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TEMOIGNAGE TODAY: RED ALERT IN MADAGASCAR

In Economics, French, Human Rights, Politics, Society, Testimonies, Uncategorized on March 4, 2015 at 3:20 am

Sad News in Madagascar. Old and new compounded, Madagascar is literally sinking, getting buried under rising watersCyclone after cyclone, Madagascar and its population struggles to withhold the sad truth: hope is a fading dream. The tides of people’ s desperation and helplessness are not getting lower, as even the driest regions and now the capital region of Analamanga, also known as Antananarivo or Tana, have been hit by high waters. Madagascar needs help. It is evident that the Malagasy Government  was not prepared for this disaster, and much less for any ensuing ones. The following is a most recent story, straight from Madagascar.

Madagascar: Le Ciel est Gris

Analamanga Region - March 3, 2015

Analamanga Region: Clear here – March 3, 2015 ©MarcSteave_DagoNewsReader

 

Madagascar , appelé « l’Ile Rouge », est frappé chaque année par des catastrophes naturelles. Situé dans la zone de l’Océan Indien, il ne peut pas  être épargné par les dépressions tropicales lors des saisons de pluies, parfois transformées en cyclones. Ces dernières années, plusieurs régions de l’île ont vraiment souffert. En 2012 le cyclone Giovanni a ravagé la partie Est; deux semaines après la tempête Irina n’a pas ménagé. En 2013 Haruna a fait plusieurs dégâts, et cette année le cyclone Chedza a fait enregistrer près de 69 décès et 156 178 sinistrés. Plus de 54 000 personnes ont été déplacées suite aux effondrements des maisons et des glissements de terrains. Des éboulements de terrain ont coupé plusieurs routes nationales rendant ainsi difficile sinon impossible les liaisons entre les régions, ce qui rend encore plus difficile les approvisionnements. Pire encore: alors que le riz est l’alimentation principale de la population, des centaines d’hectares de rizières sont complètement détruites. Et alors que le Gouvernement n’a encore  pratiquement pas  trouvé la solution pérenne à ce lourd bilan, le cyclone Fundi a causé plusieurs milliers de sinistrés et d’inondations dans le sud de Madagascar. Comme c’est encore la saison des pluies, les précipitations sont très abondantes ces derniers jours si bien que selon le bulletin hydrologique la plaine d’Antananarivo est en alerte rouge depuis une semaine.

 

Un Bilan Plus que Lourd: Décès, Sinistrés, 4 000 ha de Rizières Anéantis

Un bilan plus que lourd depuis ces vingt dernières années car toutes les plaines d’Analamanga sont aujourd’hui inondées dû aux pluies incessantes depuis près d’une semaine ; quatre digues de protection ont cédé jeudi dernier vers 3h du matin, dont trois de la Sisaony. Toute la commune rurale de Soavina (partie Est de la ville) est totalement inondée avec ses 500 maisons d’habitation. Les responsables de cette commune ont évacué d’urgence les sinistrés avec les moyens du bord, le corps des sapeurs- pompiers est venu prendre le relais plus tard. Les mesures d’urgence sont maintenant prises par le Ministère chargé des Travaux publics pour la réparation de la route et des digues sur cette partie pour empêcher que toute la zone Forello de Tanjombato et même la capitale ne soit  inondée. Il en est de même dans la partie Ouest où deux digues de la rivière d’Imamba ont rompu coupant la route qui relie la Capitale de Sabotsy Namehana. L’eau est montée jusqu’à 1,50m au-dessus de la route. Des voitures ont été emportées par les courants d’eau et les communes environnantes sont actuellement sous l’eau. Les statistiques établis par le Bureau National de la Gestion des Risques et Catastrophes (BNGRC) sont plutôt lourds pour ces quelques jours ; 16 décès, près de 41 581 sinistrés, plus de 20 000 personnes ont été contraints à quitter leurs maisons dans la région d’Analamanga . Dans la région d’Alaotra qui est le silo du riz, 4 000 ha de rizières sont anéantis. Ce bilan n’est que provisoire cependant. Toujours est-il, la vigilance est à l’ordre du jour car les zones à risque sont nombreuses.

