abandoned by the military would survive, because the national army represents the people; the more so because every soldier has a brother, sister, mother, father, grandfather, wife, child, cousin who are part and parcel of the people. No soldier can claim to be as attached to the Head of State as he is to his own people; whatever his ethnicity may be.

I am sure you are watching the events in Libya: a Head of State who orders his military to open fire on his compatriots; an army turned against the people. One is not born a soldier; one becomes a soldier. But the true army is the people, don’t you ever forget this. Any armed force that turns against its people,  becomes by this token a gang of mange-mille, highway robbers, brigands, militia that deserve to be destroyed. This is what happed in 1984 when the Republican Guard (RG) of our country took sides with coup-plotters that were fighting in defense of Ahidjo who at the time had become a simple citizen. This is what happened in Zaire years ago when the national army transformed itself into a gang of mercenaries at the behest of a tyrant who paid them. In the same vein, this came to pass in Rwanda when the national army committed genocide because they had been incensed by the ethnocentric discourses of the president. Any army that kowtows to the dictates of one person or group automatically loses its national identity; any army that uses live bullets against citizens deserves to be branded a criminal gang.  People have the right to defend themselves against an army which rather than protect them, would take the law into their hands and behave like brigands. To fight in self-defense against brigands is a legitimate manifestation of the sublime courage of citizens.

Cameroonians are coming out of their slumber! Soldier, on February 23 you stalled the uprising of the Cameroonian people. The populace from which the army, gendarmerie and police hail is valiant. Lest you forget, these are the people who in 1940, formed the first line of defense comprising 40,000 soldiers and fought behind Leclerc to liberate France from the throes of Nazi occupation. It is our brothers, fathers, grandfathers, coming from different ethnic groups in the country that traversed forests, steppes, and deserts to get to Kouffra, Bir Harkeim and Strasbourg in order to fight on the side of Charles de Gaulle to free France from the tyranny of Pétain. It is the Cameroonian people, in other words, us, who at one point in our history preferred to fight with dane guns, at times with empty hands in the dark forests of Bassaland and Bamilike plateaus instead of succumbing to the dictates of Ahidjo who was sentenced to death in our country as we all know. This 20 year-old battle might have remained buried in the crevices of your minds, nonetheless, suffice it to note that those who were in the forefront of this movement were hailed as national heroes in 1990 because they were progenies of the people.
If the Cameroonian army really wants to be seen as a true reflection of the historic courage of the people unfazed by tyranny, it should not aid and abet the oppression of Cameroonians. Thirty years under one president, now, that is tyranny! Biya is our common enemy! Like you, soldier, the large majority of Cameroonians has not known any other president but Biya. If the choice of the people had been respected this state of affairs would have changed twenty years ago. The real problem in Cameroon today is the army. In 2008, our military used denigrating epithets such as ‘outlaws’ and ‘vandals’ to describe our younger brothers fighting for their basic rights; in 2000 during the operational commands every youth was a bandit in the eyes of the military; in 1990 while beating the living daylights out of students, soldiers kept repeating the phrase ‘the first school leaving certificate is worthier than the GCE Advanced Level certificate’. On February 23 this year, it is you soldier, yes you again, who took to the streets to defend the despot. During historic moments in our history, it is always soldiers who have turned their guns on the Cameroonian people. Irony of sorts, unlike Ben Ali, Mubarak, and Ghaddafi, Biya is not even a soldier. Soldier, why are you bent on protecting him? Before Biya, there was a Cameroonian army; after Biya, there will be a Cameroonian army. Don’t forget soldier, policeman, and gendarme that the true valor of a member of the armed force is not measured by the number of compatriots he has killed; but rather by the number of enemy forces he has routed. The strength of the Cameroonian army will never be measured by the number of Cameroonians they have killed or beaten. Soldier, the day you will finally stand with the Cameroonian people, like your peers in Tunisia and Egypt, who are not less honorable and dutiful, Biya and his cohort will take to their heels and the people will embrace you. Bèbèla.

[i]  All translations are mine except where otherwise indicated.

Mubarak resigns: International community rejoices

Published by Radio France Internationale, February 11, 2011

Translated from French by Dr. Peter Vakunta

President Hosni Mubarak decided today, Friday February 11, 2011 to resign. In power since 1981, the Egyptian leader bowed to pressure from the Egyptian people and the international community, relinquishing power and ceding leadership of the country to the military. The United Nations, European Union, United States and several chancelleries have welcomed the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak.
The official announcement of his resignation came from Vice-President Omar Suleiman at 6:00pm local time. Pressure from the streets got the better of Hosni Mubarak. This Friday evening, February 11, 2011, after eighteen days of mass protests the Egyptian opposition finally got what they have been clamoring for: Mubarak’s departure from power.   Tahrir Square is in a jubilant mood.  With one voice, the West has welcomed the departure of ex-President Mubarak.” The voice of the Egyptian people has been heard, “says gleeful UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon.
American President, Barack Obama, has added his voice by calling upon the military now at the helm in Egypt to lift the state of emergency and lay the ground work for a peaceful transition to democracy through free and fair elections.  Speaking from the White House, the president reiterated the fact that his country remains a friend and partner to Egypt and would provide the help necessary for transition to democracy. “It’s a historic day today,” Vice President Joe Biden said.
Nicolas Sarkozy lauded the courageous and much desired decision taken by Hosni Mubarak, and called for free and fair elections in Egypt. German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, talked of “a historic change.”
British Prime Minister, David Cameron, called for a democratic civilian government. “Mubarak has heard the cry of the Egyptian people,” said Catherine Ashton, head of the European Diplomatic Mission.

The European Union: the voice of the Egyptian people has been heard
For Catherine Ashton, the voice of the people of Egypt has been heard. In her view, this event opens doors for more rapid and profound reforms. On his part, European Union’s representative for external relations observes that it is desirable to accelerate dialogue leading to a broad-based representative government that respects the aspirations of protesters. Over and above, Catherine Ashton has called upon Egyptian leaders to respect fundamental freedoms and human rights and expressed the wish that people who engage in unlawful acts will be investigated and brought to book.
On his part, President of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek, expresses concern about the long-term ramifications of recent happenings in Egypt.  He wishes that this would be the beginning of sustainable change in the country. He further expresses his conviction that the evolution of events would remain peaceful and democratic. With perceptible lyricism, Jerzy Buzek urges Egyptians to “water and tend the tree of liberty they have just planted.”  It goes without saying that Europeans are now trying to speak in unison. What the world wants to see at this juncture is how they contribute to the realization of the change they desire for Egypt.

Switzerland makes an unprecedented first move
Shortly after the resignation of Hosni Mubarak, the Swiss government took the decision to freeze all funds that the president might have placed in its banks. All financial institutions in Switzerland have been asked to disclose all monies placed in their coffers by the former president and to freeze the funds.  Attempts will be made to distinguish funds belonging to the Egyptian government from those owned by the Mubarak family. The goal is to stop the president from transferring the loot, if there has been looting, elsewhere thereby making the task of restitution onerous. For several days now, information that could not be confirmed at this stage has been circulating about the misappropriation of sums of money ranging from $40 to $70 billion.  Numerous publications, including The Guardian of London and the Geneva Tribune have cited these astronomical amounts in the course of this week.  A good portion of these sums might have been placed in Swiss bank UBS and banks in England and Scotland.

Israel hopes to see a peaceful transition
“One can anticipate a peaceful transition to democracy in Egypt and neighboring countries,” said an Israeli official who spoke on condition of anonymity on Friday in the evening. The Jewish State is, undoubtedly, reassured, for the time being, of the success of the transition process in Egypt: continuity via the military and vice-president Suleiman; a continuity that leaves intact the 1979 peace accord between Israel and Egypt. This state of affairs does not entirely allay the fears of the Jewish State which dreads the possibility of seeing a country that was, hitherto, a friend turn into an enemy.  This is what happened when Iran, Israel’s ally became an enemy in the wake of the Islamic Revolution. If history were to repeat itself with Egypt, nothing would ever be the same again, militarily, politically, economically…

On the Palestinian side:
News about Mubarak’s resignation was greeted with shouts of joy in Ramallah in Cisjordania as well as the Gaza Strip. In Gaza where Hamas controls the territory, there is talk about the “beginning of victory.” Palestinian Hamas, which is affiliated with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, is already calling for the immediate raising of the siege in the Gaza Strip. This Islamist group does not veil its satisfaction to see Hosni Mubarak depart.  For them, Mubarak symbolizes peace with Israel, proximity with the West, and participation in the blockade of Gaza.

Tunisians, who arrogate to themselves the role of precursors in the struggle for liberty, share the joy of Egyptian protesters.  


What if Biya’a stopped dyeing his hair?
By Dr. Patrice Nganang (Translated from French by Dr. Peter Vakunta)

Ludicrous Biya’a whose hair is darker than those of Obama who is thirty years his junior!  Let Biya’a tell us the truth: what products does he use to dye his hair?   He cannot be using simple dyeing products because at 80 the tissue of his hair has certainly become resistant to products intended to darken only the surface of one’s hair. Undoubtedly, he needs products that would penetrate his hair down to the root of each hair in order to obtain the coloring effects that he desires. With the fortune he has amassed over 30 years as president of Cameroon, he certainly spurns ‘Just men’ products sold everywhere. He needs products that would enable senile folks like him to grow false hair. Is there anything that still surprises Cameroonians about this fellow who has governed their country under a pseudonym, and a counterfeit age minted in Kumba? Could he be the only one in his generation who was not born ‘circa 1930’ in the South of Cameroon?  Is there anything about this man that is not make-believe? Maybe his denture.
This tyrant may put on as much make-up as he deems fit, it will not change this fact: ignominy bears the face of putrefaction.  This despot may dye his hair as dark as he likes, it will not obliterate this irrefutable truth: infamy has the dripping face of ugliness. This is a universal truth that no hairdresser can deny. Ah, this old man, see how he uses artifices to conceal his real age in a culture where age is actually venerated! But let him not forget that truth cannot be hidden from us for too long, for today the President of Cameroon is stark naked! Yes, dear friends, take a look at him! Look at this man who will soon be bedridden, and yet sends soldiers to oppress his own people, youths in the most part!  Take a look at this old man who takes delight in assassinating the youths of this country. Look at this aging man who seeks solace in the lap of a young woman, in a bid to hide his hideous face! And yet, tell me my friends, what kind of lotion does he apply on his face to eradicate wrinkles? And his moustache, yes his moustache, doesn’t he dye that one too?
And then-o!  Just look at this tyrannical old man with a borrowed face and clanking voice. He deludes himself into believing that he holds the future of this country in his hands. In his bed he mistakes each one of us, each Cameroonian for this Chantal that he pounds and screws with the aid of viagra. In his demented haste, characteristic of revelers, to prolong his stay at Etoudi, Biya’a fails to pay heed to these simple words that every Cameroonian youngster whispers to him: Fella, when people don’t want you anymore, quit before they chase you away! Yes, we want elections; but not Biya’s self-succession.
Elections without Biya!   That’s our catch-phrase. Asking Biya’a to leave now is not a plea; rather it is a wise piece of advice. It is our way of telling him that allowing him to rule for seven more years in addition to the thirty he has already spent at the helm in Cameroon would amount to a political crime. Seven more years in power would aggravate matters for him.  He should remember that winning the upcoming October elections would not earn him the legitimacy he so badly needs to govern Cameroon. The ghosts of the hundreds of Cameroonians he has killed have robbed him of executive legitimacy. Cameroonians may never give him the chance to enjoy the peaceful retirement that he may be entitled to; a retirement he never allowed his predecessor, Ahmadou Ahidjo, to enjoy.
To quit power in a dignified manner is in itself a vote that can be won or lost. This time the choice lies with the tyrant, Biya’a. He may do well to take his cue from a few recent examples: Blaise Compaoré had an 80.21%  victory in the November 25, 2010 elections in his country; yet today he sleeps with only one eye closed  on account of fear of his people who have unexpectedly woken up to denounce fraud. He had to quickly appoint a minister of defense in order to appease the soldiers who were hell-bent on getting rid of him. Museveni who also fraudulently won the presidential elections in his country by 74% has to resort to high-handed methods to keep his people silent. But the question that begs being asked is: how long will this last?  It does not suffice to win elections in order to stay in power. Ben Ali who won 89.62% of the votes out of an 89.40% voter turnout during the presidential elections in Tunisia on October 25, 2009 would have this to say to Biya’a: voices that have remained mute for so long are not necessarily contented.
 So, Biya’a should desist from acting the fool!  Political wisdom does not consist in imposing oneself on the electorate by means of subterfuges or by wielding BIR guns. Political sagacity is measured by one’s willingness to learn the lessons of the times: the wisdom to acknowledge the fact that years at the presidency is too much! Ah, and talking about time, go ask Gbagbo who knew how to transform time into a dreadful weapon. Ask him where he would be today had he resigned on March 30!  Power is sweet for he that still has it but let us never forget that the rage of a downtrodden people who have been silenced for a half century is a regicidal time-bomb that brooks no imposture. Believe me, Biya’a, yes believe me, Biya’a Paul, for such is your real name, even your graying hair shall not earn you an iota of respect when the Cameroonian people shall have lost their temper.

