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La vérité est comme les fesses, on est obligé de s'asseoir avec

27 décembre 2006

BE at HOME EVERYWHERE and NOWHERE


Sir, Madam,

“Is scorn and assault of a woman before her own children a reflection of a Cameroonian society seeking pride, humaneness and embracing freedom?”

It is in these words that the Ambassador of the Educational Association for the Defense of Separated Children and Parents (AEDEPS), that this mother is questioning the Cameroonian society and the international society at large, indeed the humanity we are all proud to be part of.

Though this question, indeed this cry of despair by a woman, a mother, a parent, appeals to all of us, it would nonetheless be improper not to set it back in context for two reasons which, in my view, seem obvious because:

  1. Luckily, in our world there are still honest women and men, mothers and fathers, indeed ordinary parents who would be unfairly targeted if we dealt with the issue from a general perspective;
  1. This would obscure and weaken the responsibility of the person who is to blame for the ordeal of this mother, this woman, by casting him to anonymity.

In equity, “ignorance of the law is no excuse.” This saying has become a great principle in every State under the rule of law. Should someone however be above the law for the simple reason that they are an auxiliary of the law or law-maker?

Apparently, in Cameroon, when one is an auxiliary of the law, or a defender thereto, as is the case of Mr. Charles Tchoungang, they become above it, exploiting it their whims and caprices, and this is all the more obvious when one is both judge and defendant.

Of course we were aware that top down examples are rare concerning respect for the law. In this regard, Cameroon ought by now to have set a new record for patenting law-breaking by representatives since 1982.

The President of the Cameroon Bar Association himself, confirms, if need be, that this brand name fits as a fiddle in Mr. Biya’s Cameroon. Indeed, this gentleman has continued to record success after success, having been elected recently as Chairman of the International Conference of Bar Associations (CIB) on 14 December 2006.

 As Lamartine said, ‘miss one person and everything is empty,’ but when you miss three people, who are none other than your children, it is no longer emptiness, it is nothingness.

That is how, by using and abusing the privileges of his office, the Chairman of Bar Chairs decided, for close to 8 years now, to deprive, I mean destroy Yolande, a mother, heart-broken to all intents and purposes, by chucking her out of the lives of their children. That is how selfishness and the feeling of omnipotence led a father to deprive 3 children of the love of their mother and vice versa.

You may read Yolande’s harrowing account (Press release) (1) on this issue and see how in a country said to be under the rule of law, in which management of State affairs is known to be chaotic, some of its leaders appear as monsters under their robes. It would appear running of public affairs is a reflection of the management of private lives.

 In spite of the great pain, the emptiness that engulfs her, Yolande, the mother deprived of her three children for years, is not vengeful, and does not hate against its perpetrator. All she seeks is to live as a mother; loving her offspring and being loved in return.

This is the season during which parents are proud to offer gifts to their children, and receive a hug, a smile or even a gift in return. This year, again, Yolande will not have these pleasures; simple though they may be, yet all so important for children and parents. Why? Well because the Chairman of the Bar Council so decreed.

To help Yolande (who has been separated from her children for close to 8 years) feel the joy of holding them in her arms, telling them directly she loves them as every parent would, indeed, for Yolande to come out of the state of survival, from the void in which Mr. Charles Tchoungang has shut her away, the publication “100langue2bois”, invites every person of goodwill to sign the petition at the end of the article in support of this broken-hearted mother.

An interview of Yolande

100langue2bois: Yolande, during this busy season, in the positive sense of the term, when parents the world over are hunting down gifts for their children, how do you feel?

Y.A. Like in so many years past, I am spending Christmas and New Year in total indifference, far away from my three little ones for whom my heart breaks. They have been taken hostage by their father who is Chairman of the Cameroon Bar Association, and who has recently been elected Chairman of the International Conference of Bar Associations. Our children are not allowed to receive either a word or gifts from me, absolutely nothing, absolutely no motherly comfort because of the constant threat of violence and humiliation from their father as in the past.

Even animals are allowed to lick their little ones… How can a man be so heartless?

100L2B: How long has it been since you last heard the voice of your children?

Y.A.  Since 11 September 2001, my last daughter’s birthday, as I said in an interview granted SITUATIONS on 24 November 2006.

100L2B: What news did you have of your children and how did you get the news?

 The tidbits I had of my children, was obtained mostly from acquaintances who saw them. My family is not among the list of people authorized to meet my oldest daughter in the college where I registered her. When her grandfather, my father braved the odds and went there to give her the last parcel I sent, she refused to take it out of fear of the severe punishment her father would have inflicted. Her brother and sisters who are in the same place are closely monitored in this regard. My family which wishes to protect our children and would not want to worsen their anguish is therefore pushed aside.

100L2B: What would you like to tell readers?

