Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Here we go again...

Here's the cast:
~Marc Rafalomanana, president of Madagascar, self-made millionaire who owns large chunks of the Madagascan economy.
~Andry Rajoelina, mayor of Antananarivo (Madagascar's capital city), opposition leader, former DJ, also owns large chunks of the Madagascan economy.
~Lots of poor Malagasy, who are hungry and frustrated

Here's the summary:
Rajoelina has "successfully tapped in"to widespread Malagasy frustration with the government, and held (initially) peaceful protests in the streets of Antananarivo ("Tana"). Thousands attended these. In response Rafalomanana shut down Rajoelina's radio station. So, the demonstrations turned ugly, attacking and setting fire to government property, including the national TV and radio broadcasting stations, and a mall. The UN report says 89 people died in the riots, which continued until last Wednesday or Thursday (I think). Rajoelina called for Rafalomanana to step down, or else he'd start appointing ministers to his new government. At some point in here, he also declared himself president, and claimed to have the US, France, and the Madagascan military behind him. The US and France denied this, decried Rajoelina's actions, and encouraged a dialogue. The military didn't say one way or the other. Now, Rafalomanana's party (TIM, "I Love Madagascar") has fired Rajoelina, replaced him in what seems to be a legal action in accordance with the constitution. Rajoelina anticipates massive demonstrations in Tana, though, saying that the people won't stand for it, and given that his original protest was that Rafalomanana was a dictator who threatens democracy, he may have a point.

Here's why it impacts my life:
Today, Peace Corps told us that our staging is postponed until--tentatively--March 9. They reminded us that there is precedent for being postponed twice, but that it's unusual to get postponed a third time, and we'd most likely be reassigned in that case. This is mostly fine with me, as it gives me time to get really organized and work on learning Malagasy. However, it is worrying that things aren't calming down yet (but that makes sense, it will probably take around 10 days for stuff to stabilize, and I think after that things will be okay. Peace Corps must think so too, because they're not evacuating current PCVs yet...). Also, it is kind of daunting to be in a town where I have no friends my age for over a month. Thinking vaguely of taking a trip somewhere, but there are so many people I love, and they're all so widely scattered. The trip I just took, to visit everyone, was great, but exhausting. Perhaps I should go visit Carol and Erika in Hawai'i... Thoughts?
Link
PS For those of you who haven't yet noticed or commented on my luck with official-in-some-capacity visits to African countries, try clicking here for an explanation of this post's title.

2 comments:

canyon wren said...

maybe the title should be here we don't go again.

Katherine Crocker said...

My mom's a funny one...