Madagascar, France: Expulsion of French Citizens Raises Concerns about Government's Authoritarianism

Two French citizens, Christian Chadefaux and Father Urfer, who both lived for decades in Madagascar, were declared persona non grata by the Malagasy government last month. These decisions came a few days after the election of Nicolas Sarkozy as president of France who made the expulsion of illegal immigrants one of his priorities. Coincidence ? Malagasy bloggers weigh in on the sudden authoritarian stance of the Malagasy government and wonder whether these decisions are some kind of retribution for the way some Malagasy citizens were expelled from France.
Barijoana is not thrilled with the government's decision about father Urfer:

Lorsqu'on vit au quotidien la fameuse mondialisation, une expulsion, ça a toujours des aspects totalitaires. Mais là, c'est un peu le bouquet. Après Christian Chadefaux, 40 ans à Madagascar, voilà que Sylvain Urfer se voit refuser un titre de séjour après avoir passé 33 ans à Madagascar. Du grand n'importe quoi, en tout cas symptomatique du fait que l'on sort de la dictature molle pour passer à quelque chose de plus marqué. De Sarkozy et de Ravalomanana, théruféraires et opposants ont dit qu'ils partageaient le fait d'être de la même génération, leur américanophilie, leur culture du résultat, leur fascination pour l'argent…

After Christian Chadefaux, who spent 40 years in Madagascar, now it is Sylvain Urfer who got denied a residence permit after having spent 33 years in Madagascar. This is a total nonsense, in any case symptomatic of the fact that we are now leaving the soft dictatorship era to move into something more pronounced. Of Sarkozy and Ravalomanana, supporters and opponents have already said that they shared the fact that they are of the same generation, both pro-american, both from a result-driven culture and their fascination for money….

In the comment section, Rajiosy feels that the expelling of the two french citizens is fair game when you see how Malagasy are treated in France.

pour beaucoup de malgaches dont je fais partie, ancien de St-Michel de surcroît et ancien élève du père “non renouvelé” et non pas “expulsé”, il y a un vieux compte à régler avec les Français de Mada et leur comment dire ? supériorité naturelle ? magistère ? arrogance ? Alors un ou deux petits non renouvellements arbitraires et autres coups de pied au culte – on en a l'habitude ici en France – ça fait du bien… ça n'arrive pas qu'aux autres finalement. la colonie c'est fini.

For many Malagasy of which I am a part of, and additionally a St-Michel high-school alumni, therefore a former pupil of father (Urfer) who was “not renewed” and not “expelled”, there is an old case to settle with the French of Madagascar and their how to say it: “natural superiority?” “magister?” “arrogance?”. So one or two small arbitrary non-renewals and other kicks to the bottom – which is common practice here in France- it does feel good… because it finally happens to others as well. The colonial period is over.

To which barijaona replies:

Médites sur cette phrase : L'imitation est la forme la plus sincère de la flatterie
Tu veux flatter Le Pen ? Libre à toi.

Reflect upon this sentence: Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. You want to flatter Le Pen ( note: leader of the right-wing extremists in France) ? Be my guest.

Just renaud took the sarcastic route to denounce the new turn authoritarian aspect of the government:

Force est pourtant de constater, que malgré les quelques foyers de tensions ici et là, et les tentatives de regroupement des membres de l’opposition de la place, l’Etat est loin de vaciller, et poursuit sur un rythme de Sénateur, sa route vers le développement rapide et durable. Mieux, ou pire, selon les considérations, l’administration Ravalomanana prie tout ceux qui voudrait se mettre en travers du chemin vers le développement, à se terrer. Qu’importe, les étrangers aussi sont avertis. N’ont-il d’ailleurs pas été sommé de ne jamais s’immiscer dans les affaires nationales ?

One has to admit that in spite of a few point of tensions here and there, and the attempts at regrouping of the members of the opposition, the government is far from wavering, and continues at a slow rate its progress towards fast and durable development. Better yet, or worse according to your point of view, the Ravalomanana administration requests that all who would like to impede the progress towards development to please crawl down and hide. Moreover, foreigners are also on notice. Besides, weren't they summoned to never get involved in domestic affairs?

In the midst of the current tension with respect to xenophobia and ethnic origins, Tomavana reminds us the words of outgoing US ambassador, James McGee, who urges Malagasy of all origins to commit to the future of the country:

[mg] Tsy maninona na avy aiza na avy aiza fihavian’ny razanareo, na Indonezia, na Afrika, na Indy, na Sina. Tsy maninona na tanindrana na avy any anivontany ianareo: samy manana ny toeranareo amin’ny hoavin’ity firenena ity ianareo.

It does not matter where you are from or where your ancestors are from, may it be Indonesia, Africa, India or China. It does not matter whether you are from the coast or from inland: You all have a say in the future of this country.

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