 Y.A. This person is deriving pleasure in turning his very own children mad, encouraged and applauded by some members of society, having consciously bestowed him responsibility for the laws of a whole State.So, I have one simple thing to say:The Cameroonian judiciary may have the players that it chooses or deserves; I have no quarrel with that, but my children, innocent and unadulterated as they are by the conflicting interests of others, deserve a legacy of Love, Honour, Dignity and Respect, over and above all. Everyone is free to choose the values they want to bequeath to their children and the leaders in whose hands they put their destiny, yet they did not ask to be born in a chaotic environment, don’t you agree?

100L2B: What message do you have for Cameroonian leaders to create awareness among them about your distress

Y.A. Based on what law, without an iota of proof, and without having judged me properly, does an Assistant Secretary-General of the Bar Association take upon himself to sign an official press release on behalf of the interested party addressed to me, sentencing me over a private matter, seriously threatening my psychological and physical integrity as well as the already shaky peace of the three vulnerable and defenseless children.Had my former husband given him a gun to shoot down our children, would he have done so, and in the interest of what?With all due respect, dear leaders, your Bar Chairman may deserve the place he has in your Bar Association, but he certainly does not deserve the children I lovingly gave him, risking my life, and whom I suckled from my breast as sure as you suckled from your own mothers’ breast.

My approach, which is apolitical, non cultural or racist is focused solely on the interest of children who, wherever they come from, have the right to see both of their parents as stated in the International Convention on Children’s Rights, which was also ratified by the State of Cameroon, on 11 January 1993.

100L2B: Of course, if your children have the chance of reading you what do you have to tell them?

Y.A. I shall stay on this earth so long as I have not seen my little darlings with my own eyes. Let them be assured of that. At Christmas I took another path, the path of love to be close to them.Suffering from a rare and complicated illness, far away from them, to survive, I have to struggle on a daily basis to get well. That is why I wish to thank 100L2B from the bottom of my heart for their fabulous support. Your sense of civic responsibility, your far-reaching support for me and for my children are a true Christmas gift for us. For such a generous move to free our imprisoned children all over the world from such suffering, I dedicate this petition to all those suffering the same fate as a hand stretched out, not for money but for a touch of humaneness.

100L2B: We wish to thank you and to extend to you, in spite of all, our season’s greetings. Our readers will help you in your fight and we hope that the Cameroonian administration will take the necessary measures, for you to enjoy your rights once again and live as happily as all parents and especially that your children will have the joy of sharing pleasurable moments with their mother.  

 

Release from Yolande

Humane and open to freedom?

On 21 June 2006, the French judiciary sentenced Charles Tchoungang, Cameroonian Lawyer and member of the Bar Association, to a one-year imprisonment for desertion of family in distress, after signing an international warrant of arrest against him.

The decision was published on 30 June 2006 at 12.42 p.m. by the Agence France-Presse (AFP), then echoed by Le Monde, RFI and the media. The law is taking its course in this divorce case whose ramifications you now know.

After my reservations aimed at protecting my children and myself, their mother, Yolande Ambiana, I decided to break the silence by granting an interview with your counterparts of the “SITUATIONS” newspaper, to avoid any further spread of lies-telling and manipulations targeting both my moral and physical integrity.

What follows stems from a text I sent to one of your fellow media houses which solicited me for the preparation of an article which subsequently hit the headlines of that newspaper. Its contents was not exploited, in the face of the counter-truths filed in by my former husband, with no doubt the idea of gaining for himself a bit of consistency where only a bit of HUMANISM is expected of him.

The text asks a question which reaches us all and which I humbly put to you:

After seven years of struggle in dignity and respect to protect my defenseless children, today pushed to the threshold of folly, I finally came to this conclusion. When we have children, we are all concerned: they are the future of the world… Where the value of an innocent child is not recognized before our eyes, what should we expect of the value of our nation tomorrow?

It unfortunately happens that at the backstage of power of our civilizations, our children become heroes of a very bad film, in short, a thriller which could be rightly referred to as “Tsotsi’s rich childhood”.

Let all those who had given birth judge for themselves the tragedy below.

“My name is Tsotsi”, winner of the Academy Award for the best foreign film in 2005, from the Box Office and rewarded at festivals worldwide, presenting a mirror to our infant souls turned parents, beyond the bruises of our past. This African brat without any bearings, born of a sick mother and an unscrupulous father, goes as far as forgetting his terrible past…

At the symbolic crossroads where the film was directed, the encounter between two peoples, African and British, who gave me life, my three children Isabelle, Olivier and Celine have for long already been in great danger.

In this bleak scenario, my children went through the pinnacle of their ordeal, in the night of 8 October 2006. They are reported to have seen their father attacked by his companion, to whom he had entrusted their education for many years, with a firearm, before seeing him thrown out of the window, from their home.

According to the newspaper “POPOLI”, he was in a drunken state at the time of the tragedy, as I have always seen him myself. He is reported to have been evacuated to Morocco, but the rest of the Cameroonian press remained rather discrete on the matter. He is alleged not have taken legal action against his companion. I don’t know if he is still in France, where he was in early September, for a Forum on petrol organized in Paris, on 25 November 2006.

