what the anniversary of the establishment of the republic in 58 means

In Madagascar, October 14, 2020 should have been a big day. A day of national glow that does not work, to replace the wasted day of June 26: the pandemic had in fact prevented the celebration of the island’s 60 years of independence with great fanfare. But this Wednesday, the anniversary of the First Republic, Covid-19 came again to play spoiler. The government had to return and eventually urged the Malagasy to go to work as usual.

In the form of festivities, the president went to the birthplace of Philibert Tsiranana, who was considered the father of independence, on Wednesday, October 14th. Between two inaugurations and the distribution of food aid, Andry Rajoelina laid a wreath of flowers on the grave of the first Malagasy president. But 62 years later, this date of October 14, and the man through whom it all happened, has not left much mark on the younger generation. As a piece of history that has been erased over the years.

They are between 25 and 30 years old, one is a servant, the other an artist and neither October 14, 1958 nor Philibert Tsiranana evokes anything remarkable for them. Hesitantly, they try to answer: “{14. October} is the date of the proclamation of Madagascar’s independence, is not it? – Me, I think it’s the day of Philibert Tsiranana’s death, the first president. -Philibert Tsiranana? I do not really know who it is. ”

On October 14, 1958, a year and a half before the country’s independence, Philibert Tsiranana proclaimed the first republic. A first step towards decolonization, but met with restraint by a section of the population. Many felt that the president had shown weakness towards France by accepting a progressive autonomy, a “false independence”.

For Éliana Bezaza, the current political figure on the Big Island and granddaughter of Tsiranana, this ignorance is not the result of coincidence: “Some people have institutionalized the fact that history has been erased because they did not disagree with the independence Tsiranana had. obtained from the French. There have been several generations who have never been told what happened during the First Republic. Which explains why very few young people know what October 14th is like. “

A legacy in danger, explains the politician, who regrets that the values ​​of equal opportunities, equality before the law, as her grandfather told today, are being trampled on.

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