IMF Director, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, held in Custody in New York for  alleged sexual harassment

Translated from French by Dr. Peter Wuteh Vakunta
Source :

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Director of IMF was arrested on Saturday May 14 at the JFK Airport in New York on his way to France. Accused of alleged sexual harassment of a female hotel employee, he is being detained at a police station in New York at present. Dominique Strauss-Kahn is one of the political heavy weights in France viewed as a possible candidate for the Socialist Party during the upcoming 2012 presidential elections.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn was arrested aboard an Air France aircraft  bound for Paris at the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Airport by  security agents in charge of the ports in New York and  New Jersey and handed over to the  Manhattan police.  
The Director of IMF is accused of sexually harassing a female employee at the Sofitel Hotel in Times Square in New York on Saturday morning. The IMF in Washingston is yet to react to this  breaking news.
Mr.Dominique Strauss-Kah was scheduled to attend a conference of Finance Ministers of the Euro Zone in Brussels, and later give a talk on Wednesday at the 12th Economic Forum organized by the European Commission in Brussels.
The next day he was going to deliver a paper titled   « International Recovery and Cooperation: Challenges to Surmount » at the Peterson Institute in Washington on the subject of international economics. Mr. Dominique Strauss-Kahn has been Director of the IMF since 2007. Though he has not announced his decision to run for elections as a candidate for the Socialist Party, opinion polls have placed him top on the list. 
Dr. Vakunta

Curious Study on Anglophone and Francophone Cameroonians
By Simo Bobda, University of Yaoundé I, and Innocent Fassé Mbouya, University of Douala (Translated from French by Dr. Peter Wuteh Vakunta)

How do Anglophones and Francophones identify themselves and perceive each other in Cameroon? One of the salient aspects of Cameroon’s colonial heritage is its official languages—French and English. These two languages harbor two occidental cultures (English and French). Cameroonians who speak these languages in addition to 286 indigenous languages have two sub-identities, two personalities, and two supra-cultures (Anglo-Saxon and French) that do not always cohabitate harmoniously. Today, as Cameroonians celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the country’s independence from colonial masters, and the reunification of Anglophone and Francophone Cameroons, there is need to take a keen look at the perceptions and attitudes that Anglophone and Francophone Cameroonians have toward each other.  To do this, two researchers, both professors, have carried out a socio-linguistic survey involving more than two hundred adult speakers of English and French, all students at the Universities of Yaoundé 1 and Douala. The fairly interesting results obtained from the study are striking in several respects, not least of which is the way members of one linguistic subgroup perceive members of the other subgroup.
Objectives and methodology of the study
The aim of this study was to scientifically elicit responses to several questions, notably the manner in which members of one linguistic community perceive members of the other linguistic community; how each community defines its members; and finally, the degree to which each of these communities is tolerant or intolerant toward members of the other linguistic community. To this end, questionnaires containing 22 questions were distributed to 240 Cameroonian students at the Higher Teachers’ Colleges of the University of Douala and Yaoundé 1. In total, 209 Anglophone and Francophone students of both sexes actually completed and returned their questionnaires. The results show that more Francophones than Anglophones completed the questionnaires. However, more female than male Anglophones responded to the questions.  On the Francophone side, more men than women responded. These disparities could be explicated by the fact that on the national level, there are more Francophones than Anglophones in Cameroon. Moreover, this survey was conducted in two French-speaking cities (Douala and Yaoundé). The male/female dynamics in both groups are a matter of pure coincidence. Given that the focus of this study was not gender, the disparities that were noted in each group were not given undue consideration.
An analysis of the findings engendered some noteworthy facts presented here. For the purpose of clarity, findings for both groups are presented concomitantly. Thus, for each question, the opinions and attitudes of Anglophones and Francophones will be juxtaposed followed by analyses and/or remarks made by the researchers.
  • How do Anglophones and Francophones identify themselves?
1. Who is Anglophone in Cameroon in the opinion of Anglophones?
  •  A person whose parents originate from the North-West or South-West  regions (82.3% agreed; 13.8% disagreed, and 3.4% abstained);
  • A person who has studied in the Anglophone system but whose parents are neither from the South-West nor from the North-West (47.1% agreed, 50.6 disagreed, and 2.3% abstained);
  •  A person who hails from the North-West or South-West even if s/he is not proficient in English(66.7% agreed; 31.0%disagreed, and 2.3% abstained);
  • A person who is from the North-West or South-West even if s/he studied in the Francophone system(52.9% agreed; 43.7% disagreed, and 3.4% abstained);
  • A person who masters and utilizes English as his/her main functional tool  even if s/he is not from the North-West or South-West(32.2% agreed; 62.1% disagreed, and 5.7% abstained);
2. Who is Francophone in Cameroon in the opinion of Francophones?
  • A person whose parents originate from  a region other than the North-West  or South-West (71.3% agreed; 26.21% disagreed, and 2.5% abstained);
  • A person who has studied in the Francophone education system even if his parents are from  the North-West or South-West(66.4% agreed 32.8% disagreed; and 0.8% abstained);
  • A person who hails from the North-West or South-West but is proficient in French and uses it as his main functional tool (37.9% agreed; 52.9% disagreed, and 9.2% abstained);
  • A person who originates from a Francophone region but is not proficient in French (51.7% agreed; 36.8% disagreed, and 11.5% abstained).
From the foregoing, it could be inferred that the notion of Anglophone and Francophone is subject to different definitions depending on the linguistic group under the spotlight. However, it is clear that the definition that has gained the greatest sway is that which is based on ethnicity followed by the one that puts a premium on the fact that a person who originates from an opposite group has been schooled in the education system of the other group. Proficiency in English or French is considered third as a criterion for defining who Anglophone or Francophone Cameroonians are.  As regards Cameroonians whose ethnicity links them to one linguistic community, even though they have lived or studied in the education system of the other group, Cameroonian linguist, Eric Anchimbe, has made some interesting findings on how these people identify themselves. They are an atypical group of Cameroonians often branded “Eleventh Province Cameroonians”, or linguabrides, a term coined by Anchimbe to describe them. They are often perceived as a rather opportunistic group: Anglophone now and Francophone the next day depending on circumstances. In this light, one could draw the conclusion that the notion of Anglophone and Francophone means different things to different people. Indeed, it would be safe to talk of degree of Anglophony and Francophony, concepts that shouldn’t be based on dictionary definitions, unless recourse is made to a dictionary that acknowledges Cameroonian socio-linguistic realities. Having said this, it is important to shed light on the ways in which members of each linguistic community in Cameroon view members of the other group.
How do Anglophone and Francophone Cameroonians judge each other?
To properly gauge reality, the researchers provided a scale of traits in the questionnaire in a bid to facilitate the task for respondents. For example, to respond to the question relating to “good education/civility”, respondents had to choose from the following options: “highly educated”, “well educated”, “poorly educated”, “and very poorly educated”.
On elegance
Certain stereotypes common among Francophone Cameroonians led the researchers to include this criterion. The stereotypes include: “Anglophones are always on the odd side of things or are always awkward”. This expression often refers to the general comportment, worldview and style of dress of Anglophones. Reponses to questions in the questionnaire show clearly that Anglophones have the same impression about their Francophone compatriots given that 60% of respondents from both linguistic communities believe that the others are not elegant.
On work ethics
A striking disparity was observed here: while the great majority of Francophones (69.7%) believe that Anglophones are hard-working, and up to 12.3% of Francophones consider Anglophones very hardworking, only 23.0% of Anglophones viewed Francophones as hard-working. A mere 1.1% of Anglophones considered Francophones hard-working. Given that questions in this section of the study are based essentially on stereotypes, the researchers were not particularly keen on obtaining justifications for respondents’ value judgments. 
On corruption
The trend of responses in this rubric is similar to the aforementioned. In other words, Francophones have a strong tendency to perceive Anglophones in a positive light whereas Anglophones perceive Francophones negatively.  Furthermore, the researchers noted one other point of divergence in favor of Anglophones. While a significantly large majority of Anglophones(87.4%) regard Francophones as  corrupt, in fact, 58.9% consider them very corrupt, and 27.6% corrupt, more than half the number of Francophone respondents (54 out of 91)view Anglophones as honest people.
On competence
Members of the two linguistic communities also passed value judgments on each other based on the criterion of competence at work. The results obtained confirmed the negative perception that Anglophones have of Francophones in Cameroon. The contrary remains true regarding the perception of Anglophones by Francophone Cameroonians.
In fact, as the figures indicate, while half the number of Francophones considers Anglophones competent (53.3%), up to 70.1% of Anglophones consider Francophones incompetent.
Dr.Vakunta is professor of Modern Languages at the Defense Language Institute, California-USA

Translated from French
 By Peter W. Vakunta

Translator’s note
These poems are excerpts from Jeanne Ngo Mai’s poetic anthology titled Poèmes sauvages et lamentations (1967) published by Les Cahiers des Poètes de Notre Temps, Palais Miami, Monte- Carlo.

Biography of the poet
Jeanne Ngo Mai was born in 1933 in Poutchack near the small town of Ngambe in Cameroon. After studying at Sackbayeme’s Protestant Mission and completing her studies in Yaoundé in 1954, she went to Toulouse (France) where she graduated in Pharmacy and obtained her PhD in 1962. She returned to Cameroon and worked in the Yaoundé hospital for a year as chief pharmacist.
Jeanne’s keen interest in poetry goes back to her childhood when writing was an important part of her student days. Her books include Poèmes sauvages et lamentations (1967) and Tests de résistance aux insecticides de contact des larves de culex pipiens de la ville de Toulouse (1961).

Biography of the translator

Peter W. Vakunta was born in the village of Bamunka-Ndop in the Republic of Cameroon.  After studying at Sacred Heart College-Mankon (1970-1976), Vakunta left for  Yaounde where he did his BA in modern letters.  He pursued graduate studies at the National Advanced School of Translators and Interpreters where he obtained his MA in translation studies in 1991. He has been a practicing translator since then.
At present, he lives in  California . He has worked as a French/English translator-interpreter for the Wisconsin circuit courts. Vakunta is novelist, storyteller, poet and essayist. He numerous fictional works have won prestigious literary prizes in the US, U.K and Africa. He is a distinguished member of the International Society of Poets.

I took part in the fasting,
I took part in Ramadan.
Ramadan is over,
The month of self-imposed fasting has come to an end.
When shall involuntary fasting come to an end?
Fasting by the poor and families in dire need?
I took part in the fasting.
Like the Moslems;
I drank no water,
I ate nothing during the day.
My body bore the pangs of hunger,
But my soul Lord,
 Is not saved.
This afternoon, as I ate my meal of the day,
This evening as I sat down at table,
Did I feel myself closer to the world’s starving populations?
Those souls
Underneath the white gandouras
            Worn by those celebrating the end of Ramadan,
Are they saved?
At the public square
Where white gandouras
Squatted in festive mood,
I saw several empty spaces:
Places reserved for those who shall
Never see the end of Ramadan.

In love’s various phases,
Disappointments, sins and breakups
Come in rapid succession,
Heavy like the kiln.
This is my fate
Where the most painful experience is often the inevitable breakup:
Break with the past
Break with the present
Break with the one’s faith
Break with promises
Break with exhilaration
And contemplation of the future
With only one hope in mind!
You know only too well God!
This life-style does not befit me.
I searched for peace in vain.
I suffered many times
And in all this
You’ve not shown me the place in which I belong
You know you made me a sensitive being
I feel pain deeply and interminably.
You know full well that
I am in despair
 In total hopelessness.
You’ve not set me free.
You’re waiting for me to make the decision
                        To kill myself
And then you’d punish me
                        For suicide
So that even in your kingdom
I’d have no place.

Under your fingers
My body shivered.
And quivered even more
When your lips touched
My temple and jaws.
Suddenly, the world
Became sweet like honey
Your hand on my breast
And your head on my shoulder
Transformed my erstwhile
Grief into nondescript joy;
How much shall I pay
For this unique experience?
“O time halt you flight!”
Before I land again,
Let me hear the beating of his heart
Lest my broken heart
Concealed by my silk dress
Begin to fathom mirages.

This hand on my breast
And this head on my shoulder
How much shall I pay
For this unique experience?

When the day
I’ve been waiting for shall come,
My tears shall dry up
Hate shall no longer swell in my chest
Nor jealousy in my nostrils,
Love alone shall speak.

When the day
I’ve been waiting for shall come,
Inequality shall be banished.
What shall remain will be
remote memories of
Ten million Algerians who
Counted for less than one million
Five hundred Europeans;
Of millions of South Africans
Deemed less important
than a few thousand Whites.

When the day
I’ve been waiting for shall come,
The powerful will no longer
Dispossess the widow
Or the powerless of their land;
Nor rob them of the fruit of their labor.

No one will take advantage
Of the unwary
Nor dupe the poor in spirit.

When the day
I’ve been waiting for shall come,
Injustice will no longer reign supreme
The jail will no longer be the habitat of the innocent.

When the day
I’ve been waiting for shall come,
No one will turn his back to the beggar
In need of a slice of bread
Nor to those in dire need of a little warmth
Everyone shall extend a hand of friendship
To their universal neighbors.

When the day
I’ve been waiting for shall come,
The one I’ve been waiting for,
Homes will no longer be pillaged by bandits
People will no longer lose their lives in meaningless wars
Waged in the name of so-called
Honor and ideology of nations.

When the day
I’ve been waiting for shall come,
The one I’ve been waiting for,
Peace will return to Vietnam
And Rapacious America
Will criminalize racial segregation.