Insalubrité Persistante

Un problème majeur est le manque de sites d’hébergement pour les sinistrés. Les tentes s’avèrent insuffisantes. Le manque d’hygiène dans ces sites persiste car plusieurs familles sont hébergées sous une même tente. Beaucoup de familles sont hébergées par de bonnes volontés. Jusqu’à présent, l’on se demande comment le Gouvernement va résoudre ce problème. Certains sinistrés demandent de l’aide, et jusqu’à ce jour se plaignent d’une répartition inégale des aides: manque de vivres et de sites d’hébergement.

Pourquoi les Autorités restent-elles Silencieuses ?

Il semble curieux que malgré les appels à l’aide, dans les médias et autres, le Président de la République n’ait pas daigné descendre immédiatement sur les lieux constater de visu ce qui se passait alors qu’il s’agit d’une urgence. Il est de son devoir de le faire comme tout Président digne de ce titre, ne serait-ce que pour soutenir ces gens moralement. Mais non, le Président Hery Rajaonarimampianina n’est intervenu que plusieurs heures après l‘évacuation des sinistrés et pour déclarer que « C’est le non-respect de la loi qui nous a conduits à cette situation. Des leçons seront prises et l’État va prendre ses responsabilités. » Ah ! Mais quel respect de la loi ? En quoi ces pauvres gens n’ont-ils pas respecté la loi ? Des propos déplacés dans ce genre de situation. Est-ce aux contribuables qu’il revient de prendre des mesures préventives pour éviter ces catastrophes ? Ces gouvernants ignorent peut-être que Madagascar est un pays qui subit des intempéries ? Nous n’en sommes pas au premier cyclone …. Ne parlons pas de l’état de toutes les routes à cause des pluies, quelles solutions ? A qui la faute ? Qui doit prendre les décisions ? Les mesures ? Certains membres du Gouvernement disent que les inondations sont causées par ces constructions illicites sur les bords des digues et canaux. Certes, ces personnes n’ont pas respecté la loi, mais qu’ont fait les responsables de la Commune pour empêcher ces constructions ? Pourquoi n’avoir pas éduqué ces personnes sur les dangers que cela peut occasionner. Pourquoi ne pas offrir l’opportunité de faire des logements sociaux ? De l’argent de l’Etat est bien dépensé autrement que pour des nécessités. Encore une fois, la météo prévoit de fortes pluies pour la semaine à venir. Espérons que les solutions prises par le ministère de la Défense nationale et le BNGRC vont beaucoup aider.

E. Raeliarisoa

E. Raeliarisoa est Consultante Juridique, spécialisée en contentieux en matière civile, commerciale et sociale. Elle accompagne les entreprises en création, diagnostic et gestion de projets, et prête conseil aux particuliers. Elle habite la banlieue de la Région d’Analamanga.

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Extraits de News sur Madagascar – Economie – Vie Sociale- Politique – Environnement

In Culture, Economics, French, Pictures, Politics, Society on September 9, 2014 at 5:26 pm

De toute évidence, la question de l’environnement, préservation des cultures et de la flore et faune est un sujet intarissable mais aussi pointu à Madagascar.

Environmental issues take huge proportions in this biodiversity jewel. Addressed inadequately, they cascade down into social and economic disasters. Madagascar, if at all, is on a very long road to recovery. It will take changing the whole mentality and going back to its own sources. Will that ever happen?

Invasion de crickets à Tana

(France24.com)

Comments on this article by by Jennifer S. Holland and on this other one are more than enough to make Madagascar realize that information is important. Comments can be outrageous.

And as a response yes, people, the common people DO care that there is an invasion with all that it implies. Lack of timeliness, and understanding of the importance of consistency in measures against crickets invasion, consistency being crucial due to the length of the biological cycle of the crickets, is deplorable. Efficacy and efficiency is sacrificed to “political” agendas and economic constraints. That being said, two or three serious issues remain: 1) The population at large is victimized and they DO care and are defenseless; 2) Information is not sufficient as people do not understand that environmental issues have contributed to make crickets unedible – Yes, some people eat crickets in Madagascar just as some people eat dog food in industrialized countries – 3) The economic situation has been critical for too long of a period: people worry about daily survival more than anything else. They lack the energy to think forward.

