I n June 2016, almost the same text was written. Strangely, sadly, we could have just changed the recipient of this letter because each word, each sentence would have had the same meaning. Timeless Madagascar: words about yesterday’s evils do not take a wrinkle. The iniquitous scenes of twenty years ago remain relevant. Yesterday, it was Ban Ki Moon, today the Pope and tomorrow another great cap of this world who is happily welcomed in a country where poverty kills hundreds of innocent people every minute.
Dear Pope, we recognize the fact that it would not be possible for you to hear everyone and meet each of us. However, we have realized that during your visit, you will not meet only the right people, and even the right ones will not necessarily tell you the right words, the words that can describe what we are undergoing, what we are going through.
We are asked to welcome you with the traditional hospitality of the Malagasy people. So, we would like to welcome you, Your excellency. We hope that you are going to see our island with a human heart rather that with the eyes of a diplomat. We would like you to know that we are dying. We are dying of hunger, insecurity, abuse of power, corruption, anarchy, mismanagement of public funds, natural resources trafficking….. We are starved to be demeaned; we are being denied our basic rights so that we cannot rebel as we are too busy to survive from day to day.
Dear Pope, we are standing before you, not to challenge anyone but to show you that we people of Madagascar, we are left to die a slow death, without anybody telling those in power to stop robbing us, depriving us. Some catholics may see you as the savior, but the vast majority of the malagasy population does not expect you to be the Messiah who will save us. We are aware that it is our duty to save ourselves. But at least, we hope that they will not fool you and that they will not use you to endorse their actions. Because, in fact, they are lying.
From the mother I am to the “father” you are, I pray that you will understand my fears while thinking of the very future of my children. It appears hopeless, and that in the end, I realize that there is no thing I c an do . Today, like me, thousands, millions of mothers and fathers are no longer able to feed their families, their children. And this is not due to the fact that they are not trying to get away from their situation but because the system keeps us enslaved by an extreme poverty.
Dear Pope, I do not know what will happen to me after writing this text denouncing our leaders. But at least, I can tell myself that I have tried to warn you, to tell the world, to tell the other peoples of the Vatican that the populations of Madagascar are slowly exterminated. A so poor people in a so blessed land. Your excellency, they are lying. We are robbed, we are killed. Yet, they are still there, sharing the power, reigning one after another, years after years. They are sharing our future and that of our children. They are irremovable, but above all, they are untouchable and remain eternally unpunished.
If our voice finds a way in yours, changes may be imposed. But if you close your eyes, we only have our tears to say that we, malagasy people, truly are the poorest people in the world.