Tomorrow, November 3, 2007, marks the 47th anniversary of the death of Cameroonian nationalist leader, Felix Moumié. In this posting, we relive that tragic event through the eyes of Franz Fanon (picture), the famous Caribbean essayist, psychoanalyst, and revolutionary who fought alongside the FLN in the Algerian war of independence, and whose writings inspired African anti-colonial liberation movements in the 1950s and 60s:
Moumié. On September 30th  we met on the Accra airfield. He was going to Geneva for some very important meetings. In three months, he told us, we would witness a mass ebbing of colonialism in Cameroon.
In Tripoli, a fog prevented any landing and for three hours the plane circled above the airfield. The pilot wanted to land at any cost. The control tower refused the requested authorization but the courageous and heedless pilot had decided to land his tens of thousands of tons. "These fellows gamble with people's lives,' Felix said to me.
It was true. But were we not also gambling with ours? What was this pilot's intrepidity compared to our lives perpetually in suspense? Today Felix is dead. In Rome, two weeks later, we were to have met again. He was absent. His father standing at the arrival in Accra saw me coming, alone, and a great sadness settled on his face.
Two days later a message told us that Felix was hospitalized. Then that poison was suspected. Kingue, the vice-president of the UPC and Marthe Moumié decided to go to Geneva. A few days later the news reached us: Felix Moumié was dead.
We hardly felt his death. A murder, but a bloodless one. There was neither volleys nor machine guns nor bombs. Thallium poisoning. It made no sense. Thallium! How was one to grasp such a cause? An abstract death striking the most concrete, the most alive, the most impetuous man. Felix's tone was constantly high. Aggressive, violent, full of anger, in love with his country, hating cowards and manoeuvres. Austere, hard, incorruptible. The essence of revolutionary spirit packed into 60 kilos of muscle and bone.
In the evening we went to comfort the Cameroon comrades. The father, his face seamed, impassive, inexpressive, listened to me speak of his son. And progressively the father yielded place to the militant. Yes, he said, the program is clear. We must stick to the program. Moumie's father, at that moment, reminded me of those parents in Algeria who listen in a kind of stupor to the story of the death of their children. Who from time to time, ask a question, require a detail, then relapse into that inertia of communion that seems to draw them toward where they think their sons have gone.
Culled from “African Unity” in Toward the African Revolution: Political Essays By Frantz Fanon. Translated by Haakon Chevalier. Published 1988. Grove Press. (pp. 179-180). Reprint. Originally published: New York : Grove Press, 1969.