Trafic de Produits Rares, Semi-précieux et Précieux

Des engagements ont été pris par les autorités publiques, les forces de l’ordre, mais le trafic de bois de rose à Madagascar continue à subsister. Apparemment, il s’agit d’un véritable réseau que ni dirigeants ni forces de l’ordre n’arrivent plus à maitriser devant l’ampleur du  trafic.

Des responsables des forces de l’ordre affirment pourtant que des bateaux assurent le transport des cargaisons vers des destinations qui ne sont pas inconnues : des ports de l’Afrique,  et que la destination finale serait la Chine Continentale .   Nul n’est pourtant sans savoir que ces bois précieux  font  partie des ressources naturelles des aires protégées de la Grande île, mais les autorités semblent impuissantes devant ce trafic. Où en est la réglementation concernant la protection de ces richesses naturelles  à Madagascar ? L’association AVG (Alliance Voahary Gasy) s’est engagée pour éradiquer ce mal  jusqu’à même demander l’application de peines pénales. Encore faut-il que cette association puisse, à travers ses actions, mener à bout ses bonnes intentions.

Il n’est pas exclu de supposer qu’une corruption à grande échelle empêche l’éclaircissement de l’affaire. D’autant plus, le manque de mécanisme de pénalisations  serait un facteur d’échec d’une opération concrète pour une intervention efficace.

La mise en place d’une  juridiction spéciale deviendrait un impératif autrement ces exportations illicites vont continuer. C’est le mal de tous les pays sous développés, car ces exportations ne privilègent que quelques individus. Faut-il  instaurer des moyens plus légaux pour la vente de ce genre de produits ? ou aussi créer une industrie ? ou encore, ériger une loi internationale ? L’implication plus soutenue de la Convention sur le commerce international des espèces de faune et de flore sauvages menacées d’extinction (CITES) serait souhaitée.

Eliane Raeliarisoa, Consultante Juridique

Related to this article: Transformer le bois de rose localement

Panic and Ebola: Potential Threat in Madagascar with Frontiers Remaining Open

It could not fail: the latest worldwide concern is emerging in Madagascar: Ebola virus! The situation could become crucial if points of entries are not strictly observed. Apparently the Ministry of Health has taken some measures at Ivato, the international airport, following a suspicion of Ebola case from a citizen who left Liberia. The subject has tested negative, according to offical sources following tests at the Pasteur Institute.

Panic at Tamatave where a boat from Liberia, among other stopping points, had coasted, despite refusal from authorities. With frontiers remaining open in the absence of restrictive recommendations from the Indian Ocean Commission,  will the US$300,000 budget will be enough to prevent any potentially devastating contamination in this extremely vulnerable country?

Qui Sera Le Prochain President Elu? Part II

In Economics, Elections, French, Human Rights, Politics, Society, Uncategorized on January 14, 2014 at 2:53 am

Et Maintenant, Que Madagascar Va-t-elle Faire?

matvonline
 

Les élections sont terminées, les résultats proclamés et remis en question. Que reste-t-il à faire, quels que soient les résultats des complaintes? Il semblerait que Madagascar soit de nouveau dans l’incertitude, et la lassitude de l’insécurité sociale et politique. La logique serait de respecter le processus électoral, démocratique. Mais y-a-t-il encore une logique dans ce pays qui souffre une misère rampante et révoltante? Une chose est certaine: la population veut vivre normalement, décemment. Est-ce tant à demander?

