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diplomacy watch

For information, action and the widest possible circulation Email: Contact: Dr. Beatrice Epwene Twitter: @Sconevoice1 1 NO Mercury ! Spin is NOT in 09/03/2018

Dear Mercury/Omnicom,

It is with shock and utter disappointment, but with great interest and sickening despair that I read about your agreement to provide lobbying and media relations services for the government of the 86-year-old President of The Republic of Cameroon, a man who has been in power for 36 years, a man with one of the worst human rights record to date. 2

NO Mercry ! Spin is NOT in 09/03/2018

Your deal with this client begs the very obvious lay question WHY? For a government steeped in debt, that can barely pay its own bills, a government that can barely provide the most basic necessities for its citizens, a government that cannot even provide beds for new mothers in maternity wards. Why would such a government need to spend $1.2 million a year on public relations services in the United States? Oh wait, that’s not all! This same government also just hired a full-service law firm, inking another outrageous $400.000 a quarter deal with Squire Patton Boggs, a quarter of a billion dollars a year on needless services‌WHY?

3 NO Mercury ! Spin is NOT in 09/03/2018

As public relations practitioners, we know that that no

one hires a PR firm and retains a full-service law firm, for so much money, without some fire-under-feet, really big mess they are trying to cover up. A professional question, therefore to ask would be, why does this government need this level of reputation management and image repair? What is it that is crying out to be hidden? What is the government covering up or better yet what is it afraid for people to find out?

“…the essence of public relations practice…comes down to one word: integrity.” Fraser P. Seitel 4 NO Mercury ! Spin is NOT in 09/03/2018

A PR firm worth its salt would find these questions a good place to start, and even the most basic PR process models RACE, ROSIE, ROPE or R-PIE, or even just a quick google search, a simple hashtag, would quickly reveal to you the extent to which you should not touch this client even with a ten-foot pole.

5 NO Mercury ! Spin is NOT in 09/03/2018

Even further, a situational analysis would have revealed to you that this is a government desperate to hide its numerous crimes documented everywhere, even on social media pages. Due deligence would reveal: • The appalling human rights record that this government has managed to rack up over the 36 years of a dictatorial and high-handed regime. • The carnage that this government is perpetrating on its innocent citizens rigth now, as we speak. • That this is a government in the news lately for the rape of young girls by its brutal military. • That this government has burnt down over 100 villages in Southern Cameroons/Ambazonia.

• That this government is killing people and openly shooting mothers with babies on their backs in plain daylight. • That this government is guilty of illegal detentions, jailing political opponents and muzzling the press. 6 NO Mercury ! Spin is NOT in 09/03/2018

How could you have missed all these?

7 NO Mercury ! Spin is NOT in 09/03/2018

So, either you are being very highly disingenuous by finding out all these about your client, yet willfully and deliberately ignoring it all, contravening every ethical and moral code of the public relations profession and ignoring your own consciences; or you are exhibiting a frightening level of incompetence, bypassing all basic PR discovery processes, by not seeking to knowing and understanding your client before committing to counsel, neither of which paints a good picture of what you say you are about. 8 NO Mercury ! Spin is NOT in 09/03/2018

This is a government whose surrogates have threatened to send US Ambassador, Peter Barlerin, home in a body bag for speaking out against government atrocities. This is a government that is more interested in engaging in public relations campaigns, lobbying, burnishing its image abroad than resolving basic crisis and human rights abuses in its own backyard. How could you have missed all that?

Photo: H.E.Peter Barlerin United States Ambassador to Yaounde, Cameroon

If the Biya government has its way, Ambassador Barlerin will only return home to the US in a body bag. 9 NO Mercury ! Spin is NOT in 09/03/2018

What then have you been hired to do for your million dollar client? Counter the onslaught of genuine reputational damage this government rightly deserves from its deplorable human rights record. You are called upon to plaster a smile on the face of a marauding monster and present him to the world as a puppy doll, a regime which buys its way through law and PR firms, bribes its way through international bodies and dignitaries and champions corruption, murder and theft at home.

10 NO Mercury ! Spin is NOT in 09/03/2018

This regime pursues activists around the world who are calling out the government for its crimes against its own people and asking for international intervention; you are hired to counteract the fight to expose the monstrosity of the evil regime. That is your job and I am sure, and I can bet on my life, you know that. So you have chosen to overlook, and you have accepted to cover up the poo-poo beneath the monster and walk away with your dollar smiling, regardless of what happens to the masses on the ground, and to that I say No, Unacceptable!

11 NO Mercury ! Spin is NOT in 09/03/2018

As both professor and practitioner, I am concerned that by your action, you are once again taking the PR profession down the slippery slope of hucksterism and barnumism, of hacks and spin masters, an image the profession has fought so hard in the last hundred years to over-


You have allowed the greenness of the dollar to green the lenses of your eyes. What about values, what about ethics, what about people’s lives? I know what you are thinking. It is Africa, no one would notice, no one would care, who will find out? But we live in a globalized, 21st century world and this time, it won’t be overlooked.

12 NO Mercury ! Spin is NOT in 09/03/2018

Social responsibility is upholding human dignity and respecting the sanctity of life everywhere. Your own corporate responsibility statement reads as follows:

“We’re committed to promoting responsible practices and making positive contributions to society around the globe.”

