Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Madagascar : easy come easy go......

3 months …that’s what it took Andry Rajoelina to take over and become Madagascar's new interim president. No longer supported by the army, former president Marc Ravalomanana had no choice but to resign after having proposed a referendum a bit too late.
As you can easily guess, I chatted a lot with my parents over the last few weeks. They feared the army would just take over and jeopardize democracy.
And now what ? Rajoelina who proclaimed himself the new leader of the country, with the approval of the Haute Cour constitutionnelle (constitutional court) already appointed his new interim government. He intends to be in charge during 2 years; after this period, elections will take place, but according to the constitution, Rajoelina who is only 34 will be too young to run for presidency (legal age being 40).

Nicknamed TGV (French high-speed train) Rajoelina is known for his very dynamic character. Actually, only today I learnt TGV is also the acronym for the political movement he created Tanora malaGasy Vonona (the young motivated Malagasy people). He is a former DJ who then successfully turned to advertising and communication.


He declared to the press today that his first actions will be to reduce the price of food, rice in particular which is the basic ingredient of Malagasy food and sell the plane recently purchased by former president Ravalomanana in order to build a hospital with the proceeds.


Hopefully this obscene and totally unacceptable lease contract with Corean firm Daewoo, planning to lease nearly half of the land in the country, free of charge and during a period of 99 years, in order to grow corn solely for exportation and with no compensation for Malagasy people, will be abandoned.


While talking to my parents today, I had the feeling they were not particularly over-enthusiastic by the news. Finally, my father said, Rajoelina's words were so similar to the ones pronounced by former president Ravalomanana when he was elected, I will reduce poverty, I will do this and that and in the end…he became a shrewd businessman and a millionaire (and like his predecessor Rajoelina is also a very successful businessman)…and Madagascar is still lagging behind…but what is there to do ? We need men with a vision….like Patrice Lumumba for instance and not guys who are like puppets on a string…


Naturally Madagascar depends a lot on international organizations aid programs and I just hope this political change will not suspend the assisting policy.


I really don’t want to finish this post on a pessimistic note. You know me, I always need to see a ray of light, no matter what.

Recently, an amazing shop opened in Paris called Merci on which several blogs reported. Merci is an enormous concept store created by former owners of the very chic Bonpoint stores, Marie-France and Bernard Cohen.
And what’s the connexion with Madagascar, you'll ask me...Well, we're coming to it. After having sold Bonpoint, the couple didn't feel like staying idle and wanted to do something helpful. They decided to open a concept store, - which includes a florist and a second hand bookshop, apart from clothing, design, home objects and furniture - and give all profit, once salaries, suppliers and taxes are paid, to charity associations in Madagascar. Until very recently, this wasn't possible for a French enterprise as a company can only give 5 per thousand of its turnover to charity. Thanks to a recent French law act, the Cohen can operate their company like an endowment fund and when I read about this I was completely blown away and thought wow....that's really grand !
Just for the little anecdote, I had the pleasure to meet Marie-France Cohen some years ago when I was working as a full time designer. Her team spotted my work which I presented at Scènes d'Intérieur at Maison & Objet trade show. At that time, I didn't know, she went regularly to Madagascar for the Bonpoint clothing designs, especially embroidery and developed strong and friendly relationships with artisans.

the little mini car in the patio sets the tone of the store, bohemian chic
the florist shop

Not so well known but dear to my heart is a friend of my mother who opened a shop in Orléans (in France too) Au comptoir malgache. I can't show you pictures of his shop because I didn't take any when I visited last year. This friend is also Malagasy and sells products of Malagasy artisans. He commissions artisans and helps them develop their activity. He organizes ecotouristic trips to the island every year which include visits to embroidery and silk weaving workshops, planting trees along with visiting incredible places. Needless to say, my kind of ideal trip!

vanilla tree in Madagascar

also I wanted to thank my sweet blogging friends for their kind
thoughts for the people of Madagascar and my family !
In Malagasy, to say merci we say misoatra....

17 comments:

A Cuban In London said...

Politicians, don't you love them? Don't you, erm, hate them? He looks like a cool daddio, and being a former DJ in no way qualifies one for the presidency of any country, in my humble opinion, a sound knowledge of economics being a fundamental element to possess. I wish your country better, my castle.

On another note, it's good what that shop is doing and you see, there's usually a light at the end of the tunnel.

Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

Indyeah said...

agree with A cuban that ''being a former DJ in no way qualifies one for the presidency of any country, in my humble opinion, a sound knowledge of economics being a fundamental element to possess.''
that said I also know that poiliticians are a breed that are the same the world over and so I wish that he does make dreams come true and lives up to the expectations...

Dreams can never die can they?:)
and so you as always have found a silver lining here Lala:))

much love and hugs:))
Indyeah:)

PS:-loved the tiny car:)

Estela said...

I really really hope everything can finally be solved. I hate politicians too, I think they only look for themselves, not taking care about people's real problems! Ahgg!

Anyway, life goes on! And the tiny car is very cute!! ;-D

Have fun with this springtime weather!!
Lots of kisses for you and your family!!

BYe BYe!

Cecile/DreamCreateRepeat said...

Thank you for your update on the doings in Madagascar. It is so difficult to find any meaningful reporting in our press these days. What a crazy whorl-wind of a man!

Diana said...

I will send good thoughts for Madagascar....I too hope that lease can be abandoned...so wrong to take advantage in that way.

I love what the Cohens are doing...thank you for sharing that uplifting bit! Have a lovely day!

The Girl From Cherry Blossom Street said...

I come from a country that goes through political upheavals often: coups d'état, et al....the list goes on...
I don't know anymore what or who qualifies as good politicans...
graft and corruption is just so rampant..
It is discouraging to think that the leaders tend to cause the downfall of their countries.

I wish you and Madagascar happy thoughts!

That florist shop brought a smile to my face. I want to be a florist when I grow up :-)
Love that mini car!!

Mélanie said...

quand j'ai vu les infos , mes premières pensées ont été pour toi et ta famille. J'espère que les événements vont se calmer .Merci est une boutique que j'adorerais visiter , peut être lors d'une prochaine halte à paris

Yoli said...

How easily people are deceived by words and promises. I do hope from the bottom of my heart that this young man turns out to be someone different. Very happy that the former owners of Bonpoint are thinking of your beautiful country.

Linda Sue said...

Perhaps Bush set the tone for the last eight years- corrupt, stupid, greed and war...My hope is that Obama will set a new tone, it will take some doing and time but perhaps politicians, leaders, will seek a path that will lead us all to a better human experience.It's a start...

Stephanie said...

How is it that politicians sound alike no matter where they are from and we are all at their mercies. I have huge hopes for our new one...

thank you for sharing here and all the beautiful, inspirations of spring

Cynthia said...

How difficult it all is...the change, the mistakes, the decisions...I hope your family is safe during this period. Here's hoping your lovely flowers, and cute little car keep your spirits high...or at least make you simile, dear Lala Ema. <3

Christina said...

My thoughts and prayers are with Madagascar. Do you know my eyes went directly to the soldier in the back ground of your picture??

What a beautiful way to end this post.

Love to you and your family.
xo

Susana said...

Hola Lalita... estos días seguíamos las noticias sobre Madagascar en la BBC y pensábamos en tí. Este mundo nuestro es un enigma... no tiene ni pies ni cabeza. Nuestros pensamientos están con el pueblo de Madagascar.

Besos, guapa, y feliz fin de semana!

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