Malheureusement la solution n’était pas dans l’abstention…Ce n’est pas toujours le meilleur choix de laisser les autres gagner par “ne rien dire”. Une voix, un vote fait la différence entre la vie et la mort…Madagascar ne l’a pas encore appris. Le processus démocratique, c’est un long chemin cahoteux

En Prélude au Prochain Post…A Sharp Analysis

The Huffington Post has just published a sharp analysis of the situation in Madagascar. This is the best and most impartial article that I have read for the longest time on the subject…

 

Big Debate in Madagascar: Who Will be The Next Elected President? – Part I –

In Elections, French, Politics, Society, Uncategorized on January 14, 2014 at 2:40 am

Madagascar’s Fate Still Questionable

BBC Radyo – Published on Jan 3, 2014
 

Finally, after so many tribulations, and last minute controversies Madagascar is facing presidential elections. Better yet, Madagascar is at the presidential debate stage. My Memory may be faulty but I do not recall many presidential debates in Madagascar. There were a lot of “propagandas” through all imaginable media, but debates? No. At least, not real debates. Candidates made their big selling speeches, and Ratsiraka used to make mind-blowing presentations. Madagascar would talk about it for weeks, months in a row, and years afterwards…

So, no matter the content and outcome, it is refreshing to see that voters get to see candidates interact in a public forum on subjects of the country’s interest. The first round of debates for this election was among five candidates on five different platforms (?) in mid October. Five candidates debating over 33 for three hours was a prelude to this Island Nation’s way out of overwhelming misery.

viva mada-Published on Sep 24, 2013
 

Now, three debates after and down to two final candidates, Madagascar is still to hear about what could make one of them the winner. Local press is amazing: at least apparently in search for impartiality, most lack content and analysis. Others strongly reflect their patronage or impartiality. What is the press to do? Lack of information is another form of plague in Madagascar.

There are lots of controversy about the leading candidate. He is a French citizen, and socialist. He would have served the French Socialist party “during his youth”! Ah! Similar to “Obama is not American” maybe. He is sponsored or supported by Ravalomanana who has always been overtly anti-French, and pro-American. That would be the tricky part, according to observers. Robinson claims that he is a man of his own. That is always true of any politician until conflicting allegiances become very pressing. Interesting enough at the second presidential debate, he pushed for a “shared” (with France) overseeing of Madagascar Islands. Ratsiraka was quite protective on the subject. Evidently, France seems to be wanting to secure a stronghold in the Indian Ocean area.

According to RFI, the latest debate addressed social and economic issues: gas and subsidies, green approach, ag. education. The presidential election is set for December 20th, along with the legislatives.

At the latest news and interesting enough, and maybe reassuring to all, the European Union (EU) is sending 130 observers, according to CRI. They are to ensure a lawful process and  present a preliminary report 48h after the elections. Observers from the EU include long-term as well as court-terms ones. As for the International Organization of Francophonie (OIF), it has sent 30 electoral experts to be disseminated in 12 regions, reports the Malaysian National News Agency Bernama.

Today, as an update, elections are over, both Presidential and Legislatives. And both – unofficial – results predict that Rajoelina’s camp has won. There are lots of controversies, as usual.

In Madagascar, in the law of “Dadaism” ( this has nothing to do with Ravalomanana) nothing is created, nothing is lost, all is circumvented by the rules of “shape shifters”.

Pleure, Madagascar, Pleure….(part I)

In Culture, Economics, Elections, French, From Observateur, Human Rights, L'Observateur Viewpoint- Other Sources, Society, Terror on September 9, 2013 at 7:15 pm

Qu’ y a-t-il encore à dire sur la misère physique, morale, intellectuelle et politique de Madagascar et des Malgaches?

La semaine dernière Nasolo-Valiavo Andriamihaja a tout dit dans la fameuse  Chronique de Vanf de l’Express de Madagascar. Une longue tirade pleine de désolation et d’amertume auxquelles les Malgaches ont fini par s’ habituer, au fil des années, surtout ces longues, interminables dernières années.  Tant qu’il y a vie il y a espoir dit-on, mais Madagascar vit-elle encore? Non, elle survie, flotte tant bien que mal sur les vagues houleuses de la “politique” souvent taxée – à juste titre – de “politicienne”.

Penser? Qui peut encore penser avec une tête claire dans la situation actuelle? Un défi à prendre? Qui oserait même y penser? La “vie”  est “trop dure”… Qui lit encore les journaux? Qui écoute encore la radio?…ce ne sont que des fonds sonores pour l’homme de la rue, ni plus ni moins. Au fond, comment peut-on se soucier de ce qui se passe dans son pays quand on se soucie nuit et jour de sa propre survie physique?