In bygone times
Shall belong slavery
And Indians
And Mau-Mau
And dirty-black-dogs.
And the red war
And apartheid.
In the self-same bygone times
Shall belong
Hitlerian wars
And Vietnamese wars
And wars of independence
And arrogant leaders,
Shall no longer wage wars based on differences in opinion:
Stabilized nations,
Shall return to sanity,
When the day shall come,
The day I’ve been waiting for.
 Toulouse, 1955-1967 Yaoundé
Today sitting
In my relaxation chair,
I’ll write a poem devoid of passion.

Today sitting
In my relaxation chair,
I’ll write a poem
Not from imagination,
Nor from fictional inspiration,
But a poem based on the day-to-day
Happenings in my Nation.

There’s been radio broadcasting
On the subject of the creative circumstances
And publication of my poem,
My poem of Unity.

If I am not mistaken
My poem shall be a call for Unification,
The Unification of the entire Nation.

A poem a hundred lines long,
Lines without double-spacing.
A poem a hundred pages long,
Pages without margins.
 A poem a hundred sheets long
Sheets without borders.
My poem a thousand pages long,
My timeless poem,
That shall unite people of all ages:
The embryo of UM NYOBE
To all heads of State,
From generation to generation.

My de-tribalized poetry
For this era of relaxation,
My poetry without Bamileke
Without Bassa, without Bulu.
Epoch without Beti, without Hausa and without Fulbe.
Era without leadership scheming
And theft aided and abetted by tribalism,
Which is the cause of great pain to the Nation.

My poetry without filial relations
For all the nations within the Nation
At the concert of nations
And at all concerts,
The costs of operations,
Shall be paid in conformity with set norms,
The weak and the underprivileged “brother”
The indolent son of the family,
Shall be entrusted to the care of a stranger
Or to an anonymous son, stronger and more re-assuring
Because in my Nation
There shall be only one big National family.

My poetry without party affiliations,
Where all parties belong in the same party,
Where hitherto sworn enemies and allies
Reconciled enemies, pure as jewels,
Shall shun accusations
And decry corruption.
With one voice,
Five million people shall build the Union,
Reinforcing concrete with strings of charity.

Therefore, my poetry is poetry for Unity
Amongst all leaders and all parties,
For the Unity of all Cameroonians
Who shall henceforth, without exception, feel at home
In offices bereft of sectarianism.
Poetry for my Nation founded
On the principle of equality,
My Nation in love with justice
                        My Nation in love with probity
                        My Nation free of malice
                        Where for the love of truth
The guest shall no longer be poisoned
At the banquet,
And the citizen shall no longer fake unhappiness
To keep his pious pretty wife company.
The poetry of my independent country
My reunited country,
In all hearts shall dwell unity
Free of harassment by the police and the militia.

Today I can sing from my relaxation chair
Poetry for Unity
Poetry for eternity.

If only someone would listen
To my poetry devoid of inspiration,
My poetry endangered by the daily occurrences in my Nation
If only someone would cordially chant my poetry.

Alleluia on the first day of September,
 On the first day of every month,
 From the first day of January to the first day of October,
The last of the first-borns
In all its simplicity,
Shall become the first of all the first-borns.

 Yaoundé, 23 and 28 August 1966
Poetry contest on September 1, 1966
 In honor of the Unification of
political parties in Cameroon.

Chinese Investment in Africa: Is this a threat to U.S. National Interest?
 By Gerald Mathis

It is estimated that sometime between 2015 and 2020 that most of the new oil entering the world market will come from African fields.[1]  With this in mind, United States scholars and policymakers have offered divergent perspectives on the strategic implications to China’s rapid expansion into Africa.  Some offer that China is only interested in “consuming” Africa’s oil supplies and not in helping Africa become a stronger more stable region. It is also speculated that China’s traditional policy of “non-interference“undermines United States efforts to promote good governance and democratization.[2]  Realists, like John Mearsheimer, also suggest that Chinese economic expansion is dangerous because China may decide to establish a military presence in Africa in order to protect its interests.[3]  And yet there are other opposing arguments that view the Sino-African Relations as mutually beneficial and pose little threat.  Since maintaining unimpeded access to African oil is a key U.S. National Security interest, how the United States interprets the deepening China-Africa partnership is crucial.[4]  Does the available evidence collaborate or contradict claims that China’s economic expansion in Africa endangers U.S. National Security interests? 
This article will explain that the expanding China-Africa Relationship poses no military threat to the United States, but it does make it more difficult to promote democratization on the continent.  I begin by exploring how China’s perceived “push to extract oil” in Africa has overshadowed other economic connections between China and Africa.[5]  Next, I discuss how China is likely to maintain their “purely defensive” military strategy that includes “maintaining peace and security through dialogue and cooperation and giving full scope to the important role of the United Nations (UN) and other multilateral mechanisms.”[6] Finally, I demonstrate that international pressure is slowly forcing Beijing to soften its devotion to “non-interference,” but the speed of this change in policy is helping to prolong the instability of certain regions in Africa.  To best illustrate this I will use Sudan as an example and explore China’s actions (or lack thereof).   

The Real Story of China in Africa
China’s leadership considers it offensive to be lectured or questioned about its ever expanding consumption of Africa’s oil supplies. China’s current share of total African oil production is approximately 9 percent, compared to Europe’s 33 percent and  the United States’ 32 percent.[7]  As Sean McFate explains, “China’s push into Africa is noteworthy for its velocity, not its volume.”[8]  In fact, China’s actual oil imports from Sudan are less than 100,000 barrels per day.[9] Critics of the People’s Republic of China also fail to realize that the lead Chinese state-owned company, the Chinese National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), operates with increasing independence from the Chinese state.[10]  For all of the international criticism China is taking for its actions in Sudan, it is surprising how little oil is actually being extracted from this volatile region.  Stephen Morrison emphasizes, “The Chinese National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) has been doing well financially in its Sudan operations, but the Chinese government has been the target of massive international criticism. When taken in a global context, 85 million barrels of production per day is a paltry volume of oil imports from Sudan.”[11]  But nonetheless, 85 million barrels a day generates and significant amount of income.
            While China’s rapid oil extraction in North Africa has been over exaggerated, its other trade, investment and economic aid initiatives have either gone unnoticed or have been harshly judged. [12]  The Sino-African Relationship, however, is more than a one-way China-to-Africa flow of aid and benefit.  Take for example, the equally beneficial relationship between China and Morocco that has emerged over the last decade.  In 2006, after talks between President Hu Jintao and Moroccan King Mohammad VI, China and Morocco signed a package of accords to expand bilateral trade in the “fields of science and technology, telecommunications, agriculture, oil and gas development, labor, project engineering and human resources training, and encourage two-way investment.”[13]  The relationship with the Chinese is important to Moroccans.  This was demonstrated during the May 12, 2008 earthquake in China.  Morocco was not only quick to offer moral support, but also provided $1 million to aid China’s earthquake victims.[14]  Moroccans are not the only Africans reaping tangible benefits as a result of doing business with China.  Maxie Schoeman explains, “China’s biggest investments are in hydropower generation (once the current initiatives are completed, it will have increased access to electricity by 30%) and transport, especially railways, with investment having increased fourfold between 2001 and 2005.”[15] 
Part of the anxiety over China’s presence in Africa comes from the challenge they pose to traditional ideas about aid.  In particular, the Chinese, like African leaders generally favor infrastructure projects, while Western donors prefer to avoid them.[16]  Additionally, a number of Chinese companies are choosing to stay in Africa after they have completed the initial projects. This shows they believe there will be economic opportunities in Africa for a long time and want to make sure they are readily available to reap the benefits. There is however, emerging criticism on how China conducts business on the continent.  While African governments often welcome these new business projects, unemployed workers are growing to resent Chinese companies because they import their workforce and materials from China and rarely intermingle.[17] This process of import and build leaves the African citizens with no new jobs, no new contracts for raw goods, and little economic gain.

China’s Main Strategic Objective Is Economic Development, Not Military Supremacy
Now that China has established an economic appetite that feeds itself with the endless supplies of African raw materials, there is emerging concern among some policymakers and scholars that China will begin to increase its military presence and influence in Africa.[18]  Despite the strategic importance of Africa, it does not appear that China will to try to protect its economic interest by unilaterally projecting military power.[19] First, any increase in China’s military footprint on the continent would be considered unnecessary and unwelcomed, especially by the African Union. For the United States, the War on Terrorism, especially in regards to Al Qaeda in the Maghreb has placed Africa on the top of the list for US interest.  Since September 11, 2001, the United States has devoted substantial resources, particularly in North Africa, the Sahel and East Africa to assist these regions in combating terrorism. There are other indicators that China is not planning on increasing its military capacity in Africa.  Compared to the United States and the European Union, the Chinese military involvement on the continent has remained stagnant.  According to the Chinese government, bilateral military exchanges have skyrocketed, with 174 high-level visits in 2001 and more than 210 in 2006.[20]  This significant increase however, was not maintained in Africa, where the number of annual bilateral exchanges remained at 26.   China also feels no need to increase its number of military attachés. There are currently only 14 military attachés in Africa, out of the 107 it has globally.[21]  As a result, military aid has also remained modest.
Beijing has declared that it will stick to its “purely defensive” military strategy that frames its military activities within the “Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, which are: (1) firmly upholding the principle of sovereign equality; (2) respecting and maintaining the diversity of the world’s civilizations; (3) promoting common development of the world’s civilization; (4) maintaining peace and security through dialogue and cooperation; and (5) giving full scope to the important role of the United Nations and other multilateral mechanisms.”[22] 
It is very likely that China will continue to adhere to these principles and enter multilateral efforts instead of taking unilateral military action.  China is increasing its UN peacekeeping commitments, contributing more forces to United Nations operations in Africa than any other permanent member of the UN Security Council.[23] In Chinese fashion, their forces are focusing on development. In Liberia, for example, China has deployed 570 military engineers as part of the United Nation Mission.  Working in conjunction with the World Bank and the Liberian government, these engineers are repairing the country’s damaged roads.[24]   Engineers have also been deployed as part of UN peacekeeping operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in Southern Sudan, and in Darfur. 

There is no denying that China deserves praise for its comprehensive, long-term approach to promoting economic growth by focusing on infrastructure and increased diversification in addition to educating Africans.[25]  However, China’s actions in Sudan, perhaps the greatest contradiction of its long-term objectives, are ultimately threatening Chinese investment and access to resources.[26]  China has clearly placed its own energy needs ahead of the needs of people in Sudan, despite the evidence of large-scale violence in Darfur.  As Western countries have retreated from Sudan over human rights and terrorism concerns, China has been the main beneficiary of expanded economic engagement with Khartoum in the oil sector.[27]
 Some observers claim “China wants to keep political risks high enough to ensure that Chevron, Total and Shell – companies that once had operations in Sudan – do not return.”[28]  This could explain why China does not have an issue with selling weapons to the Sudanese.  China is among the top suppliers of arms to African customers.[29]   While both the European Union and the United States maintain arms sanctions against Sudan, the sanctions have had little effect as “most of the weaponry used by the Khartoum government, including helicopter gunships, fighter planes and tanks, are Chinese made.”[30]  China has built three factories on the outskirts of the capital assembling small arms and producing ammunition.  Hilsum describes, “Defectors from the government side of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army showed a researcher from Britain’s Rift Valley Institute AK-47s and rocket launchers inscribed in both Chinese and Arabic.  Similarly marked shell-casings have been found in Darfur.”[31] 
China has paid a price for its role in prolonging the instability in Darfur.  Chinese oil facilities in both Ethiopia and Sudan have been attacked by rebel forces; the Justice and Equality Movement in Sudan is specifically attempting to expel the Chinese for their support of the Sudanese government.  Furthermore, China’s traditional policy of non-interference has come under fire from African nations and the international community, which expected that Beijing would contribute to the stabilization of Darfur.  After taking so much heat, China stopped using its position in the UN Security Council to shield the Sudanese government.  Horace Campbell adds, “Chinese posture in the UN began to change in 2007 after a number of international celebrities called for a Beijing Olympic boycott over China’s stance on Darfur.”[32]  Hofstedt also notes, “Recent moderation of Chinese stances toward Sudan (including persuading the government to accept an expanded UN presence and pressuring the government to alter its behavior and negotiate

Africa has gone from being a continent of low-priority area to one of great strategic importance.  Commenting on this development, the former US ambassador to Chad, Donald R. Norland, told the Africa Subcommittee of the House International Relations Committee in April 2002, “It’s been reliably reported that, for the first time, the two concepts – ‘Africa’ and ‘US national security’ – have been used in the same sentence in Pentagon documents.”[33]   The objective of US military forces in Africa is to foster military cooperation with states in North Africa and the Horn of Africa in order to fight terrorism.[34] 
China, on the other hand, views its relations with Africa as one of opportunity.  It is fitting that the world’s largest developing nation would look to Africa as a place for new investment opportunities as well as a place to secure natural resources to feed its growing energy demand.  Although China has been rightfully criticized for its actions in the Sudan, it does appear that Beijing is starting to soften its devotion to “non-interference” in an attempt to gain more international prestige.  China’s best interest is to keep stable and relatively tension-free relations with the United States.  “China realizes that it has thrived because it devotes itself to economic development while letting the US police the world,” explains, Harsh Pant.[35] For this reason, it is unlikely that China will abandon its “purely defensive” military posture, preferring to maintain peace and security through international institutions like the United Nations. 
The biggest perceived challenge from China’s expansion is that it appears African leaders are embracing China’s approaches to economic development and investment initiatives, which do not call for economic and/or political reform.  The United States and the European Union have failed to convince African leaders of the long-term dangers associated with the “development first, human rights and democracy later” methods to economic development.   
The United States has shown signs recently that they are listening to Africa and are taking the necessary steps to thwart China’s influence.  The US’s most recent National Security Strategy (NSS) places “high priority on strengthening bilateral and multilateral capabilities to help emerging democracies deliver services that respond to the needs and preferences of its citizens, since democracies without development rarely survive.”[36] The NSS specifically states that, “The United States will work to remain an attractive and influential partner by ensuring that African priorities such as infrastructure development, improving reliable access to power, and increased trade and investment remain high on the agenda.”[37]   These are all indications that the United States is focusing more on the development and needs of Africa while continuing to protect U.S. national security interests in the region.  It also shows signs that United States’ economic aid will start to look less like handouts and more like business transactions. This is all relatively good news, as Greg Mills points out, “Africa needs more investment and economic growth.  It needs less theater and, certainly, no more pity.”

