You are not African

Where are you from?

Cameroon.

Cameroon? But you are white.

Yes, I know that.

Ok, but where are you really from?

Cameroon

Ok, you’ve said that, but where are your parents from?

Iraq and America.

So, what are you… American or Iraqi?

I don’t know. Does it matter?

Yes!

Why?

Because, you have to belong somewhere!

I belong everywhere.

You must be an American!

Why?

Because, you talk like an American.

I do? If I talk like a Cameroonian, that means I am Cameroonian?

What does your passport say?

American

Then, you are American!

Ok. I am American, but I am also many other things.

You cannot be two things at once.

Why not?

Do you vote in American elections?

Yes. Why?

So you voted for Bush.

My voting is my concern.

I’m not saying you, Ramin, voted for Bush. I’m saying your people voted for Bush.

My people? What’s your point?

Your people destroyed Iraq.

It wasn’t everyone’s choice. Many people protested the war.

Yes, but the people voted for Bush, and he wanted oil for the cars your people drive.

Listen, what are you getting at? This doesn’t make me responsible for the things a few people did.

It doesn’t matter what you want Ramin. You can think you are Cameroonian, but you can only vote in American elections. You only determine what happens in one country.

And the people in Cameroon? Do they determine what happens in Cameroon, even though they have, quote unquote, voted for the same man for the last 30 years?

Yes, they do.

They do, but not politically. There’s more than one way to determine what happens in the world. You might think that politics alone determines where someone belongs, but you are absolutely wrong. Blood, not politics runs through our veins, and after all, you of all people should know that we are all children of Adam. I am no less African than you, sir!

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3 comments

  1. These pictures you share are just incredible. Your writing is improving or you are choosing to share different facets of your life or both. well done.

  2. OMG I just discovered your blog! I was also born in Cameroon (Yaounde), have lived in Atlanta for 8 years and in Stockholm for 6 years prior to that. Your memories of Cameroon are so familiar! I know the ‘white man’ song you mention in one of your posts, I too wore those blue uniforms in primary school, and people can’t place my accent. Although I feel at home on 3 different continents-it doesn’t help that I speak 4 languages (5 if you count pidgin). Thanks for sharing

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