Madagascar’s leaders called for solidarity to stop cyclical political crisis in the country during the celebration of the 71th anniversary of Madagascar’s uprising against France on Thursday.
Various remembrance activities, including worship, wreath-laying ceremony, carnivals, exhibition and banquets were held throughout the country to remember tens of thousands of victims in the fight against French colonizers.
In the town of Moramanga, 110 km northeast of Madagascar’s capital Antananarivo, Madagascar’s president Hery Rajaonarimampianina held a wreath-laying ceremony, where hundreds of nationalists were buried in a cemetery of martyrs.
“Fight led by these nationalists showed us that solidarity is useful to save the country,” Madagascar’ president said in Moramanga.
“We had our independence 13 years after the uprising by nationalists. However, 58 years after our independence, Madagascar is still colonized in various manners. Natural wealth of Madagascar are still exploited illicitly. Corruption still reigns and makes [our] population the poorest in the world. Technology especially social networks are still used to divide our community,” the president said.
Rajaonarimampianina added that Madagascar’s economy is going down amid cyclical political crisis as the nation is to elect a new president this year.
Defense Minister Beni Xavier Rasolofonirina was direct when he pronounced his speech targeting politicians by saying: “To respect and honor those who died for our independence, I call all politicians to stop provocation verbally or through media.”
“Politicians, if you really love your nation and if you really respect democracy, educate all Malagasy citizens to face the elections, which is the only way of power change accepted by all countries worldwide,” the defense minister said.
Both the defense minister and the president said that politicians should not wait for other countries or foreigners to develop Madagascar. Only solidarity of Malagasy citizens can develop the country, they said.
On March 29, 1947, the uprising against France broke out throughout Madagascar, with the most violent incident in Moramanga.
A survivor named Rakoto Daniel, 95, told Xinhua that the uprising against French colonizers followed protests against the drudgery imposed by France on Madagascar, the payment of tax by Malagasy people to French people in their homeland Madagascar, and the manner in which French colonizers treated the Malagasy people.
Repression led to many excesses and war crimes such as torture and burnt villages. Statistics released by France, shortly after the event, said pacification by France in Madagascar resulted in 89,000 Malagasy victims in 20 months.
Madagascar was colonized by France from 1896 to 1960 and achieved its independence on June 26, 1960.