[1] 297. Michael Klare and Daniel Volman, “America, China & the Scramble for Africa's Oil,” Review of African Political Economy (Taylor & Francis, Ltd.) 33, no. 108 (June 2006): 297-309.
[2] Jenifer Cooke, “Introduction,” in U.S. and Chinese Engagement in Africa: Prospects for Improving U.S.-China-Africa Cooperation Conference, ed. Jennifer Cooke (Washington D.C.: Center for Strategic International and International Studies, 2008), 5.
[3] Klare, Michael and Daniel Volman, 297.
[4] Lindsey Hilsum, “Re-Enter the Dragon: China's New Mission in Africa,” Review of African Political Economy 32, no. 104/105 (June-September 2005): 419-425.
[5] See, for example, Maxi Schoeman, “China and Africa: Whose Challenge and Whose Opportunity?,” Afrika Spectrum 43, no. 3 (2008): 403. She points out that “the relationship between China and ‘Africa’ is not a bilateral relationship, but a series of bilateral relations between China and more than 40 countries on the African continent.”

[6] Michael P. Argosino, "Sino-African Strategic Engagement: Opportunities, Constraints, and U.S. Policy Implications," in Crossroads Africa: Perspectives on U.S.-China-Africa Security Affairs, ed. Robert R. Thomes, Angela S. Mancini and James T. Kirkhope, 118 (New York: Council for Emerging National Security Affairs, 2009).
[7] Jenifer Cooke, 5.
[8] Sean McFate, "Red Star Rising in Africa: Strategic Implications of China's Expansion into Africa," in Crossroads Africa: Perspectives on U.S.-China-Africa Security Affairs, ed. Robert R. Tomes, Angela S Mancini and James T. Kirkhope, 113 (New York: Council for Emerging National Security Affairs, 2009).
[9] Jenifer Cooke, 6.
[10] Ibid, 6.
[11] Ibid, 6.
[12] Ibid, 5.
[13] Chaldeans Mensah, “China's foray into Africa: Ideational underpinnings and geoeconmic interests,” African Journal of Political Science 4, no. 3 (March 2010): 103
[14] Ibid, 101.
[15] Maxi Schoeman, “China and Africa: whose challenge and whose opportunity?,” Afrika Spectrum 43, no. 3 (2008): 403-413.
[16] Todd A. Hofstedt, “China in Africa: An AFRICOM Response,” Naval War College Review 62, no. 3 (Summer 2009): 82.
[17] Henning Melber, “China in Africa: A new partner or another imperialist power?,” Afrika Spectrm 43, no. 3 (2008): 394.
[18] Jonathan Holslag, “China's New Security Strategy for Africa,” Parameters, Summer 2009: 23.
[19] Holslag, 32.
[20] Holsag, 28.
[21] Holslag, 32.
[22] Argosino, 118.
[23] Cooke, 10.
[24] Ibid, 10.
[25] Hofstedt, 86.
[26] Ibid, 90.
[27] Mensah, 103.
[28] Ibid, 90.
[29] Melber, 394.
[30] Hilsum, 422.
[31] Hilsum, 422.
[32] Horace Campbell, “China in Africa: challenging U.S. global hegemony,” Third World Quarterly 29, no. 1 (2008): 89-105.
[33] Michael Klare and Daniel Volman, “America, China & the Scramble for Africa's Oil,” Review of African Political Economy (Taylor & Francis, Ltd.) 33, no. 108 (June 2006): 298.
[34] Harsh V. Pant, “China in Africa: The Push Continues But All's Not Well,” Defense & Security Analysis 24, no. 1 (2008): 34.
[35] Pant, 34.
[36] The White House, The National Security Strategy of the United States, May 2010.
[37] Ibid, 45.

Investissements chinois en Afrique menacent-t-ils les intérêts nationaux des Etats Unis?
Translated by Dr. Peter Vakunta

Selon les prognostics, une proportion majeure du pétrole disponible sur le marché mondial proviendra de l’Afrique entre 2015-2020. Dans cette perspective, les penseurs et décideurs américains ont émis diverses perspectives sur les implications stratégiques de l’expansionisme chinois en Afrique. D’aucuns prétendent que ce qui préoccupe les chinois n’est pas l’aide destinée à assurer la construction soutenable du continent mais plutôt  l’accès au pétrole africain.  D’autres estiment que la politque traditionelle chinoise qui préconise la non-ingérence dans les affaires internes des pays africains constituera une entrave contre les efforts américains visant la bonne governance et la démocratisation du continent africain. Des penseurs réalistes à l’instar de John Mearsheimer croient également que l’expansionisme économique chinois en afrique s’avère dangereux étant donné  que la Chine risque de  songer  à  mettre sur pied une force militaire sur le continent dans le but de protéger ses intérêts.
Par contre, il y en a qui pensent que les relations sino-africaines sont bonnes pour les deux partenaires et ne constituent aucune menace. Toutefois, les Etats Unis ne manqueraient pas de se pencher sur l’évolution des relations sino-africaines dans l’avenir compte tenu du fait que l’accès libre au pétrole africain demeure une préoccupation importante pour la sécurité nationale américaine[1]. Il reste à savoir si des informations dont nous disposons affirment ou contredisent l’avis selon lequel les relations économiques sino-africaines menacent la securité nationale américaine.
 La visée de cet article est de soutenir l’opinion selon laquelle le rapport sino-africain ne constituerait  aucunément une menace pour  la sécurité américaine.  En même temps, nous sommes d’avis que l’expansionisme économique chinois en Afrique pourrait ralentir le processus de democratisation sur le continent. Dans la première volée, je tenterai d’expliquer comment notre perception des motives pétrolières chinoises riqueraient de gommer  d’autres connexions économiques que  la Chine entretient avec le continent africain. Ensuite,  je jeterai de la lumière sur l’idéologie selon laquelle la Chine se limiterait à une stratégie militaire “strictement défensive” qui consisterait à assurer de la paix et de la sécurité  par le truchement du dialogue et de la coopération afin de soutenir le rôle les Nations Unies et d’autres organismes de paix dans la région [2].  En fin de compte, j’insisterai sur le fait que la pression internationale faite sur  Beijing a eu pour conséquence l’’amoindrissement de l’engagement du pays sur la voie de la non-ingérence[3] mais l’allure à laquelle avance ce changement d’attitude a servi à prolonger l’instabilité dans certaines régions en Afrique. Le Soudan en est un exemple des pays africains qui me servira d’étayer cette hypothèse.
La vérité sur la présence chinoise en Afrique 
 Les dirigéants chinois en veulent à quiconque se permettrait de leur donner des leçons à propos de leur consommation des produits pétroliers en provenance de l’Afrique. Le taux de consommation chinoise du pétrole africain est aux environs de neuf pourcent, alors que le taux de consommation européenne du pétrole africain s’élève à 33 pourcent et à 32 pourcent pour les Etats Unis.[4]   A en croire Sean McFate, “l’ingérence chinoise en Afrique est significative notamment du point de vue de la vitesse mais forcément en matière de volume.” [5] En Chine, le volume d’importations du pétrole en provenance du Soudan s’élève à 100,000 barils par jour[6] Ceux qui s’obsfusquent contre la Chine  ne tiennent pas compte du fait que l’industrie de pointe  en chine, la Compagnie Pétrolière Nationale   de la Chine ( CNPC) fonctionne indépendamment de tout contrôle de l’Etat. Il est intéressant de se rendre compte qu’ en dépit de toutes les critiques lancées par la communauté internationale contre la Chine  en raisons de ses activités au Soudan,  la Chine en fait n’a acclès qu’à une partie infime du pétrole soudanais. A en croire Stephen Morrison, “la Compagnie Pétrolière Nationale  Chinoise ( CNPC” réalisent des bénéfices importants au Soudain , mais le gouvernement chinois est la cible d’une avalanche de critiques de la part de la communauté internationale.  Sur le plan global, 85 millions de barils par jour n’est pas grand-chose pris dans le contexte des importations de produits pétroliers en provenance du Soudain. Néanmoins, 85 millions de barils par jour constitue une source importante de revenus.
Si  l’extraction rapide du pétrole dans la région septentrionnale de l’Afrique par les chinois a été exaggéré, il n’en reste pas moins que d’autres activités commerciales de ce pays ont éte soit passées sous silence, soit jugées sévérement.[7] Cependant, il faudrait tenir compte du fait que la relation Sino-africaine n’est pas une circulation à sens unique de l’aide et bénéfices vers l’Afrique. A titre d’exemple, il conviendrait de prendre en considération la relation qui a vu le jour au cours la dernière décennnie  tout au moins bénéfique entre la Chine et la Maroc. En 2006, à l’issue des pourparlers entre le président Hu Jintao et le roi marocain Muhammad VI, la Chine et le Maroc ont signé une série  d’accords commerciaux bilatéraux impliquant les domaines de la science, de la technologie, des télécommunications,  de l’agriculture, du dévéloppement pétrolier,  du gaz,   de la main d’oeuvre , de l’ingénieurie de pointe,  de la formation dans le domaine des ressources humaines et des investissements bilatéraux entre les deux pays.[8] Les marocains privilégient leurs relations avec la Chine. Lors du tremblement de la terre qui a eu lieu le 12 mai, 2008 en Chine, le maroc s’est mis en quatre pour fournir non seulement du soutien moral aux victimes du séisme , mais ont apporté également une aide financière d’un montant de 1million de dollars à la Chine.[9] Les marocains ne sont pas les seuls à bénéficier de la présence chinoise en Afrique. Selon Maxie Schoeman, “ la plus grande partie des investissements chinois en Afrique se trouve dans le domaine de la production de l’énergie hydro-électrique(dès que les initiatives en cours seront terminées, la Chine aurait fait croitre l’accès à l’électricité de 30 pourcent, et le transport , notamment, la voie ferrée avec une croissance d’investissements  quadruplée entre 2001 et 2005.[10] L’inquiétude causée par la présence chinoise en Afrique pourrait, en partie, être attribuée à la manière dont les chinois conçoivent la notion d’aide.  Plus précisément, comme les africains, les chinois affichent une certaine importance aux projets qui se focalisent sur des infrastructures. Par contre, les occidentaux, eux, préfèrent ne pas s’impliquer dans ce genre de  projets.[11]  En plus, un certain nombre de sociètès chinoises ont tendance à s’installer de façon permanente en Afrique suite à la finition de leurs projets initiaux. Ceci laisse à croire que les chinois seraient convaincus qu’il y auraient des opportunités économiques en Afrique à long terme et voudraient en profiter le moment venu. Cependant, les africains ne sont pas tous du même avis en ce qui la manière dont les chiniois font les affaires sur le continent.  Si les gouvernements ont  tendance à accuellir les  nouvels investisseurs chinois, les citoyens désoeuvrés, en veulent aux chinois qui ont l’habitude de faire venir de la main d’oeuvre du pays d’origine au lieu d’embaucher des autochtones.[12] Pire encore, les chinois ne s’entremêlent pas aux populations locales. Cette attitude de la part des chinois crée une conjoncture de chomage,  de disette de contrats et   de très peu bénéfices économiques pour les nationaux.

