I am living through a coup d’ etat. It is less exciting than it sounds. There are rallies most every day, police shutting down large parts of cities, deploying tear gas and breaking up protests every day. Whole cities are shutting down in protests called ‘une ville mort’ (dead city), and roads have been blocked.
This is all happening in the capital and regional capitals, out here in the country side, you’d barely know anything is happening. We get daily reports from PC about the happenings around the country, but since the news is controlled by the president, most people here don’t really know what is happening on a day-to-day basis. Let me reiterate that I am safe.
There are heated discussions around town, rumors about protests and clashes with the police, but no rallies, ville mort or even police presence. The police just get drunk all day anyway, and the national military was all called to the capital. What people do know and agree on is that we need a new president. He went one step too far by buying a $60 million presidential jet, and now there is a general call for him to be ousted. It is just happening slowly.
I began working with an NGO called CARE and mentioned to them the ‘political crisis’ and they said ‘No Gordon, it is not a crisis, it is just part of life here in Madagascar. It is the way we do things.’
It was difficult to be pulled from site to consolidation, but I returned and restarted my normal routine and was soon settled. Everything is normal here, and life is as it was, but I am waiting (we all are) for something to happen. Regional capitals are restricted areas. We are on the first level of security alert (standfast) indefinitely. Every time the phone rings I think ‘this could be it, please let me stay!’. However, aside from that mild anxiety, life goes on.
7 Mars, 2009