Malgache, Qui es-tu? Malgache, Vis-tu?

Apparemment, les sanctions de l’Union Africaine sont levées. Elles étaient en place depuis Mars 2010, pour sanctionner “le Président” Rajoelina. Un “président” qui a “pris le pouvoir” par la force, et qui y reste par la force, ou par la force des choses! Les sanctions étaient à l’encontre de 109 individus, membres du Régime politique de transition, plus couramment appelée “Transition”. Ironiquement c’est la totalité de la population qui a pâti…bien plus que les 109 individus qui sont payés par l’Etat – ou plus concrètement par les pauvres contribuables Malgaches – !! Avec la perte du Millenium challenge gagné sous Ravalomanana, Madagascar a vu l’éducation passer d’un budget de 82 million de dollars (US) a 14 million de dollars (US). Grâce à l’Unicef, les enseignants ont pu être payés. Triste constatation, les Malgaches ne savent plus parler ni Malgache, ni Français, ni Anglais…A vrai dire, peut-être doit-on se demander si le Malgache est encore Malgache!!…ou plutôt, le Malgache a-t-il encore sa propre identité ?…Heureusement que l’Académie Malgache existe en dépit de la misère rampante a tous niveaux!…

By trainkeeper

Quant à la santé? Si aux USA le grand débat est sur l’imposition d’un système d’assurance médicale pour tous, à Madagascar, nul n’ose même plus penser assistance médicale avec la clôture de 214 centres médicaux en 2011. Des bénévoles, après une formation d’une semaine, assurent le minimum dans des centres non urbains. Mieux que rien, bien sur….

Original Independence Day back to be Official Holiday. Ramadan added for Muslims

In Culture, Economics, Elections, French, Politics, Society on January 29, 2013 at 7:50 pm

ma-lgflag

Back to basics: Madagascar is putting October 14th, the country’s original Independence day,  on its 2013 official holidays calendar. By the same token the beginning and the end of the Ramadan are also declared paid holidays for Muslims, according to L’Express de Madagascar. Madagascar has a sizable (estimated at 7%) Muslim population mostly in the North and the SouthEast. This will more than likely appeal to Muslim voters, at the eve of the presidential election which is planned for May 8th of this year. At least one Muslim radio station broadcasts throughout the country and the number of Mosques jumped from 10 to 50 over the last ten years. Have in mind that this is a country that has seven provinces. The official support to Islam began in 1982 under the Ratsiraka regime.

Both Ravalomanana and Rajoelina had to comply with the international pressure of refraining from presidential elections this year. As expected, there are no emerging new figures. Worse; there are strong speculations that both men will endorse a “proxy” of their own choosing . Evidently, this has given Rajoelina the opportunity to prepare himself for the future. In fact he compares himself to Charles de Gaulle, as the “Malagasy equivalent of de Gaulle”.  Only 38 today, he has already announced his candidacy for the 2018 elections.

Happy Note on the Salegy and the writer of Tin Pan Alley Malagasy Music – Conservation International

In Culture, Freedom, French, Immigration/Emigration, Pictures, Society on December 31, 2012 at 12:32 am

And to close the year on a happy note, did you know that  Andriamanantena Paul Razafinkarefo, a  Malagasy royalty, better known as Andy Razafy was recognized by many as the ” the most influential black songwriter and lyricist of the 20th century.” He was admitted in the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1972, year of the Malagasy “Revolution”. He wrote “hundreds of memorable songs including “Ain’t Misbehavin” and “Honeysuckle Rose.” …. Andy Razafy’s songs would be performed over the years by such musical greats as Bennie Goodman, Louis Armstrong, and Ella Fitzgerald”.

Malagasy Music – Conservation International.

And of course, Madagascar closes and starts the New Year with the Salegy that highlights the diversity of the Island Nation

and the famous and unavoidable traditional Afindrafindrao, 

…which is for the 7 to 77 years old!

Malagasy Diaspora: A Few References

In Economics, French, Immigration/Emigration, Society on October 6, 2012 at 6:13 pm

Les immigrés d’Afrique subsaharienne en Europe : une nouvelle diaspora ?