L’objectif stratégique de la Chine  est principalement économique et n’a rien à voir avec la quête de la suprématie militaire
  Vu l’engouement avec lequel la Chine cherche à se nourrir à l’aide des produits bruts en provenance du continent africain, une certaine malaise se fait sentir de la part des décideurs et des penseurs qui ont l’impression que pour consolider sa présence économique en Afrique la Chine  serait  amenée à accroitre sa présence militaire sur le continent.[13] Néanmoins, en dépit de l’importance stratégique de l’Afrique dans la conception des choses chez les Chinois, il s’avère peu probable que la Chine jugerait bon d’avoir  recours à la militarisation unilatérale aux fins de mettre ses intérêts économiques à l’abri.[14] Premièrement,  tout accroissement de la présence militaire chinoise sur le continent  africain serait considérée comme inopportune et  vue d’un mauvais oeil par les pays membres de l’Union africaine. Pour ce qui est des Etats Unis, notamment au sujet de l’Al Qaeda,  il convient de signaler que la guerre anti-terroriste  dans la région maghrébine a eu pour conséquence le classement de l’Afrique en première position sur la liste des priorités américaines.  Depuis le 11 Septembre 2001, les Etats Unis ont mis à la disposition des pays de l’Afrique septentrionale,  Sahélienne et orientale des ressources importantes destinées à les aider à combattre le terrorisme. Il y a d’autres indices qui font croire que la Chine n’aurait pas l’intention de renforcer sa présence militaire en Afrique. En comparaison avec les Etats Unis et l’Union européenne, on constaterait que l’engagement militaire chinois sur le continent est resté stable.
Selons des informations diffusées par le gouvernement chinois, le nombre d’échanges militaries bilatéraux s’est accru, en particulier, au niveau des visites des hautes personnalités qui remontent à 174 en 2001 et à plus de 210 en 2006.[15] Cet accroissement ne s’est pas manifesté en Afrique le nombre d’échanges a demeuré à 26. La Chine n’a pas besoin d’augmenter le nombre d’attachés militaries. Actuellement, la Chine n’a que 14 attachés militaires en Afrique sur les 107 attachés  dont elle dispose sur le plan mondial.[16] Par conséquent, l’aide militaire destinée aux pays africains est restée modeste.
Beijing a laissé entrendre qu’elle restera fidèle à sa stratégie militaire “strictement  défensive” sur laquelle sont basés ses “Cinq Principes de Cohabitation Pacifique”, à savoir: 1.Soutenir fortement le principe d’égalité souveraine; 2. Respecter et soutenir la diversité des civilisations globales; 3. Promouvoir le développement équitable des civilisations globales; 4. Maintenir la paix et la sécurité par le biais du dialogue et de la coopération; et 5. Accorder aux Nations Unies  et d’autres organismes multilatéraux  la plus ample possibilité d’agir[17]
 Il s’avère fort probable que la Chine ne reviendra pas sur sa décision d’adhérer à ces principles et aux accords mutilaléraux au lieu de s’engager dans des actions militaires unilatérales. La chine s’est engagé dans des programmes de maintien de  la paix des Nations Unies, notamment en envoyant plus de forces de sécurité en Afrique que les autres pays membres du Conseil de sécurité des Nations Unies.[18]  A la chinoise, ces forces de sécurité participent principalement dans des projets de développement. A titre d’exemple, la Chine a envoyé 570 ingenieurs militaires au Libéria dans le cadre du Programme des Nations Unies. Travaillant en parténariat avec la Banque mondiale et le gouvernement libérien, ces ingénieurs font le travail de réfection sur des routes en décrépitude. [19] On retrouve des ingénieurs chinois comme acteurs dans des opérations de maintien de la paix en République démocratique du Congo, au Sud Soudan et dans la région de Darfour.
 Il convient de reconnaître les initiatives musclées à long terme menées par la Chine qui privilégie la croissance économique par le truchement de la mise en place des infrastructures, sans oublier la diversification et l’éducation des Africains. [20]
Cependant, les actions menées par la Chine au Soudan,constituent, peut-être, la contradiction la plus significative dans la réalisation de ses objectifs à long terme et menacent ses investissements et  son accès aux ressources du pays.[21]
 Il est évident que la Chine a mis ses besoins en énergie au-dessus des aspirations du peuple soudanais en dépit de la grande envergure de la violence en cours dans la région de Darfour. Etant donné que des pays occidentaux se sont retirés du Soudan à cause des violations des droits humanitaires et des actes terroristes, la Chine  demeure le principal bénéficiaire de l’essor économique et des accords signés avec  Khartoum dans le domaine pétrolier.[22]     D’aucuns prétendent que la Chine désire  garder une marge de risque assez grande afin de pouvoir écarter Chevron, Total et Shell, trois compagnies pétrolières  qui menaient l’exploitation pétrolière au Soudan. [23] Ceci expliquerait pourquoi la Chine ne voit pas d’inconvénient en ce qui concerne la vente des armes au soudanais. La chine est en tête de la liste des fournisseurs d’armes aux africains.[24]  Les sanctions imposées par l’Union européenne et les Etats Unis sur le Soudan n’ont pas eu grand effet parce que la Chine continue de fournir la plupart d’armes dont se sert le gouvernement soudanais, y compris les hélicoptères, les avions de guerre et les chars de combant fabriqués en Chine.[25] La Chine a construit trois usines à la périphérie de la ville capitale l’on fait l’assemblage des armes et produit des armes. Selon Hilsum certains individus qui ont quitté le gouvernement et se sont intégrés à  la Sudan People’s Liberation Army ont montré à un chercheur britannique travaillant pour le compte de la Rift Valley Institute des AK-47et des lance-roquettes avec des inscriptions en chinois et en arabe. Dans le même ordre d’idée, des obus ont été signalé en Darfour.
 La Chine a payé un prix pour le role qu’elle a joué dans prolongement de l’instabilité dans la région de Darfour. Des installations appartenant aux chinois en éthiopie et au Soudan ont été ciblé par des attaquants rebelles. L’Organisation  travaillant en faveur de la justice et de l’égalité au Soudan mènent des actions destinées à aboutir à l’expulsion des chinois à  cause du soutien qu’ils ont apporté au gouvernement soudanais.
 En plus, certains états africains et la communauté internationale qui esperaient voir Beijing s’impliquer dans la staibilisation de la région de Darfour, se sont levés contre la politique chinoise de la non-ingérence dans les affaires internes des pays souverains. C’est cette action qu ai  amené la Chine à  changer de position au sein du Conseil de sécurité des Nations Unies elles mettait le gouvernement soudanais à l’abri.
Horace Campbell a précisé que “ La Chine a commencé à virer vers les Nations unies en 2007 lorsqu’un certain nombre de célébrités internationales avaient fait appel au  boycottage des jeux olympiques à Beijing en raison de sa prise de position vis-à-vis le Darfour. [26] Hofstedt note également, “la récente modération dans la prise  de position Chinoise en ce qui concerne le Soudan(y compris les tentatives de persuader le pays a  reconnaître la présence des Nations Unies dans la région ainsi que la pression exercée sur la Chine l’obligéant à changer de comportement et  de songer à la négociation).  
 L’Afrique n’est plus cette région a laquelle l’on ne pretait qu’une  attention passagere. Elle est devenue une zone d’importance stratégique.   Dans son allocution au sujet de l’importance de l’Afrique, l’ambassadeur des Etats  Unis au Chad, Donald R. Norland, a eu ceci à dire aux membres du Sous-comité africain siégeant  au sein du Comité  des Relations Internationales en avril 2002: “Des rapports affirment que pour la première fois de notre histoire, les deux concepts –‘Afrique’  et ‘Sécurité  nationale américaine’  sont employés dans la même phrase au sein des documents émanant du Pentagon.”[27] L’objectif de l’armée américaine basée en Afrique consiste à promouvoir la coopération entre les Etats Unis et les Etats dans la région septentrionale de l’Afrique ainsi que ceux situés dans la corne de l’Afrique dans la lutle contre le terrorisme.[28]
   Par contre, la Chine percoit ses rapports avec l’Afrique comme une occasion à exploiter. Il est dans la logique des choses que la plus grande nation en développement se tourne vers l’Afrique comme lieu de nouvels investissements ainsi qu’une source de ressources. Certes, la chine a essuyé des critiques justifiables pour ses actions au Soudan, mais il faudrait ne pas perdre de vue le fait que Beijing commence déjà à adourcir sa tendance à la “non-ingérence”afin de  jouir du grand prestige international. La Chine ferait mieux de maintenir des rapports pacifiques avec les Etats Unis. Selon Harsh Panut, “ La Chine se rend compte qu’elle a survécu parce qu’elle s’est focalisée sur le développement tout en cédant  la place aux Etats Unis qui veut jouer le rôle de gendarme internationale[29].” Raison pour laquelle, il s’avère peu probable que la Chine  puisse abandonner sa position militaire “purement défensive” qui privilégie le maintien de la paix et de la sécurité par le biais des Nations Unies. Le plus grand  défi  lié à l’expansionisme chinois serait l’attitude des dirigéants africains qui  vibrent sur la meme longueur d’onde avec les initiatives chinoises en matiere du développement et d’investissement sans tenir compte de manque de réformes économique et/ou politiques. Les Etats et l’Union européenne n’ont pas reussi à convaincre les leaders africains que le principe chinois qui prône “le développement d’abord et les droits humanitaires et la démocratie plus tard”comportent des dangers à long terme.
             Les Etats Unis fait semblant de vouloir écouter les Africains et de prendre des mesures nécessaires visant à  contrecarrer l’avancée chinoise en Afrique. La stratégie américaine du jour, dite Stratégie Nationale de Sécurité (SNS), met “le plus grand accent sur le renforcement des capacités bilaterales et multilatérales ayant afin de  rendre aux démocracies naissantes des services qui répondent aux exigencies des citoyens, étant donné que la démocratie n’aurait aucune chance de  survivre sans développement.”[30] La SNS a dit sans ambages que “les Etats Unis  ferait tout pour demeurer un partenaire attrayant et de poids en s’assurant que les priorités des pays africains tels que le développement infrastructurel, l’amélioration d’acces aux ressources énergétiques, et  les meilleurs accords régissant le  commerce et les investissements soient placés en haut de la liste de ses engagements.[31]
 Ce qui précède nous amène à tirer la conclusion selon  laquelle les Etats Unis accorde davantage de priorité aux  besoins  développementaux de l’Afrique tout en s’assurant de la protection des intérets sécuritaires nationaux dans la région. Ceci indique également que l’aide économique américaine destinée aux pays africains prendra une allure de partenariat commercial, ce qui est différent de l’aide tout court.   Selon Greg Mills, il s’agit là de la bonne nouvelle, car “l’Afrique  a grand besoin d’investissement et de croissance économique. Elle a besoin de moins de théâtre, et assurément de  moins de pitié.” 


[1] Lindsey Hilsum, “Re-Enter the Dragon: China's New Mission in Africa,” Review of African Political Economy 32, no. 104/105 (June-September 2005): 419-425.

[2] Voir, par exemple, Maxi Schoeman, “China and Africa: Whose Challenge and Whose Opportunity?,” Afrika Spectrum 43, no. 3 (2008): 403. Elle note que la relation sino-africaine n’est pas bilatérale.  Elle est plutôt une gamme de relations qui lient la Chine à  plus de 40 pays africains.
[3] Michael P. Argosino, "Sino-African Strategic Engagement: Opportunities, Constraints, and U.S. Policy Implications," in Crossroads Africa: Perspectives on U.S.-China-Africa Security Affairs, ed. Robert R. Thomes, Angela S. Mancini and James T. Kirkhope, 118 (New York: Council for Emerging National Security Affairs, 2009).

[4] Jenifer Cooke, 5.
[5] Sean McFate, "Red Star Rising in Africa: Strategic Implications of China's Expansion into Africa," dans Crossroads Africa: Perspectives on U.S.-China-Africa Security Affairs, ed. Robert R. Tomes, Angela S Mancini and James T. Kirkhope, 113 (New York: Council for Emerging National Security Affairs, 2009).
[6] Jenifer Cooke, 6.
[7] Ibid, 5.
[8] Chaldeans Mensah, “China's foray into Africa: Ideational underpinnings and geoeconmic interests,” African Journal of Political Science 4, no. 3 (March 2010): 103
[9] Ibid, 101.
[10] Maxi Schoeman, “China and Africa: whose challenge and whose opportunity?,” Afrika Spectrum 43, en partie no. 3 (2008): 403-413.
[11] Todd A. Hofstedt, “China in Africa: An AFRICOM Response,” Naval War College Review 62, no. 3 (Summer 2009): 82.
[12] Henning Melber, “China in Africa: A new partner or another imperialist power?,” Afrika Spectrm 43, no. 3 (2008): 394.

[13] Jonathan Holslag, “China's New Security Strategy for Africa,” Parameters, Summer 2009: 23.

[14] Holslag, 32.

[15] Holsag, 28
[16] Holslag, 32
[17] Argosino, 118
[18] Cooke, 10.

[19] Ibid, 10.
[20] Hofstedt, 86
[21] Hofstedt, 86.
[22] Mensah, 103.

[23] Ibid, 90
[24] Melber, 394.
[25] Hilsum, 422
[26] Horace Campbell, “China in Africa: challenging U.S. global hegemony,” Third World Quarterly 29, no. 1 (2008): 89-105.
[27] Michael Klare and Daniel Volman, “America, China & the Scramble for Africa's Oil,” Review of African Political Economy (Taylor & Francis, Ltd.) 33, no. 108 (June 2006): 298.

[28] Harsh V. Pant, “China in Africa: The Push Continues But All's Not Well,” Defense & Security Analysis 24, no. 1 (2008): 34.

[29] Harsh V. Pant, “China in Africa: The Push Continues But All's Not Well,” Defense & Security Analysis 24, no. 1 (2008): 34
[30] The White House, The National Security Strategy of the United States, May 2010.
[31] Ibid, 45.

Jacques Chirac,  Sentenced belatedly
Translated from French by Dr. Peter Vakunta  
Originally published on Rfi:
 Jacques Chirac, le 6 janvier 2011.

