Madagascar - Persevering in good, even in a climate of insecurity

(ANS - Antananarivo) - In recent weeks, international agencies have reported cases of violence in the great "Red Island" of Madagascar, including also some acts of violence against consecrated persons. There have been assaults, theft and violence against religious and volunteers, and even the murder of a priest. "The chorus that is heard from many parts is that today, Madagascar is no longer what it used to be. That says it all." So says Fr Franck Randriamiandrinirinarivo, SDB, Director of Don Bosco Radio, Madagascar, one of the most authoritative and most listened-to radio stations in the country.

How would you describe the situation, especially in reference to priests, religious and volunteers?

The Malagasy now live in total insecurity. Armed aggression is the rule on almost the whole island. There are frequent thefts of livestock and other goods. Worst of all, if the bandits are not happy the attacks are followed by physical violence and even killing. As for priests, religious and volunteers, there are the same risks for them as for everybody else, but they are still fully committed and dedicated to serving the Malagasy, as people and children of God.

Does this affect work with young people?

We are human beings of flesh and blood. We feel insecure. And youth work is difficult where there is public insecurity. In any case, we are constantly trying to do better so as not to let the young people be misled by a mentality that destroys the common good and the human person.

As a priest and director of a radio station, what do you want to say?

That the education of the people of God, young or adult, must always be in our thoughts. We must proclaim the Risen Christ to all, that is, all our work of evangelization and education must always witness the love of God. Radio is an effective and fast means to convey this message to everyone. The people take seriously what is broadcast on the radio; "It was Don Bosco Radio who said it."

Has there been any appeal from ecclesiastical authorities?

Representatives of the Church, in particular the Bishops' Conference of Madagascar, demand that justice and peace reign throughout the country. There has been strong condemnation of armed aggression and violence, and a demand for greater commitment by public security officials. The bishops also encourage everyone, especially consecrated persons, not to give up and to persevere in their important development works.


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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