  • The Migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa in Europe: A New Diaspora?
  • ¿Los migrantes de África subsahariana en Europa: una nueva diáspora?
A pertinent analysis by Dr. Jacques Barou, French ethnologist and Researcher, on the “social experience and identity” of  African migrants in France and United Kingdom, in relevance to “transnationalism and diaspora,” based on a 2008-2010 research.

vol. 28 – n°1 | 2012
Migrations, transnationalisme et diaspora : théorie et études de cas

http://www.mylinea.com/masombahiny/diaspora_malagasy/

A synopsis of Malagasy communities in the US, written by Rakotomalala, editor of the Francophone region for Global Voices:”The Malagasy community in North-America is (different) from the Malagasy community based in Europe,” being less “elitist” and “more easy going”.

This article does a quick analysis of the Malagasy population abroad, which is mostly in France and DOM-TOM region, particularly La Reunion Island, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Italy,Norway, and more recently in Canada and the USA, as well as on the African continent, main Africa. Of interest to the foreign reader, Madagascar, although often described as part of African Continent in terms of geopolitics, is more specifically one country of  the Indian Ocean Region. This identification applies not only to  trade and economics terms but also to origins and ancestry notions.  Often emigrated for political reasons, the Malagasy diaspora  is a community that is perfectly attuned to European values, says the article.

“Cette diaspora a son identité… Cette diaspora agit pour son pays… à travers son tissu associatif qui intervient en social, en humanitaire ou en développement… A travers ses attaches familiales… à travers ses investissements.”

“This diaspora has its own identity..It works for its country…thru social and humanitarian associations which tackle development issues…thru family links…via  investments.”

Madagascar as of Today: Never Boring, Always Enduring

In Economics, French, Human Rights, Society, Terror on May 3, 2012 at 12:25 am

Madagascar had a rocky start for the New Year . It would probably be more accurate to state that the New Year has seen a display of multiple conflicts in various areas, from economy to politics, through daily societal life. Never boring, always enduring. We are in May 2012 and the situation has not improved.

OLD NEWS in ACTUAL TIME: RAVALOMANANA IS A THREAT TO RAJOELINA

Ravalomanana whether present or absent from Antananarivo continues to be a serious threat to Rajoelina and his close associates. How else could be explained the facts that Ravalomamana has been refused twice or thrice re-entry to Madagascar? Similar situation happened to his wife who attempted to return by herself. And his son has been victim of an illegal search if not a police raid at his home.

April 28-May 2nd 2012: On a more recent tone, the Ravalomanana team led by sociologist and long-time political activist Manandafy Rakotonirina,  has made a public demonstration against the parliament, marking its on-going protest against the legitimacy of the current regime. The Rajoelina regime  had decided to counteract by dispersing the crowd, using tear gas. High profile members of the transitional parliament, including the head of the body, Mamy Rakotoarivelo, who had joined the rally were  not spared by military forces.  The Ravalomanana team had distanced itself from the “transitional” administration since the Rajoelina regime’s  attempts to eliminate Ravalomanana from presidential elections. Today, it clearly declares its separation from the transitional administration as long as mutually-agreed upon SADC requirements are not met and recommendations taken into account. There is a clear dissension between Rajoelina allies and the SADC. This latest is accused of interfering in “tactical and operational” functions  of the Malagasy security forces according to a declaration made by the leader of the gendarmerie, Madagascar internal security forces, General Ravalomanana.  Following the  rally, the former twice elected-president, Marc Ravalomanana himself had addressed via phone to his followers, according to La Gazette de la Grande Ile. According to La Vérité, some members of the military had joined the rally, signaling that the movement may grow bigger than expected by the HAT. Both opposing parties announced that there were some arrests, according to Midi Madagascar.

Worthy of noting is the most recent request of investigation filed  in South Africa against president Marc Ravalomanana for alleged crime against humanity in 2009, and published by Madagate, a news portal of the HAT.

