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From colonial memory to peoples’ dialogue

Dschang, UDs / SIC-21/09/2017. Coordinated by Prof. Albert Gouaffo and his colleagues from Germany, the colloquium on the return of intermediate results of research on the share of history shared between Cameroon and Germany, has been active. A round table was organized on the theme “Colonial History in Düsseldorf – a dialogue is it possible? “. The organizers were asked to demonstrate that the construction of the colonial memory in Düsseldorf can lead to a frank dialogue between the former German colonizer and the former colonies. The Panel consisted of five stakeholders. Professor Michels pointed out that the “hangman vs. victim” posture adopted by politicians and postcolonial intellectuals does not make it possible to reconcile peoples with their history. The executioners of yesterday camp on their position, defend themselves, justify and relativize the colonial crimes based on the collaboration of some African actors of the time. Professor Gouaffo for his part will insist on the transdisciplinarity of the colonial question. Historico-sociological, literary and artistic, cultural and civilizational approaches, to name but a few, can provide a better understanding of the colonial reality and its survival in contemporary society. It is his opinion that dialogue is above all a process to be initiated. To do this, a set of conditions must be met: the willingness of stakeholders to tackle the colonial question without taboos, the revision of education systems to combat prejudices, the construction or rehabilitation of places of colonial memory. Samuel Awusum, Cameroonian computer scientist, will regret the fact that many Germans are ignorant of the colonial question. He thinks it is urgent to sensitize the people of Düsseldorf on the colonial past of their country so that they understand the symbolic significance of places of memory implanted in their city by politics. Pastor Wilfried Neusel, former head of the Ecumenical Service of the Evangelical Church of Rheinland, for his part, is indignant at the colonial crimes and then insisted on the official recognition of these crimes to see forgiveness or symbolic reparations. Philipp Koepp, Professor of History argues that all the names of colonial actors who have been guilty of crimes and other abuses such as Herrmann von Wissmann should be removed from the city of Düsseldorf. This Vision is not that of Adonis Menoue, Cameroonian sociologist, Founder in 2008 of the Association of Cameroonian Dusseldorf, communicator at the FEBI (a German company). He mainly thinks about what Cameroon has lost, because of colonization. A repair or retrocession of objects carried away by the colonizers would be essential for him. At the end, all the panelists and the public were of the opinion that a dialogue was possible and that it was necessary to engage it. / HT | HF

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