Jacques Chirac, le 6 janvier 2011.
Reuters/Benoit Tessier
Enfeebled by illness and loss of memory, Jacques Chirac, age 79, has been  given a two-year suspended sentence for his involvement in fictitious employment during his tenure as Mayor of Paris. He is the first French ex-president to be sentenced by a court of law, in the wee hours of his life following an exceptionally long political career.
What remains of the hitherto energetic Chirac, an ambitious man determined to do anything to attain his goals is a mere specter, bitter or sweet, depending on  which side of the divide you find yourself.  His adversaries had done battled with him all along over this litigation concerning fictitous employment in the Municipality of Paris. Today, we are talking about a 79-year old man, physically and intelectually diminished who has been sentenced for acts that date as far back as the first half of the 1990s, long before he  even became President of the Republic. He had already run for office of President twice using the position he held as Mayor of Paris as  a bastion from where he  schemed to win the race to Elysée. In 1995, he finally attained his objective by being elected to the Supreme Magistracy.
Long Immunity
For twelve years, totalling a seven-year and a five year term, the immunity associated with his position as Head of State made it impossible for litigation to be brought against him for illegal acts he had committed while in office.Untouchable, Chirac remained out of the orbit of the law but his henchmen were targeted. Alain Juppé, often seen as ‘the preferred son’ of Chirac was given a one-year sentence for his involvement in the fake employment litigation. At the end of his second term of office, which marked the end of his immunity in the summer of 2007 Jacques Chirac was brought to justice. Firstly, he appeared in court as witness, and later he was crossed examined in the same year. His trial took place four years later. Following the proceedings, involving the question that centered around the constitutionality of his trial, we are today witnessing the fate of a very popular elderly man who has  been sentenced to a two-year suspended sentence.
This sentence is a relief for those who have combatted Jacques Chirac for 15 years; during this time the Muncipality of Paris had withdrawn the complaint in exchange for a financial deal with UMP, much to the chagrin of Chirac’s adversaries. Socialist presidential aspirant François Hollande  believes that the sentence is severe but maintains that «justice has been rendered and had to be rendered in order to put an end to the reign  of impunity» in France. He couldn’t be more spot on.

tHE EXPRESSION 'REIGN OF IMPUNITY' SHOULD STRIKE THE RIGHT CORD IN THE EARS OF CAMEROONians. If this can happen to chirac, it can happen to any african president, wouldn't you say?

SAMIR AMIN               (REV 2  long)                                                          Janvier 2012
L’autocratie financière et son clergé médiatique
J’ai emprunté ce titre à une phrase que j’ai entendu prononcée au colloque du M’PEP organisé en octobre 2011. Je pense que l’idée qu’elle exprime valait la peine d’être développée.
Un parallèle saisissant me paraît en effet s’imposer entre notre monde d’aujourd’hui et l’état de la France à la veille de 1789. Alors le pouvoir décisif était celui de l’aristocratie foncière (la noblesse, rangée derrière son Roi). Aujourd’hui c’est celui de la « ploutocratie » financière aux postes de commande dans le capitalisme des monopoles généralisés. Ce pouvoir était servi par une « noblesse de robe » - une bourgeoisie drapée dans les habits de l’aristocratie. Aujourd’hui le pouvoir des monopoles est servi par une « classe politique » constituée de véritables débiteurs (y compris au sens financier banal du terme), où se retrouvent associés les politiciens de la droite classique et de la gauche électorale. A son tour le pouvoir politique aristocratique/monarchiste de l’Ancien Régime était soutenu par un clergé (catholique en France) dont la fonction était de lui donner l’apparence de légitimité par le développement d’une rhétorique casuistique appropriée. Aujourd’hui les médias sont chargés de cette fonction. Et la casuistique qu’ils développent pour y parvenir et donner l’apparence de légitimité au pouvoir dominant en place est caractéristique des méthodes traditionnelles mises en oeuvre par les clergés religieux.
Le papier développe cette analyse concernant le « clergé médiatique » contemporain. La question de la « noblesse de robe » que la classe politique d’aujourd’hui représente pourrait faire l’objet d’un traitement parallèle.
Le pouvoir médiatique existe-t-il ?
Un regard rapide sur la réalité du monde, à toutes ses époques, révèlerait la coexistence de pouvoirs multiples. Par exemple dans notre monde moderne le pouvoir économique des grandes entreprises et les pouvoirs politiques – législatifs exécutif, judiciaire – exercés dans un cadre institutionnel défini, « démocratique » ou non. Par exemple les pouvoirs que les idéologies et les croyances (religieuses entre autre) exercent sur les peuples. Par exemple enfin le pouvoir des médias qui diffusent les informations, les sélectionnent, les commentent.
La reconnaissance de cette pluralité relève de la banalité extrême. Car la vraie question qui doit être posée est la suivante : comment ces pouvoirs, dans leur diversité, s’organisent pour se compléter dans leurs effets de construction du tissu social, ou au contraire entrent en conflit sur ce terrain. Bien entendu la réponse à cette question ne peut être que concrète, c'est-à-dire concerner une société de donnée à un moment donné de son histoire. Les réflexions qui suivent concernent l’articulation entre les pouvoirs médiatiques et les autres dimensions des pouvoirs sociaux dans le capitalisme contemporain.
Un mot encore concernant le pouvoir médiatique. Une littérature abondante s’emploie à analyser, parmi les qualifications diverses de l’être humain celle de son caractère d’homo comunicans. On tend par là que le volume et l’intensité des informations auxquels l’homme moderne a accès, sans commune mesure dit-on avec ce qu’ils étaient dans le passé, auraient véritablement transformé l’individu et la société. C’est peut être aller un peu vite car, depuis les origines, l’être humain se définit précisément par l’usage de la parole, moyen de communication par excellence. Il reste que l’affirmation de ces propositions concernant le volume et l’intensité de l’information est par elle même correcte et qu’elle donne de ce fait aux médias qui sont à son origine une puissance et une responsabilité, morale, politique et sociale décuplées. Mais cette constatation n’élude pas la question fondamentale posée : comment s’articule ce pouvoir avec les autres.
Le pouvoir médiatique dans le capitalisme contemporain, mythe et réalités
Le pouvoir médiatique, pas plus que les autres, n’est pas – n’a jamais été, ne peut pas être – « indépendant ». Je n’entends certainement pas par là qu’il est « aux ordres », l’exécutif d’un autre pouvoir (politique, religieux ou économique). Non le pouvoir médiatique peut être – et même est – largement autonome. J’entends par là qu’il est soumis dans son fonctionnement à l’autonomie de la logique qui est la sienne, et qui est distincte des logiques de reproduction des autres pouvoirs. C’était le cas des modes de fonctionnement du clergé catholique dans la France de l’Ancien Régime, comme de tous les autres clergés religieux de l’époque. C’est aujourd’hui le cas des modes de fonctionnement du nouveau clergé médiatique.
Cette autonomie des médias se manifeste également par ses règles propres de déontologie. Et dans ce sens, s’il existe des médias « aux ordres », il en existe tout également qui ne le sont pas. Néanmoins cette autonomie – vantée par l’idéal démocratique sinon toujours sa pratique – n’est pas synonyme d’indépendance, qui est un concept absolu, alors que l’autonomie implique l’articulation (l’interdépendance) entre les différents pouvoirs, dont le médiatique. La question de cette articulation reste donc centrale, incontournable.
Or je prétends que dans le capitalisme contemporain (celui dans lequel nous vivons tous depuis, disons, une quarantaine d’années) un pouvoir suprême tend à s’imposer à tous les autres, qu’il subordonne en les articulant aux exigences de son propre déploiement. Je parle bien entendu d’une tendance – forte – et non d’un état de fait accompli. Car les résistances au déploiement de cette tendance sont puissantes et peut être même se renforcent-elles au fil du temps.
Le pouvoir suprême auquel je fais référence ici est celui des « monopoles généralisés, mondialisés et financiarisés ». Je renverrai le lecteur pour plus de précision concernant chacune de ces qualifications à mon ouvrage récent (La crise, sortir de la crise du capitalisme ou sortir du capitalisme en crise, Le Temps des Cerises 2008 ).
Pour faire court je dirai qu’il s’agit d’un pouvoir économique et que ce pouvoir est le produit d’une évolution qui a conduit à une centralisation extrême de la propriété et de la gestion du capital, sans commune mesure avec ce qu’elle était encore il y a un demi siècle. Ces monopoles (ou oligopoles si vous voulez) contrôlent directement ou indirectement l’ensemble des systèmes productifs (et cela est nouveau) et cela non pas seulement à l’échelle des centres capitalistes traditionnels dominants (les pays « les plus développés », rassemblés dans la triade Etats Unis/Europe/Japon) mais tout également à l’échelle mondiale. Certes ici cette tendance – qui se concrétise par des stratégies d’action économique et politique – se  heurte à la résistance des pays émergents (la Chine et quelques autres).
Cette transformation qualitative a réduit l’espace d’autonomie relative dont bénéficiait traditionnellement le pouvoir politique dans la triade concernée (laquelle autonomie donnait son sens et sa portée à la « démocratie bourgeoise », les visions de la vie, les idées courantes, les « consensus » voire même les conceptions religieuses, en un mot « l’air du temps »).
Autrement dit ce qui est en construction ce n’est pas comme on le dit vulgairement « une économie de marché », mais bel et bien une « société de marché ».
Dans ce cadre les médias – tout comme le politique – voient les espaces de leur autonomie relative rognés. Sans devenir nécessairement des instruments « aux ordres », ils se trouvent invités (et contraints) à remplir des fonctions utiles et nécessaires pour assurer le succès du déploiement du pouvoir suprême des monopoles généralisés.
Nous ne vivons donc pas un moment d’avancées démocratiques mais au contraire nous assistons à sa défiguration et au recul de la démocratie. Le citoyen capable d’appréhender la réalité est soumis à un bombardement qui le dépolitise or il n’y a pas de démocratie sans citoyens politisés, de ce fait capables d’imagination créatrice, de production d’alternatives cohérentes et différentes. On lui substitue l’individu passif (dépourvu donc de toute liberté authentique) réduit au statut de consommateur/spectateur. On lui propose de s’aligner sur un consensus, en réalité un faux consensus qui n’est que la traduction des exigences du pouvoir suprême et exclusif des monopoles généralisés. L’élection tourne à la farce dans laquelle s’affrontent des « candidats » (dont le style présidentiel de l’organisation du pouvoir accuse le caractère « para-personnel ») alignés sur ce même consensus. Le stade suprême de la farce est désormais atteint dès lors que des « agences de notation » (c'est-à-dire des employés de ces mêmes monopoles) tracent les frontières de ce qui serait « possible ».
Or, hélas, les médias dominants participent activement à la distillation de cette pensée unique, le contraire absolu de la pensée critique. Certes ils ne le font pas en pratiquant le mensonge. Les médias respectables s’en gardent bien. Mais ils sélectionnent et leurs commentaires s’inscrivent dans ce qu’on attend d’eux. Leur autonomie se réduit alors à la mise en œuvre d’une casuistique fonctionnelle pour légitimer l’ordre en place. C’est donc ce sens que je prétends que le pouvoir de l’aristocratie financière appelle en complément celui du clergé médiatique. On pourrait multiplier les exemples de cette casuistique, qui permet de présenter un juge criminel (celui qui en Lybie avait condamné à mort les infirmières bulgares) comme un champion de la démocratie ; de placer au devant de la scène du front « démocratique » arabe le sultan de Qatar et le Roi d’Arabie Séoudite. Pourrait-on imaginer une farce plus accomplie !
Exemple de la casuistique du clergé médiatique : la question des interventions (militaires, humanitaires, sanctions économiques etc) des puissances impérialistes dans les affaires des pays du Sud. Il est interdit d’ouvrir le débat sur les objectifs réels de ces interventions, comme l’accès aux ressources naturelles des pays en question, ou l’établissement de bases militaires. Il faut accepter à l’avance que les motifs invoqués par les puissances sont les seules raisons de leurs interventions. S’agissant de « pouvoirs démocratiques » il faut les croire sur parole : les « démocrates » ne mentent pas ! Il faut accepter de croire – ou faire semblant de croire – que ces interventions sont décidées par la « communauté internationale », étant entendu qu’il est interdit de rappeler que celle-ci n’est représentée par personne d’autre que l’ambassadeur des Etats Unis, suivi dans les minutes qui suivent par ceux de ses alliés subalternes de l’Union Européenne/Otan, parfois soutenu par quelques comparses, comme le Qatar ! Il faut croire, ou faire semblant de croire, que les objectifs réels de l’intervention sont ceux dans lesquels se drapent les interventionnistes : libérer un peuple d’une dictature sanglante, promouvoir la démocratie, venir en aide « humanitaire » aux victimes de la répression.  Les médias acceptent d’emblée de se situer dans ce cadre d’ « analyse » (en fait de non analyse de la réalité). On acceptera alors de discuter pour savoir si les objectifs proclamés ont été atteints ou pas, s’il y a eu « bavures », si des obstacles « imprévus » ont empêché d’atteindre les objectifs. Belle casuistique qui évite de porter le débat sur son terrain réel : quels sont les objectifs véritables de ces interventions.
Des médias travaillant à la re-politisation des citoyens, sont nécessaires
Dans la Révolution française des représentants du « bas clergé » s’étaient désolidarisés des hiérarchies débitrices de l’aristocratie de l’époque pour contribuer à la construction du nouveau citoyen doté d’une capacité de pensée critique réelle. Un processus analogue se dessine peut être dans les médias contemporains. Sans doute les militants du renouveau des médias authentiquement démocratiques sont-ils confrontés à la concurrence inégale des « grands médias », bénéficiaires de moyens financiers fabuleux. On ne peut donc ici que saluer – et soutenir – les contributions de cette minorité.
Un pouvoir médiatique honorable conçoit sa responsabilité comme celle de citoyens indépendants et politisés, contribuant par là même à la construction de ce que j’ai appelé, avec les collègues du Forum Mondial des Alternatives, la convergence des luttes dans le respect de leur diversité. Il ne s’agit pas de substituer à une pensée unique – celle qui s’emploie à légitimer les pratiques des monopoles généralisés – une « autre pensée unique ». Il ne s’agit pas non plus de « juxtaposer » des pensées et des projets divers qualifiés d’emblée d’également légitimes. Il s’agit, par un travail patient et continu, de contribuer au développement de la pensée critique, capable de ce fait, de donner un sens aux luttes sociales et politiques qui s’inscrivent dans la perspective d’émancipation des esprits et des êtres humains, pris dans leur individualité et dans les collectifs qu’ils créent par leurs luttes. La diversité en question ne concerne pas exclusivement le choix des champs de bataille, forcément spécifiques. Elle concerne tout autant l’appréciation des instruments de la théorie sociale proposée pour l’approfondissement de l’analyse du monde réel. Elle concerne aussi le sens donné par les uns et les autres à la perspective d’émancipation recherchée.
Alors et alors seulement les médias peuvent acquérir un pouvoir responsable qui doit leur être reconnu dans la recherche et la définition des objectifs immédiats des luttes et dans celle de la perspective à plus long terme dans lesquelles celles-ci veulent s’inscrire.