Pr. RAYMOND RANJEVA, A FORMER VP OF THE INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE, IN TRIAL IN MALAGASY CRIMINAL COURT

March 19, 2012: Judge Raymond Ranjeva, well-known in the legal world for his heavy curriculum vitae, formerly member of the Hague International Court of Justice (ICJ)  from 1991 to 2009, Vice-President of the ICJ  from 2003 to 2006, and Founding Member of the Malagasy Human Rights Committee  in 1971, did appear in Madagascar Criminal Court of Justice. Judge Ranjeva was allegedly accused of being involved in the 2010 army mutiny against Rajoelina. His trial, along with his daughter’s, Ranjeva-Ratsisalovanina, who was accused of the same crime,  has been a major event in Madagascar, and closely followed by international observers, including the United States and the United Nations. The Court acquitted Pr. Ranjeva on March 21. Military officers accused of the mutiny or BANI case were condemned from seven years to life of forced labor.  A letter from the SADC was read during the trial, calling for a suspension of the trial “until some of the roadmap’s articles are made clear.” The Court seemed to not have taken the letter into account. Evidently, Raymond Ranjeva being an international Human Rights figure made a difference. In Madagascar linkages between justice and executive power are stronger than ever, evidenced by a series of trials.

HAUSSE DES PRIX A LA CONSOMMATION: de + 0,8% à + 3,3%

L’indice des Prix à la consommation (IPC) a enregistré une hausse substantielle durant le premier trimestre 2012 selon le l’Institut National de la Statistique (Instat) de Madagascar, et selon le tableau suivant:

– Antsirabe: + 1% (Plateaux Sud/South of the Capital)
– Toamasina: +3,3% (Côte Est/ East Coast)
– Fianarantsoa: + 2,7% (Centre Sud/Mid-South)
– Antananarivo: +2,1% (Centre Plateaux/Capital Region)
– Majunga (1,8%) (Nord Ouest/North West)
– Tuléar+1,6% (Sud/South)
– Diégo Suarez: + 0,7% (Nord/North)

De même, le SMIG a été rehaussé a “100 011 Ariary brut” dans le secteur privé. Selon La Gazette cette hausse ne couvre pas la hausse des prix à la consommation.

Unsung Heroes of Madagascar: sacrificing freedom, safety and the country’s sovereignty?

In Economics, French, Human Rights, Pictures, Politics, Society, Testimonies on December 14, 2011 at 8:35 am

Many Malagasy people remember seeing Ratsiraka in front of a blackboard, making one of his memorable speeches, and demonstrating on the board how much rice Malagasies consume. That memorable evening, Malagasies learned, among other facts, that they were the biggest consumers of rice per capita in the world. According to the FAO, brown rice consumption was 140kg per capita, in 2000 . Amazing! Ten years later, local consumption had decreased by over 6%.

One has to be careful in one’s interpretation: Malagasy people do not eat less rice. Malagasies get to eat less. Indeed, according to IRIN ,  rice is no more readily affordable. Sadly enough this staple food has become a luxury in Madagascar.

Within the past two years, the price of rice has more than doubled reaching US$1 the kilogram. That is about the same amount that the US consumer who makes a minimum wage of $7.25 has to  pay for basic rice at Walmart. In Madagascar, the guaranteed minimum wage or salaire minimum interprofessionnel garanti  (SMIG) is is about 28 euros today, that is roughly US$ 37, which would translate into less than a quarter for an hour work (US$0.25), based on a 40h workweek. “Food accounts to 75% of a household’s budget“, according to  a monetization specialist for a US-based food company in Madagascar.

In January, Rajoelina had announced a 10% increase in salary for the public sector, reaching a 25% increase for those who make the SMIG. As for the private sector, a staggered 17% increase was agreed. Certainly an improvement but not enough to remedy the real problem: major loss of jobs, destroyed economy, changed mentality.

Madagascar has been living in a sociopolitical crisis for over two years now, leaving a crippled economy. From a growing and inventive economy under the UN Millenium project  it has become one of the poorest in the world.

Under his “Madagascar Naturellement” (Madagascar Naturally) program Ravalomanana had lined up an integrated guideline for World Bank, UNDP, EU and other bi-lateral aid and cooperation efforts. Today, the Millenium roadmap is forgotten in history. The textile industry had to shut down. The US market alone  provided about US$278 million of the textile revenue in 2008 . The Tiko Group, one of the most solid firms in Madagascar, has been destroyed, solely because it was Ravalomanana’s business. It was relevant in various sectors such agro-industry, construction and media and provided for thousands of jobs. The Tiko group  by itself provided 5,000 jobs and supported thousands more in other sectors.

