The Immaculate Spirit At the Devil's Door

Brendon Kahn

2019 - Ongoing

"How Can I sleep when my house is on fire? It is not safe for my children. We had to leave”, Ernest, 42, husband, and father of two, recalls while visiting his abandoned home in Acha.

The Anglophone Crisis in Cameroon has been simmering for decades, but boiled over in late 2016 after a series of protests from teachers and lawyers that stood up to the government who responded with lethal force. This provoked english speaking anglophone separatists to declare independence for the region they call Ambazonia, which in turn has caused an even stronger military crackdown. People in Ambazonia are seeking to restructure the government to yield better representation of their needs, decentralized control, and ideally total independence. The separatists have pledged to continue fighting until Ambazonia is freed. Currently there are people still being displaced from their homes, with permanent armed military presence deployed in the region.

The movement of the protests continue to stand for justice, human rights, and independence. The Francophone Cameroonian government has systematically marginalized English speaking institutions with a lust for resources and a crusade to dominate culture with its ‘reform’ of the judicial and educational system. The oppression has taken the form of egregious acts of terror where extrajudicial killings have turned the sons of farmers into fighters picking up handmade guns instead of tools. The violence continues to spread into villages and hard working farming communities with bullets blindly unleashed aimlessly behind occupation posts erected in fear.

This body of work (2019 - ongoing) courageously protests the horrific acts of injustice, murder, and imperialism by the oppressive francophone government. These are their stories of hardship and perseverance in the face of radical shifts in power, marginalization, and brutal oppression that has left thousands dead and even more internally displaced. Despite the hardship, the determination of the people in Ambazonia stands firm and continues to grow stronger. State media tries to control the narrative to the outside world, but hiding the grave criminality is only temporary when fighting against an indomitable foundation of determination and dignity.

Since the first outbreak of violence the conflict has cost over 3,000 lives and displaced over 500,000 people.

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