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Big Deal in Madagascar: New Rules on Communication Turn Back the Clock – Mad ComExit!

In Culture, Economics, Freedom, Human Rights, Politics, Society, Uncategorized on July 11, 2016 at 9:05 am

Brexit in Europe – ComExit in Madagascar: The very controversial and highly contested revised rules on Communication have  voted by the National Assembly on July 7th, under overwhelming (?) majority: 80 for, one (o1) against!!! It is now passed unto the Senate for adoption.  What a vote! Mad ComExit?!

The now past project on the revision of the Code de la Communication – New Rules on Communication –  has been causing big waves in Madagascar. In sum, the new law would be anti-Constitutional, infringing articles 11 & 12 pertaining to Freedom of Communication and Information.

This is a Big Deal says Jeannot Ramambazafy, a long-time journalist in Madagascar: “We are back to Tsiranana’s time…People of Madagascar, understand that this is not only about journalists, it’s about the 23 million people of Madagascar. This is about enforcing what is applied under the UN…The US had 44 Presidents and haven’t changed that rule…Under that change, it means that you, people of the Coast, and who are not in the Capital (meaning by that – who have less access to Foreign media- ) will not be able to listen to anything but two news stations.. Under Ratsiraka regime, Latimer Rangers could not report on realities for eleven years…This means we are back to that…” .

Nothing worked: all efforts made by journalists to “correct” unacceptable changes on freedom of communication have been falling on deaf ears. Unfortunately, this is not unusual.

Ah! Why would/did the national Assembly vote for such a thing? Would it be because the now new law will sanction any “diffamation” against a public authority by fines of up to 28 500 euros and five years of jail time? 

The truth is that many people of the street do not quite understand the meaning of freedom of Communication. Or just like some Brits didn’t quite grasp the meaning of the E.U , some Malagasies can’t define Communication (street survey here)

Maybe this is like Brexit – In Madagascar, ComExit will have huge consequences, such as the current calling for the resignation of the President of the country, Hery Rajaonarimampianina. Recently, there were also complaints about the “unreasonable decisions” (caprices) of the First Lady, as well as about rising crimes, permanent instability, and safety concerns.  Unfortunately the consequences of this ruling on Communication are not unforeseen by many. A real Mad ComExit….

Update: 07/11/16 – It appears that revision of the Code of Communication could be underway following the noise made around the issue.

Hé oui, c’est fou! Et l’on fait marche arrière…depuis des années maintenant.

Comme on dit, un pas en avant et deux pas en arrière: c’est le rythme de l’avancement a Madagascar ou les crimes sont à la hausse, comme le coût de la vie, et ou l’instabilité est devenue permanente, insécurité constante.

Les évenements les plus récents remontent du 26 Juin: “acte de terrorisme” selon le Président de a République en condamnant les explosions à Mahamasina. Caprices et actes de déstabilisation disent d’autres en parlant du voyage de fin d’année de la Première Dame qui a perturbé l’économie d’Air Madagascar. Indécence notent certains en décrivant la robe de la femme du Président lors du 26 Juin, évaluée a plus de US$ 7,000. 

Stop! “Inconstitutionnel!” crient les journalistes à propos de la loi sur le Code de la Communication. Communication? Pas trop sur de ce que cela signifie dit l’homme de la rue. Bien sur, renchérit-il, il faut punir les infamies, les fausses rumeurs sur Facebook…

Ceci est fou! Les Brits on fait le Brexit sans penser aux conséquences globales. Madagascar a voté 80 contre un (01) pour un Code la Communication qui rebrousse chemin…Mad ComExit!

(Prenez le temps de cliquer sur les références plus haut, sur la version Anglaise)

 

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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.