Under Ratsiraka’s regime and his promise for a socialist revolution, the economy was relying on a vast government: government and army jobs, and  nationalization of the economy starting in the mid-70s when Ratsiraka came to power. Madagascar defense budget was reaching US$101 million in 1979, only four years into Ratsiraka’s leadership. Economic revolution was outlined in the Red Book. Today’s generation may not remember  the lines for basic needs such as rice, oil and meat or the massive government workers’ strike that started Ratsiraka’s downfall.

But Madagascar is forgiving. It would be more correct to say that Malagasy people sometimes have a short memory of repeated events that have periodically occurred throughout  its independence. So whether positive or negative, historical facts fade easily in Malagasy memories. May 1972 costed innocent lives, and over time it has been downplayed and forgotten. The aura and promises of the Millenium program as well as the fear lived under soviet-, Korean- and Kadafi-inspired Ratsiraka’s dictature alike have faded in conscious memories, aided by the political cultivation of traditional forgiveness through the notion of “fihavanana”(1).

Indeed, by essence, Madagascar is culturally peaceful. However, one has to understand the evolved Malagasy philosophy or culture that is such a mix of different ones, and that is tainted by Madagascar’s sociopolitical experiences. For example, the French saying “ventre affamé n’a pas d’oreilles” (literally a hungry stomach has no ears)  is widely used in Madagascar. If you are hungry, you loose all capacity of analysis and objectivity. By natural instinct, you will need to satisfy an immediate need, particularly if the need has been lasting for over two years. Should anybody offer you a solution or what appears to you as a solution to save your family, you will be more likely willing to grab that proposed solution. “More  likely” than not because in Malagasy there is a also a saying  that you could hear on a daily basis: “It is best to die tomorrow rather than today.”

So today, Ravalomanana shortcomings are kept very much alive in memory. The focus is kept on Ravalomanana business practices and the fact that the military opened fire on the crowd who crossed the presidential red line and killed twenty eight protesters in February of 2009. Much controversy remains about that crossing line event that was viewed by some observers as a  Rajoelina scheme to take over power.

Today also, Ratsiraka is welcomed with open arms and it has been, consciously or conveniently, forgotten that under Ratsiraka’s astounding videorecorded order  the Presidential Guard opened fire on 400,000 peaceful protesters. It has been equally forgotten that Ratsiraka’s lawyer had admitted that the court ruling of 10 years of hard labor against him for embezzlement of US$ 8 millions of public funds  ” seems (ed) fair enough.” Ratsiraka for his part never admitted any wrongdoing, to this day.

Forgotten in history are the students who fell under the military gunshots in 1972 when Tsiranana made the terrible political, broadcast mistake of ordering the killing of “10, 100, 1000” student-led protesters. Forgotten in memories are those unsung heroes who struggled and lost their sense of being during food shortages under the Ratsiraka Socialist experiment. Erased in history are those who lost their lives.  Lost in time are those who have perished in one way or another whether under pursuits and gunshots or through moral decadence for survival, since Rajoelina has been in power. To those  little, unsung heroes of Madagascar, to those who can barely afford rice amid the political,  unchanged allegiances one has to strive for objectivity. While Ratsiraka flew back to France, Rajoelina is back from France with a cooperation agreement of 10 millions of euros and Sarkozy’s promises of lobbying to the European Union and the US government for sanction relief. The same day at  its December 8th meeting in Addis Abeba, the Peace and Security Council announced its intention to lift Madagascar sanctions  based on progress made toward the roadmap to lawful State. According to local medias, the USA will advance US$8 millions and the European Union 100millions of euros to alleviate the situation.  The people of Madagascar need to be able to afford their daily rice, and while bending seems necessary to all involved parties at all levels of this peace seeking solution, one hopes that it would not  be at the high price of the Malagasy people’s freedom, prized culture  and safety.

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