 Samir Amin                                 (Rev 2 Long)                                     January 2012

 Financial Autocracy and its Media Clergy
(Translated from French by Peter Vakunta, PhD)

I have calqued the title of this piece on a statement I heard at the M’PEP conference organized in October 2011. I believe the theme conveyed by that statement deserves to be developed.  It seems to me that there is an irrefutable parallel between our contemporary society and the situation that prevailed in France on the eve of 1789. At that time, decision-making authority resided with the landed aristocracy (nobility who stood by their King). Nowadays, this power rests with the financial “plutocracy” in positions of power in capitalist monopolies the world over. In France of yesteryears, this power was the preserve of “nobles of the robe”— bourgeoisie dressed in aristocratic robes. Today, the power of capitalistic monopolies is in the hands of the “political class”, made up of bona fide financiers ( in the ordinary finance sense of the word), associated with politicians from the traditional right wing and those from the electoral left. As for the aristocratic/ monarchical political power of the Old Regime in France, it was sustained by the clergy (of the Catholic Church in France) whose role was to give the regime a semblance of legitimacy by developing an appropriate casuistic rhetoric.  Today, the onus is on the media to play this role. And the casuistry that it develops to accomplish this task and give the dominant power a veneer of legitimacy is characteristic of traditional methods devised by the religious clergy.
The purpose of this paper is to analyze the role played by “media clergy” in contemporary society. The subject of the “nobility of the robe” whose role is played today by politicians could be treated in the same vein.

Does media power exist?
A cursory look at global reality across historical timeframes would reveal the coexistence of multiple power structures. For example, in our contemporary world, economic power exists side by side with political power structures—legislative, executive, judiciary—exercised through established institutions that may be democratic or undemocratic. An example would be the power that ideological schools of thought and beliefs (religious and others) wield over people. Another example would be the power of the media that disseminates information, selects and, makes commentary about it.
Recognizing this plurality is an extremely banal task. The real question that begs to be asked is the following: how do these powers, diverse as they are, get organized to complement each other in the functions they fulfill in the construction of the social fabric, or otherwise enter into confrontation in the field? Undoubtedly, the response to this question can only be concrete; in other words, it deals with specific societies at specific historical periods. The reflections that follow focus on the articulation of relations between media powers and facets of social power structures in contemporary capitalist societies.
 One more word on the notion of media power: there is abundant literature out there that analyzes the diverse qualifications of human beings, including their homo comunicans character. The implication of this is that the volume and intensity of information to which human beings have access, without taking into account what they were in the past, would have really transformed human beings and society. This may be an exaggeration, given that from the onset, human beings have always identified with the power of speech, means of communication par excellence. It ensues from this affirmation that the proposition regarding the volume and intensity of information are by its own definition correct and by this token endows the media, which is the essence of its existence, some power as well as increasing moral, political and social responsibilities. However, this observation does not preclude the pertinence of the following question: how does this power relate to others?
Media power in a contemporary capitalist system: myths and realities
 Media power like all power structures, is not—has never been, and cannot be “independent.” I am not implying that media power is “under the aegis” of another power structure (political, religious, or economic). No, media power can be—and actually is generally autonomous. What I meant to say is that in its functions it enjoys some autonomy that is inherent to it; which is distinct from the reproductive logic of other power structures. This autonomy is analogous with the autonomy enjoyed by the Catholic clergy in France under the Old Regime. The clergy in France functioned like other religious clergies of the time. This is the role the new media clergy plays today.
Media autonomy translates into ethical deontology. In this perspective, there are media outlets that are at the “beck and call” of others; there are some that are not. This notwithstanding, this autonomy— which is a democratic ideal for its practitioners—is not synonymous with the notion of media independence, which is an absolute concept, whereas the concept of autonomy implies articulation (interdependence) between different powers, including the media. Thus, the whole notion of articulation remains central and unavoidable.
Now, I maintain that in the contemporary capitalist system (the one in which we have lived, for about forty years), a superior power appears to have imposed itself on the rest. It subordinates all these other powers and makes them comply with its dictates. Of course, I am referring to a strong trend and not a state of fait accompli. This is because resistance to the articulation of this tendency is strong, and perhaps becomes re-enforced over time.
The supreme power to which I am making reference here is that of “globalized financial monopolies.”  For more precision on each of the notions raised above I would refer readers to my recent work (La crise, sortir de la crise du capitalisme ou sortir du capitalisme en crise, Le Temps des Cerises, 2008).
In brief, I would say that we are dealing here with economic power, and this power is the product of the evolution that results in the extreme centralization of prosperity and management of capital, with no similarity to what it was only half a century ago. These monopolies (or oligopolies if you prefer to use this term) directly or indirectly control the entirety of the productive systems (and this is new), not only at the level of dominant traditional capitalist ventures (the most “developed countries” brought together under the umbrella of the triad United States/ Europe/Japan) but also at global level. Certainly, this tendency is taking concrete shape through economic and political action strategies—and has to face resistance from emerging economies like China and others).
This qualitative transformation has reduced the relative space of autonomy that political power traditionally benefitted from within the triad under consideration (an autonomy that gave meaning and significance to “bourgeois democracy,”   worldview, current trends, “consensus”, on religious beliefs, in short, “trends of the time”).
 To put this differently, what is unfolding is not what is called “a market economy,” rather it is a “market-oriented society.”
 Within this framework, the media—as well as political organizations—realize that its autonomy has diminished, relatively speaking. Without necessarily becoming instruments “at the beck and call” of others, they find themselves in situations where they have to fulfill useful functions that are necessary to guarantee the success of deployments of supreme powers of global monopolies.
Thus, we are not living in an era of advanced democracy; on the contrary, we are witnessing the disfigurement and retrogression of democratic values. A citizen who tries to understand the true state of affairs is subjected to tribulations that make him feel depoliticized. But there is no democracy without politically savvy citizens who are capable of thinking creatively and conceiving alternative ways of doing things coherently and differently. In lieu of these kinds of individuals one finds passive people (devoid of authentic freedom) reduced to the status of passive consumers/spectators. These individuals are often asked to endorse a consensus, in fact, a false consensus which is nothing but a reflection of the sacrosanct demands of the executives in global monopolies. In this scenario, elections are transformed into a farce, in which “candidates” whose managerial modus operandi in the organization of power structures shows signs of the existence of para-personnel aligned behind the same consensus. The apogee of this farce is reached when “notation agencies” (in other words, employees of these monopolies) identify the limits of feasibility.
Now, sadly enough, major media networks are part and parcel of the distillation of this unilateral thought pattern, the stark contrast of critical thinking.  Certainly, the media does not resort to falsehood.  Respectable media outlets steer clear of malpractices. But they do pick and choose, and their commentaries constitute the messages the public expects from them.  Therefore, their autonomy is reduced to the institutionalization of a functional casuistry that gives legitimacy to the powers that be. It is in this sense that I contend that the power of financial aristocracy is complemented by the power of media clergy.  One could provide countless examples of instances of media casuistry that hails criminal judges as champions of democracy (like the judge in Libya who passed a death sentence on Bulgarian nurses), and presents Arabs such as the Sultan of Qatar and the King of Saudi Arabia as advocates of  democracy. It is hard to imagine a more effective farce than this one!
 An example of casuistry by media clergy is the question of intervention (military, humanitarian, economic, etc) by imperialists in the affairs of the South. It is forbidden to open a debate on the real motives behind these interventions, notably in matters relating to access to the natural resources of the countries in question, or the establishment of military bases there.  It should be noted that the reasons for these interventions are often only those given by Western powers. As far as democratic precepts are concerned, these powers expect southerners to take their word at face value. “Democrats” do not tell lies!   They make you believe or make believe that these interventions have been agreed upon by the international community. It is forbidden to remind people that this international community is represented by no one else but the ambassador of the United States as well as ambassadors from small allies from the European Union/ NATO, at times supported by a few countries like Qatar! It is necessary to believe or make believe that the real motives behind these interventions are presented to us by intervening forces: liberate a people caught in the lair of a bloody dictatorship, promote democracy, come to the aid of victims of repression. From the onset, the media assumes the posture of “analyst” (in fact, of phony analysts of reality. The role of the public, then, is to observe to see whether or not the intended objectives have been achieved; whether serious blunders have been committed, whether unforeseen obstacles have stymied the accomplishment of set goals. Great casuistry that prevents role-players from taking the debate to the field: what the real motives behind these interventions are.
Need for media networks that work to re-politicize citizens
During the French Revolution, members of the “lower clergy” dissociated themselves from the higher hierarchy of the aristocracy of the time to contribute to the formation of a new citizenry endowed with the capacity to engage in real critical thinking. A similar process is noticeable in the media today. There is no question that proponents of media new deal that would be truly democratic are up against stiff competition from the “big media” that has access to huge financial resources. One can only salute and support the contributions made by this minority.
 An honorable media power conceives its responsibility as analogous to that of independent and politically conscious citizens who have the wherewithal to contribute to the construction of what I have code-named with peers in the Forum Mondial des Alternatives the convergence of struggles with respect for diversity.  The point here is not to subscribe to a single school of thought—that which strives to provide legitimacy for the practices of global monopolies—another singular thought pattern. It is not an appeal to juxtapose ideas and projects that are considered equally legitimate. The point is to engage in patient and sustained work in a bid to contribute to the development of critical thought that is likely to give direction to social and political struggles geared toward the emancipation of spirits and human beings, individually and collectively, in their common struggle.  The notion of diversity as used here is not restricted to the choice of specific battlefields.  Our conceptualization of diversity harbors the idea of appreciating instruments of social theory conceived to deepen the analytical thought pattern on the real world. It also takes into account the meaning provided by all and sundry on the perception of desired emancipation. Then and only then would the media acquire power that could be wielded responsibly in order to give recognition to the quest and definition of immediate objectives in the struggle and in long-term perspectives to which the media wants to subscribe.

Valsero : « Les grandes réalisations c’est un bluff, une
connerie… »

Il n’y a pas longtemps, le rappeur Valsero faisait son comeback sur la scène de Yaoundé au Goethe Institut.

