The road to complacency?

Is it just me? Or does it seem as though what was once a flood of information has now been reduced to just a trickle? I remember being inundated with articles, videos, pictures and links on everything that was happening in Madagascar from the start of the crisis all the way up to the HAT’s coup d’etat. Ever since the HAT has succeeded, it seems as though all the foreign press has gone home and there is no longer anyone on the ground covering the events occurring in Madagascar. Everyday I go through news links and twitter to try and find out what events I might have missed while going about my daily routine, and I have been noticing, especially the past week that there is virtually nothing out there.

The worst part of this perhaps is the slowdown in information on twitter in recent days. What was once a steady stream of news articles and eye witness reports is now a mere puddle with only little tidbits of information eeking out here and there. Here are some tweets regarding the press and coverage before twitter dried up (possibly predicting the future lack of information):

  • Streetrover: What happened to the foreign press like france24 in Madagascar? Sounds like they all left after TGV’s coup .. I hope I’m wrong….
  • LRakoto: Google trends also shows that news about Madagascar is right now at an all-time low since crisis started

The thing that bothers me about the silence on twitter is that a lot of the people that tweet are in Madagascar where everything is happening. Normally you might see tweets about legalist rallies starting or news of what someone might have seen that day, but the last week or so it has been quiet. I certainly don’t think people are bored of what is happening and don’t wish to tweet out information to the rest of us. I think, and maybe I am going out on a limb here, that the environment in Madagascar is so bad that people can no longer tweet for fear of its reprocussions. After all, well before they started arresting journalists and threatening people the army was confiscating the photos and cameras as well as detaining anyone trying to take pictures of any confrontation between the army and the legalists, especially when they were using live ammo. The HAT and the army seem to be getting way more aggressive on anyone that has anything to do with the legalist movement or anyone that is “anti-HAT” and in recent days they have done the following (src TopMada/Sobika):

  • According to several journalists, the elements of security and defense of the HAT government headed by Alain Ramaroson established a list containing the names of journalists to “stop”. All those who cover the legalist movement or openly criticize the government could be threatened with arrest at any time.
  • The soldiers raided house of Mr. Constant Raveloson Ilanivato on Thursday at 4pm. They had not found the legalist leader, but they arrested a 20yr old girl  and a 16yr old boy and took them to Ambohibao.
  • Elements of Capsat have landed Wednesday afternoon at Interauto, car dealership located in Ambohibao (FIAT, IVECO), to search the premises. The family that owns it shares the name Raveloson, the same as the legalist leader. The family in question admits having no relationship to the leader other than to have the same surname. The mandate covered the ground of “undermining state security” and covers all workplaces and homes of every member of the  Raveloson family. According to her, a Hummer vehicle was seized in the presence of Alain Ramaroson. The family is completely shocked and had already alerted the local press and diplomats about the abuse.
  • The CNME Commanders led by Charles and Lilison arrested Dr Rabemanantena Jaurès yesterday. He is a doctor and a school principal, and is suspected of being the “mastermind” of the of anti-HAT movement in the capital.
  • The CNME led by Commander Charles raided a school suspected of being anti-HAT in 67ha on Tuesday. It accuses the school of being financed by the legalistics.

It is almost as if you utter a word against the HAT, or maybe not even against the HAT but just for the legalist movement that you are in danger of being arrested and thrown into jail. So it is this, I think, that is causing everything to slow down because it really isn’t safe for anyone to report from Madagascar without losing their freedom. This is absolutely appalling and is clearly a violation on various freedoms, it is so blatant that I am curious to know why the response to the coup has not graduated from just “sending envoys to assess the situation”.

That’s all you ever hear nowadays right? I don’t know how many people they have to send to Madagascar to pretend to “assess” the situation or to tell the government to play nice with the people and hold elections. But clearly, if I am 20 – 23 hours by flight away from the country and can assess that serious violations are being made just from AFP articles and Twitter information, what takes them so long to to assess things? They have had since March 20th to assess things and we are still hearing only that governments don’t recognize the HAT and that they are freezing aid, but nothing on what they intend to do to help change the situation. Previously I thought that sanctions and restrictions would have eventually squeezed the life out of the government so it would have no choice but to fall, but I am wondering if that is even a concern now with the Saudis inking a $2 billion dollar with the HAT. I am seriously worried that all the sanctions and non-recognition and sanctions won’t mean a thing so long as the HAT is seeing money from somewhere. And worse, what kind of desperate deal did they sign? The HAT certainly could not have the upper hand in this deal, they probably reeked of desperation and gave up much more in the deal than we know.

I hate to say this, but it almost feels as though the HAT is succeeding to some degree in controlling the information that comes out through the use of it’s threats. Information is just trickling out of the country now and I am afraid that if any more information is lost then I or anyone else outside of Madagascar will not know what is going on at all. And if that ever happens, you know that the HAT will be more than happy to provide it’s own positive outlook for Madagascar to make everything seem just peachy. This is when we begin down the road to complacency; once information coming out of Madagascar is filtered by the government to appear to be good news, you know that the international community will lose interest in Madagascar and the Malagasy people will be stuck with a government that sets its own rules. Then the HAT’s master plan succeeds:

  1. Lie to the people, promise anything to obtain power.
  2. Systematically replace anyone in a position of authority (mayors, police, army etc) or anyone who was pro-TIM.
  3. Oppress and threaten people so they fear speaking out against the government.
  4. Hold elections (this way people may vote because of fear, if not, just rig the election because you have people everywhere)

2 Responses

  1. The international community will never loose interest in Madagascar, it’s just a lure to make you think that they don’t need you. Madagascar is the new promised land, how to manage these assests to benefit Malagasy people(including FOs) is the question.

  2. I was actually referring to the international media… should have specified that. You have a good point about Madagascar and it being the promised land, both Madagascar and Africa. As long as there are other countries interested in bolstering their agriculture, Madagascar and Africa are going to be prime targets… in part because of the amount of land available, but mostly because it seems that it is easier to exploit them. I do feel bad because most of Africa and Madagascar are in need of money, and all it takes is a bad government that is money hungry to sign a bad deal and land that belongs to it’s people will quickly disappear. I certainly hope the deal signed with the Saudi’s does not eventually lead up to some sort of land deal.

    Thanks for the comment!

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