It is time to live out that commitment. Everything should not always only be about the dollar even while putting human lives at risk This is what you are doing by agreeing to serve as agent for this government. You help prop up dictators from the comfort of your air-conditioned offices caring less of how your actions affect people’s lives around the world. 13 NO Mercury ! Spin is NOT in 09/03/2018

By this note, I am informing you that you stand accused of willfully and knowingly ignoring the very basic premise of the public relations profession, that of committing to the highest standards of ethics; the call to walk away from doing business in murky situations. Fraser P. Seitel, a respected voice in the profession states that “…the essence of public relations practice…comes down to one word: integrity. Once a public relations professional has lost that quality, he or she has lost the game.” He goes on to say:

“If the trend continues of public relations people becoming image mercenaries, accepting any client regardless of character or conscience, as long as he or she pays the freight, then all of us will lose.” Fraser P. Seitel 14 NO Mercury ! Spin is NOT in 09/03/2018

I, therefore, humbly and respectfully call on you to rescind this contract and NOT do business with the government of the Republic of Cameroon, as it violates all professional tenets of public relations as practiced in this century. I expect that you would save this profession, which has come so far, from continued embarrassment. Do not soon be the ones in need of reputation management. 15 NO Mercury ! Spin is NOT in 09/03/2018

By this note, I am informing you that you stand accused of knowingly and willfully ignoring the voices of countless well-meaning people and international bodies by ignoring their well-sourced and well-founded reports and records on the evils of this government.

I respectfully and humbly ask that you rescind your contract with this evil regime and NOT do business with this government. Consider ALL the human rights records, look at the United Nations reports, look at Amnesty International reports, listen to US Ambassador Barlerin, reports from Human Rights Watch, Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa, check social media pages, check with Journalists Matthew Russell of Inner City Press, Dr. Matsanga of Punchline Africa, check with US Congress Woman Rep. Karen Bass and countless other sources and make the right call. 16 NO Mercury ! Spin is NOT in 09/03/2018

By this note, I am informing you that you stand accused of knowingly defrauding the people of Southern Cameroons/ Ambazonia of life, liberty and resources and being willfully complicit in their total annihilation.

I respectfully ask that you rescind your contract with this evil regime and NOT do business with this government, on behalf of the 8 million people of Southern Cameroons/Ambazonia currently directly under fire power from this dictator, people whose lives have been made miserable for years now and especially in the last two years. They have seen their families, homes and villages razed to the ground; the sick, infirm and elderly burnt alive in their homes and in hospitals; medical staff, school children and religious leaders gunned down in the streets. 17 NO Mercury ! Spin is NOT in 09/03/2018

As a global conglomerate the lives of 8 million people far-flung somewhere around the world may not mean anything to you but we are watching, we will observe, we will make noise wherever we need to, we will not relent, we will call you out at every turn, we will counter your PR efforts tactic by tactic. We will not be shooed away into silence even at great risk to ourselves, here in the United States, in other places around the world, and at great risk to our families on the ground at home in Cameroon, and for that, you and the government of Cameroon will be held directly accountable.

Ambazonians will struggle together and fight together in self-defense, even with bare hands, till justice is served to the people of Southern Cameroons. 18 NO Mercury ! Spin is NOT in 09/03/2018

TO THE GENERAL READER: THE BACK STORY Thanks for taking the time as you live a little bit of the current Ambzonian experience through this interactive medium. I hope you come away with a feel for the despair and urgency to act NOW! The story of Southern Cameroons/Ambazonia tells the long struggle of a people in quest of a basic human right, the right to self-determination. The story is deeply rooted in the evil and injustice perpetuated against the people of Southern Cameroons by the United Nations, in complicity with France and Britain. The aborted 1961 process of decolonization and independence for Southern Cameroons finds its people today in an unholy and unequal union with The Republic of Cameroon where men are enslaved and emasculated, women raped and children slaughtered in the streets daily. The people of Southern Cameroons have, over the years, sought all peaceful means to resolving the impasse with The Republic of Cameroon. Consequently, once again in 2016, peaceful protests by Southern Cameroonian lawyers, teachers and students, seeking justice, equality and fairness in all aspects of civil life, led the tyrannical government of Cameroon to unilaterally declare war on Southern Cameroonians/Ambazonians in 2017. Since then, thousands have been killed, over 60.000 refugees have fled to neighboring countries, with countless internally displaced persons living in the forests in the most inhumane conditions, and hundreds of towns and villages razed to the ground. The government, as usual, is tone-deaf to multiple calls for dialogue and negotiation. Instead, in complicity with international bodies such as the UN, backed by France and multibillion dollar corporations such as Mercury LLC/Omnicom Group, the government is currently perpetuating genocide on the people of Southern Cameroons, while the world remains eerily silent. Read a report by The British House of Commons and for extended context visit AGC & SCYL pages. If you are touched by these horrific crimes, please join the people of Southern Cameroons/Ambazonia in calling on global powers to complete the process of decolonization of Southern Cameroons and granting the people’s desire to determine the course of their own future. To my fellow Ambazonians, as you read and as you share this, remember that it is our duty and responsibility to tell our story in our own words in our own way, whenever, wherever and to whomever we possibly can. Please give this the widest possible circulation by sharing and discussing extensively. Alutta continua! Short live the struggle and long live Ambazonia. God bless Ambazonia! Dr. Beatrice Epwene For strategy, action and media contact 19 NO Mercury ! Spin is NOT in 09/03/2018

To Mercury LLC on The Southern Cameroons Question  

This is an open letter to Mercury LLC/Omnicom, a Public Relations firm, for using its power and position in support of one of the world's mo...

To Mercury LLC on The Southern Cameroons Question  

This is an open letter to Mercury LLC/Omnicom, a Public Relations firm, for using its power and position in support of one of the world's mo...