Sunday, February 8, 2009
Madagascar! (Rated R for Exterme Violence)
When most people think of Madagascar, they probably think of the friendly lion, the dancing lemur king, and the cadre of psychotic penguins that we all know from the movie (and if you don't - just ask your kids or grandkids). However, it's a very real place...and right now it looks more like a horror flick than an animated comedy. Numerous people died yesterday in the capital city of Antananarivo, and quite a lot of them were unarmed protesters gunned down by riot police outside the presidential palace.
The mess started a few days ago when the country's President, Marc Ravalomanana, fired the elected mayor of Antananarivo, who also happens to be the Madagascar's leading opposition leaders. The charismatic young mayor, Andry Rajoelina, decided to fight back by launching a grassroots revolution against Ravalomanana's leadership and declaring himself to be the new head of the country. He's now holding lots of protests and rallies, and when one of those protests marched to the presidential place, the police did some unnecessary shooting. I've also read that there are a lot of looting problems.
Personally, I'm not a huge fan of either side. Ravalomanana had no business firing a mayor and seems to like his power a little too much. On the other hand, Rajoelina the supposed voice of democratic reform) responded by throwing a hissy fit and trying to take over the country by force...not terribly democratic if you ask me. He also doesn't seem to have a whole lot of respect for the law, as he would be constitutionally barred from holding the office due to the fact that he is under age 40 (he's 34).
Why am I mentioning this? Well, I'm just sick of stuff like this not getting any coverage in our media. I realize that it's not a neat and tidy issue, and that Madagascar may not be a very big country. However, it's just hard for me to stomach that nobody is noticing that this stuff is going on. (Caution, this video is a bit graphic, but I would suggest watching)