 My former husband had once intimidated me a whole night at the Hôtel Méridien Montparnasse seven years ago with a firearm, telling me that he had just obtained an authorization to possess a weapon. I was later informed that my children are believed to have seen it exposed under their own roof, well before this tragedy.

I

did not have evidence then, but today it cannot be said that I remained silent on this fact almore serious that this man is expected to be representing the Law. I am praying that no other tragedy of this type should ever occur again.

To this day, I do not know the physiological state of my children, following the recent ordeals, given that the humiliations they saw me suffer were less, compared to the present one. I do not know where they now live or under whose custody they have been after that shameful night.

Yet, if there is anyone in the world capable of feeding them with love, welcoming them and raising them to respect others, it can only be me, their mother, who now knows the price of the life that I transmitted to them. I would never have taken them away from their other half, their father and only begetter, in spite of all.

But, since their most tender age, weakened by a strange illness which compelled me to live in France in order to survive, this father penetrates the mind of these defenseless children and wrecks it shamelessly, whereas for many years now I have been shouting my head off pleading the authorities and the judiciary to protect them … to no avail.

It should be pointed out that Mr. Tchoungang who is supposed to provide them with an honourable education, given that he occupies a high-ranking position in the land of my birth, the land of my fathers, and has important businesses abroad, seems to be above the least suspicion.

This man, who was former President of the Cameroon Human Rights Organization and President of the Association of Defence Lawyers at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, among other numerous functions, has mobilized many of my former classmates in the university and has disappointed them.

My children are living in luxury, but fear is their daily lot in this chaos, like many other children experiencing the equally terrible tragedies which are not commented or which are not heard. A child has a small voice, except when he is laughing or shouting … It is us, parents, who have to speak of it.

My own children are taught the language of power relationship, authority and violence. They are fed with lies each day while being showered with gifts. But while they are playing, they keep worrying if the next bullet will not be aimed at them … a bullet which they may end up returning to the society tomorrow, if I remain silent today.

My civil status did not feature in the file for the birth certificate of my last daughter, whose birth date was falsified. A council worker fortunately warned me and accepted to correct the declaration. I have never had access to the original.

 Instructions have been given in their school not to allow any member of my family pay them a visit. I have been informed that my daughter goes to churches to seek comfort.

In order to have a self-congratulatory letter signed on his behalf by members of my family, this father made his children believe that they would come to see me at last during the 2006 long vacation, after they would have passed their exams. He later on paraded the letter in the press. My lawyer, Mr. Antoine Richard of the Paris Bar Council, has evidence of it.

This type of manoeuvres, mental manipulation or alienation is usually referred to in mild terms, but when it comes to children, I must say it loud and clear, the right word is simply aggravated rape. I am saying this with full knowledge of the facts. I have revealed my ordeals to this date; those who have ears should listen.

I

n the case of my children this rape is of course not physical, but the mind is the deepest and most intimate part a human being can have. The very young does not have the seal to protect the entrance to his.

As such, people break and enter his dependent heart by corrupting his senses, through what he is being told, what he is being shown and what he is given to veil his view… It is a crime and such a crime is:

A violation of his mind, violation of his integrity, violation of his identity, of his trust in life, violation of the memory of the being who nurtured his germ and brought him to the world, violation of his childhood. That is how a human being is driven away from his ego; that is how we nurture a monster in our society. He is not brought up to become somebody; he exists but does no longer live, since without the mind he becomes a thing!

 Can a responsible person behave like this with his offspring in all conscience?

The French judiciary whose first ruling ordered for joint parental authority without granting me the right to visit on the spot, whereas my former husband never showed up, has suddenly declared its incompetence in entertaining any appeal, referring the matter to a Cameroonian court whose partiality towards our mothers, sisters and daughters is common knowledge.

Under such circumstances, while he prevents me from seeing our children, hearing them or even having any contact with them for the past seven years, his current position as member of the Bar leaves me with no chance of winning my case through legal means in Cameroon.

In accordance with the International Convention on Children’s Rights ratified by the State of Cameroon like many other countries, my children and hence yours, are in permanent DANGER, for many years already.

In my capacity as Ambassador of the Educational Association for the Defense of Separated Children and Parents (AEDEPS), my motherly words are echoing from the bottom of my humble cottage to raise this odious deed up to redemption, in the deepest compassion of He who created us as being all his children, in the name of the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

It is with a shattered lung and against the wish of my pneumologist that I made my voice heard in Michel Ocelot’s film “KIRIKOU and the wild beasts”, so that my children can at last hear me.

As such, I wish to testify to my children that Tsotsi actually has brothers, privileged or not, and that I am one of his numerous mothers. The fruit of my flesh is however not doomed to this destiny! My breath blows right to the last day and beyond, since in my illness, my blood doesn’t flow for nothing. I do not want THIS for my CHILDREN… I will fight on to the last beat of my heart.

Let our consciences remain always open to free our children from our blindness and let them embrace exuberance. Let their little fingers draw a father and a mother under a friendly sun. Only our consciences hold the link of our destinies.

 

Yolande Ambiana

Editor’s note: Our sources hold that the husband had appealed against the decision taken against him.

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