Il renouait ainsi avec son public après quelques faits qui ont marqué son actualité ces derniers temps. Il répond aux questions de notre reporter.
Comment se sent Valseo aujourd’hui après son spectacle au Goethe Institut ?
Je me sens magnifiquement bien. J’ai de la pêche de tonnerre. Rares sont les fois où je me suis sentis aussi bien au Cameroun. C’était un magnifique concert, à Yaoundé en plus, ça faisait longtemps que ce n’était pas arrivé. Je suis content, voilà.
Tout récemment vous vous faisiez arrêter alors que vous défendiez une cause que vous trouvez noble, où en êtes-vous avec  cette histoire ? (le bébé volé de Vanessa)
Valsero est allé en cellule pour des tonnes de raisons, ça ce n’était qu’une chose parmi tant d’autres. Moi je ne veux pas qu’on s’attarde à effrayer les gens avec mes séjours en prison, parce que si on commence, on ne va pas s’arrêter quoi, vous voyez ce que je veux dire ? Cela dit, c’était une entreprise noble, le Cameroun c’est notre pays et tout ce qu’on fait c’est pour lui, pour sa jeunesse. Il ne s’agissait pas de Vanessa ou d’un bébé particulier, il s’agissait d’une idée. Notre système de santé a besoin d’être protégé et d’être crédible. Par conséquent ils doivent nous démontrer leur crédibilité. Aux dernières nouvelles elle serait toujours à l’hôpital, pour ce qui est du reste il faudrait vous rapprocher de ceux qui l’entourent.
On a pu consommer quelques titres de votre tout prochain album lors de ce fameux spectacle, on a l’impression que le public adhère facilement…
Biensûr, ce sera l’album le plus explosif que le cameroun n’ait jamais connu. Je suis sûr et certain que cet album va changer le futur et la perception du futur des jeunes camerounais. Je suis d’ailleurs persuadé qu’il mettra les jeunes camerounais au fait de leurs responsabilités. C’est un album énorme, comme vous avez pu le remarquer, le public est d’accord et moi je suis d’accord avec ce public. Et j’irai même plus loin en disant qu’il ne s’agit pas que de musique, il s’agit de nous, de notre éducation ; et cet album va venir parachever notre éducation politique, sociale, notre implication et notre éducation à la citoyenneté.
Vous n’avez pas manqué de donner votre opinion sur le récent message du chef de l’Etat à l’endroit de la jeunesse…, vous trouviez cela monotone…  parait-il.
Ouais beh, il est monotone, qu’est ce que vous voulez que je vous dise ? Il est lui-même monotone, le Président. Je veux dire, moi je suis fatigué de l’écouter, la preuve c’est que je ne l’écoute plus ; moi je… et puis il m’emmerde quoi, j’aimerais parler d’autres choses, il me fait chier. Il est arrivé au bout de la piste, je ne trouve rien à dire sur son compte jusqu’à aujourd’hui c'est-à-dire, j’aimerais parler d’autres choses dans ma vie, j’aimerais parler d’autres personnes, d’autres perspectives. Se dire oui, on va tenter quelque chose, ne pas toujours ressasser les bêtises du genre : On va faire quoi ? On va faire comment ? Franchement, moi je suis fatigué.
Vous parlez beaucoup de Master of the Game, d’ailleurs vous vous entourez à chaque fois de vos compagnons d’arme notamment Jumper, Xzaframe, John Olmes… la famille s’agrandit on peut dire ?
Vous savez, aujourd’hui ça m’emmerde un peu de parler d’eux comme si je devais les venter parce que leurs capacités se lisent sur mes réalisations. Ça veut dire que si je réussi à faire quelque chose de bien, c’est parce qu’ils sont là. Ce sont les enfants de la révolution, en termes de mouvement voilà. On se sent unique en notre genre, donc par conséquent on se sent élu. Donc aujourd’hui nous ne sommes plus des camerounais tout court, nous, nous sommes des élus.
Vous avez tous des textes qui revendiquent, un autre faisant un style différent du votre pourrait-il aussi faire partie de votre famille ?
Il faut qu’il soit un élu, et pour être un élu il faudrait qu’il se comporte comme quelqu’un qui a des choses à donner. Man, la bonne graine et la mauvaise graine peuvent être plantées ensemble, elles grandiront ensemble mais c’est au moment de la moisson qu’on va couper l’ivraie et qu’on va garder celle qui était vraie.
Ça va faire un moment que vous prônez votre idéologie mais on n’a toujours pas l’impression que vous êtes entendu… n’avez-vous pas l’impression de passer pour un convaincu qui lui, n’est pas convaincant ?
Non, non, non, il y’a quelques années, il n’y avait pas Xzaframe, il y a quelques années on n’avait pas John Olmes et tous les autres…, non excusez-moi mais ça avance. Il y a quelques années il n’y avait pas les enfants de la révolution, il n’y avait pas Malik, vous voyez ce que je veux dire ? Non man, beaucoup d’eaux ont coulé sous le pont, des choses se sont faites et tout ce qu’il nous reste à faire, c’est de virer le Président, voilà. Et si on arrive à faire ça, tout sera clair.
Que pensez-vous du nouveau remaniement ?
Quel remaniement ? Qu’est-ce qu’on peut attendre d’un régime fatigué ? Mais moi je n’attendais rien de ce remaniement, comme je n’attends rien  des grandes réalisations. Les grandes réalisations c’est un bluff, c’est une connerie pour tromper ceux qui ont l’âme sensible et qui ont faim, ceux qui veulent croire aux rêves. Non non, tout ça ne nous concerne pas, nous on sait ce qu’il faut faire pour qu’on avance. Pour que ça avance, il faut que le président, il dégage.

Children of the Revolution: Cameroonian Rapper Valsero Speaks Out.
(Translated from French by Peter Vakunta, PhD)

Valsero: “Talk about big projects is bluff, baloney…”
Not long ago, Cameroonian rapper, Valsero made his come-back at the Goethe Institute in Yaoundé. He talked to his fans for the first time after his arrest about some incidents in which has been implicated. The text that follows is his response to questions fielded by our reporter.

Reporter: How does Valsero feel today after this show at the Goethe Institute?
Valsero: I feel terrific. I am in great shape. Rarely do I feel the way I do today in Cameroon. It was a great concert in Yaoundé. I have not been able to do a performance like this for a while. I’m satisfied; that’s all I have to say.
Reporter: Not too long ago, you were arrested because you were defending a noble cause (theft of Vanessa’s baby). What’s the situation at this point in time?
Valsero: Valsero was put in jail for a ton of reasons. My stance in the Vanessa saga was only one of many reasons. I don’t want people to use my arrest as a pretext to deter others from standing up for a just cause, because if we start doing that we’ll never accomplish anything, you see what I mean? Having said that I must add that my involvement in Vanessa’ case was a noble cause. Cameroon is our country and all we do is for her sake; for the sake of the youths of this country. It’s not about Vanessa or about a particular baby; it’s about an idea. Our health system needs to be protective, to be credible. In consequence, hospital personnel have to demonstrate their credibility.  The latest I heard is that Vanessa is still at the hospital. You’ll have to get in touch with those people who surround her in order to be kept abreast of the rest of her story.
Reporter: We enjoyed listening to the lyrics of your upcoming album during this remarkable performance, and I dare say the public loves it…
Valsero: Of course, this album is the most explosive musical composition that Cameroon has ever seen. I have no doubt in mind that this album will change Cameroonian youths and their perception of the future.  Above all, I’m certain that it will galvanize the youths to take responsibility for their future. The album is rich, as you have noticed.  The public agrees and I agree with the public. And I dare add that this album is not just about music; it’s about us, our education. It will enable us to complete our political and social education, our involvement in citizenship education.
Reporter: You did not hesitate to express your opinion on the Head of State’s message to Cameroonian youths…, you noted that it was redundant…it would seem.
Valsero: Yeah, it’s redundant. What do you expect me to say to you? Le President himself is redundant. What I’m saying is that I am sick and tired of listening to him, that’s why I don’t listen to him anymore. He really pisses me off; I’d love to talk about other matters. He bores the shit out of me. He is at the end of his tether.  I don’t have anything else to say about him today. I’d rather talk about other issues in my life; I’d like to discuss other people, other perspectives. I want to try something else rather than resign to this nonsense of saying: what can we do? How can we get rid of him? Honestly, this sort of talk wears me out.
Reporter: You talk often about being ‘Master of the Game.’ You’re surrounded by comrades of the combat namely Jumper, Xzaframe, John Olmes… the family keeps growing, wouldn’t you say?
Valsero: You know, it pisses me off to talk about them as if I have to sing their praises because their talents are reflected in my accomplishments. In other words, if I succeed in accomplishing something, it is assumed that I did so because they are there. They are children of the revolution, in terms of a movement, that’s it. We feel special as a group, for this reason we believe that people love us for who we are. Therefore, today we are no longer just Cameroonians; we are the mouthpieces of the Cameroonian people.
Reporter: You all have musical compositions that translate the grievances of the populace but some of your comrades adopt styles that are different from yours.  Do these different styles constitute one family?
Valsero: You have to be elected by the people. And to be chosen by the people you must have something to give them. Man, good and bad grains can be sown together; they will grow together but at harvest time, the bad grain will be separated from the good.
Reporter: It’s been a while since you started to propound an ideology but it doesn’t look like your message is not being heeded…; do you feel like an ardent ideologue who has failed to convince his audience?
Valsero: No, No, No. Only a few years ago, there was no Xzaframe. Only a few years ago, there was no John Olmes and the rest of them. No, excuse me, things are progressing. Only a few years ago, there were no children of the revolution, there was no Malik; you see what I mean? No, man so much water has flowed under the bridge. Things have happened and what we have to do at this juncture is kick out the President, that all. If we succeed in doing that; there will be light at the end of the tunnel for everyone.
Reporter: What’s your take on the cabinet reshuffle?
Valsero: What reshuffle? What do you expect of a regime that is at the end of its tether? I don’t expect anything good to come out of this reshuffle nor from promises of big projects. All this talk about big projects is bluff intended to deceive those who are sensitive, those who are hungry, those people who believe in building castles in the air. No, all this baloney is not our cup of tea. We know what needs to be done to get us out of this quagmire. For things to advance, the President has to be kicked out.

Les niveaux de la traduction

Au chapitre 3 de son livre Lefevere jette de la lumière sur les 4 niveaux  du processus de la traduction suivants:
o   Usage de la langue(niveau  illocutionnaire du texte)
o   Univers du discours
o   Poétique
o   Idéologie
       I.            Usage de la langue
La traduction ne se limite pas au remplacement des mots dans la langue de départ (LD) avec des mots équivalents dans la langue d’arrivée (LA). La traduction se focalise sur le sens, notamment sur la signification des énoncés dans la LD et la LA. Autrement dit, le traducteur est censé dépasser le niveau langagier du texte et rechercher plutôt l’équivalent sémantique des mots qui peuplent le texte sur lequel il travaille.
     II.             Idéologie
Sur le plan idéologique du texte à traduire, il convient de noter que ce qui est acceptable dans la LD n’est pas forcément acceptable dans la culture de la LA. Cela veut dire qu’il revient au traducteur peaufiner les concepts afin de les amener à un niveau idéologiquement acceptable dans la LA.
  III.            Poétique
Parfois , il est  s’avère difficile pour un traducteur de  transposer les données d’un genre  de la LD vers un autre genre  dans LA.  La raison est que l’énonciation poétique d’une écriture est fonction de l’idéologie de l’époque de l’écriture.
  IV.            Univers du discours
L’univers du discours décrit des éléments linguistiques et extra-linguistiques du texte à traduir. Il arrive que le traducteur fait face aux problèmes au niveau des us et coutumes du texte à traduire, d’autant plus que chaque texte est soutenu par le contexte socio-culturel du discours. Pour souligner l’importance des niveaux de la traduction, Lefevere fait l’analyse du poème de Catullus (pp.89-93). La traduction va du latin vers l’anglais. Il s’agit d’un  poète fort comique  comme vous l’avez  constaté. D’après Lefevere, la traduction de ce poème n’est pas fidèle à cause des considérations idéologiques.
Matière à réflexion:
Que pensez-vous de l’emploi des termes militaires dans la traduction de ce poème? Quelle signification ont-ils? On y voit des termes comme: pip emma, Roger, send a runner, attention, number one dress. Lefevere les qualifie de “professiolect.”
© Vakunta 2013

Translation techniques
Translators are often confronted with problems of different kinds in their trade. More often than not, they resort to different strategies in an attempt to overcome or circumvent translation hurdles. Below is a discussion of some translation techniques that translators have used over the years.
1. Borrowing
‘Borrowing’ is taking words straight from another language. Borrowed terms often pass into general usage. For example, English words such as “weekend”, “camping”, and more have become part and parcel of French usage. Borrowing occurs for different reasons. The common reason is that the target language has no equivalents. For example, the first man-made satellites were Soviet, so for a time they were known in English, French, and other world languages as "sputniks".
2. Calque
Calquing is literal translation at phrase level. Sometimes calques work, sometimes they don't.  Calquing is common in specialized translation, in fields such as, information technology, science, quality assurance, life insurance and more.
3. Literal Translation
 Literal translation means translating just what the statement says. For example, la vie est courte=life is short. Sometimes literal translation works; sometimes it doesn't. For example, the French sentence below cannot be translated into English literally:  A malin malin est demi=takes a thief to catch a thief.
4. Transposition
This is the translation process whereby parts of speech get interchanged. Grammatical structures are not often identical in different languages. For example, "She likes swimming" translates as "Elle aime nager.”   Notice that the gerund “swimming” is rendered as a verb “nager.”  This is because gerunds and infinitives work in different ways in English and French. Transposition is often in translation from English to French because of the position of the verb in the sentence structure. English wants the verb up near the front; French can have it closer to the end. 
5. Modulation
 A modulation involves a change, not in grammatical categories, but in terms of worldview. Jones (1997) notes that a change in categories of thought may entail a switch from concrete to abstract, from cause to effect, or cause to effect.  Examples include: un bourreau de travail=a workaholic; un avant-project= a first draft; un cours de rattrapage=a remedial course;  heures de pointe=rush hours and more.
6. Reformulation (sometimes known as équivalence)
Here you have to express something in a completely different way, for example when translating idioms or, even advertising slogans. The process is creative, but not always easy.  It is also called equivalence. Equivalence is defined as “a set message modulation” (Jones, 1997, P.105).Translators generally recognizes the need for equivalence from the context of the message to be translated. For example, the meaning of the French expression “C’est moi” would be dependent on the situation in which it was used: C’est a moi de jouer, (it’s my turn); c’est a moi de trouver une solution (it’s up to me), etc.
7. Adaptation
An adaptation is used when all else has failed. It is therefore not literal translation. Adaptation is tantamount to carrying a concept over and across the barriers of language and civilization and trying to make sense of something that is totally foreign to the linguistic group one is translating for. An example would be looking for an equivalent for snow in a text that is meant for a readership for whom is snow is not an existential reality.
8. Compensation
This is a rather amorphous term, but in general it is used to describe a situation where something cannot be translated from source to target language, and the meaning that is lost in the immediate translation is expressed somewhere else in the TT. Fawcett defines it as: "...making good in one part of the text something that could not be translated in another". (1997, p.31-3).One example given by Fawcett is the problem of translating nuances of formality from languages which use forms such as tu and  vous into English which only has 'you' and expresses degrees of formality in different ways.
NB: For a more complete description of existing definitions and classifications of translation techniques, read the article Translation Techniques at]:
   Vakunta 2013