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…

 

Pleure, Madagascar, Pleure….(Part II)

In Culture, Economics, Human Rights, Politics, Society, Terror on September 9, 2013 at 9:04 pm

Un Brin d’ Espoir

Au moins, il y a un petit brin d’espoir puisque les élections devraient être sur les rails, maintenant que trois majeurs protagonistes sont officiellement éliminés de la liste des candidats viables. Reste à savoir que faire des 31 autres candidats! Cela frise le burlesque. Pauvre citoyen: où donner de la tête? D’autant plus qu’à Madagascar, une élection présidentielle ne se fait pas sans équivoque.

source: matvonline

Aux dernières nouvelles le Président Ravalomanana a déclaré de son exil en Afrique le boycott des élections. De nouveau, Madagascar doit-elle épouser les pratiques d’autrui au détriment de son identité en voie de disparition? A quand la maturité politique qui ferait finalement de Madagascar un réel, crédible interlocuteur sur le plan international? En attendant, le local terrorisme grimpe – non que cela ait jamais été absent ces dernières années – mais cette fois-ci s’adressant aux nations étrangères pour excessive ingérence aux élections par un groupe jusqu’ici inconnu qui se déclare être “Défenseurs de la souveraineté nationale”.

Alors, comme d’habitude, l’on attend le déroulement des choses et l’on espère, faute de mieux…En tant qu’individu, à des niveaux personnels, que peut-on faire pour améliorer la situation, à quelque niveau – domaine – que ce soit?…L’information est critique pour qui veut écouter…

Final Presidental Candidates Down to Thirty One!

In this country sadly plagued by unruliness, voters have to make their choice among the 31 remaining candidates. What a chore! The people of Madagascar deserve better than a political mascarade and manipulation. One needs to have access to better, if not just plain decent, living conditions to learn or re-learn some thinking process that will finally and hopefully elevate the country to become a credible partner in the international arena. It is a long way to go…each and everyone, at any level, has a role to make it happen. Madagascar is sobbing….

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….

MADAGASCAR: Funding gap threatens school lunches – Topix

In Economics, Human Rights, Politics, Society, Timeline on December 31, 2012 at 2:34 pm

One of Ravalomanana best innovations in  Madagascar is about to disappear: school lunches and back to school program for children in need. It is amazing how politicians never seek the best interest of their constituencies. The South is in dire need, as usual.  The South of Madagascar is the driest region of the Island Nation. In dry season – which lasts most of the year – some areas, such as Amboasary Sud, would run out of water, killing crops and cows.

School Morombe

 

A school canteen in Motombe, south-west, Madagascar, where 560 children have their lunch every day. The programme has been supported by WFP since 2001. (Photo: WFP)

Cantine Amboasary sudSchool Canteen of Centre R in Amboasary Sud, South of Madagascar (photo EdM)

Funding for the program for the South was provided by the World Food Program (WFP) or Programme Alimentaire Mondial (PAM).

MADAGASCAR: Funding gap threatens school lunches – Topix.

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.

Didier Ratsiraka: Lobbying and Fundraising for his Comeback

In French, Human Rights, Politics, Society on November 8, 2011 at 11:56 pm

Surprise? No surprise? According to Madagascar Tribune Didier Ratsiraka is lobbying immigrants in Madagascar for a 75-year birthday present of one million dollars that would be used for him to attend a crisis resolution summit in the capital of Madagascar. Didier Ratsiraka is equal to himself: so predictable  yet unpredictable, bold and daring, resourceful, charismatic, and definitely never lacking assurance. Ratsiraka’s personal calls were placed from France where he lives, as he addressed to the Indian and French descent communities of both his hometown of Tamatave  (Toamasina) and  the capital city Tana (Antananarivo). If this fails, Ratsiraka would ask the international community to support his cause before November 17, which would be the projected date of the summit, says the same source. And as a last resort, he would invest two millions dollars out of his own pocket to fund the summit in Antananarivo, according to l ‘ Express de Madagascar. Midi Madagascar notes that Ratsiraka was citing the example of Obama’s  campaign source: small donors and partisans.

Ratsiraka is famous in Madagascar for exhibiting  his mixture of arrogance, superbness, and charisma that kept him in power for over two decades. So, it does not come as a surprise that the man who had proudly displayed similar characteristics to Gadaffi’s and Saddam Hussein’s fame and strengths is now taking inspiration from the American presidential star candidate of four years ago. Ratsiraka has always being a fine strategist: he knows how to reach out to his audience, to make an entry, or to prove a point. After all, he is the Red Admiral.

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