January 26, 2009: Black Monday

Monday January 26, 2009 – Tuesday January 26, 2010 … one year ago, Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar, the city where I was born, was set on fire by rioters led by people who believed that “their time have come” One year ago, it was the so-called “black monday

Monday January 26, 2009, I went to work as every Monday. I was far away to know that I would live a traumatizing day. At that time, I worked for a business law firm located in the “Business Explorer Park” (commonly known as the “village des jeux”) in Ankorondrano. My workmates and I started the day with the review of all the files that needed to be reported to our boss. I opened my facebook page, my Gtalk and my Yahoo messenger (at that time, I had internet at office!). Our administrative assistant dropped something like: “Today is gonna be a good day! Look, the sky is so bright!” I drunk my coffee and checked the headlines on newspapers. “Gosh! It’ s all about politics! I’ m tired of it!” I said to my colleague. “What else do you want them to talk about?” He replied to me. Since Andry Rajoelina and his followers have succeeded to have their daily rallies in “place du 13 mai” (May 13th square, the place of all Malagasy revolutions), political news were headlined by all the main daily newspapers in Madagascar. We had our weekly staff meeting with our managing partner in order to organize all the works for the week. We planned a lot of goals and deadlines to be achieved for the whole week as we knew nothing about how the events would affect our lives …

Around 10.30 am Madagascar time, a friend of mine called me. She worked in Anosipatrana. With a hysterical voice, she told me that hundreds of rioters have  attacked the MBS Group (the telecommunication group which belonged to Marc Ravalomanana) and burnt everything. I could not believe what I have just heared: the MBS Group? On fire? Why? I remember that I told to my colleagues: “Guys … this time, it’s gonna be a real s**t” I decided to call one of my friend who worked as a journalist, he gave me the confirmation that I was scared of: most of the rioters belonged to the “shock troop” of Andry Rajoelina. These guys were in charge of the security of Andry Rajoelina and most of the decision makers who worked around him. According to my friend, they sang “you shut Viva, we burn MBS” Our first reaction was to switch on the radio and the TV set in order to check if MBS radio and MBS Tv still broadcasted … Huge silence and blank screen …

I tried to look for more news on internet. I found out that there was another tragedy which occured in Anosy just before the burning of MBS: Andry Rajoelina and his followers came to the tribunal of Anosy to ask for the immediate release of three young students who were convicted for having bombed some ministries with Molotov Cocktails. The public prosecutor did not want to talk to them. The crowd that Andry Rajoelina led expressed its anger  and disappointment with a huge stonning against the glasses of the tribunal. Knowing that, I immediately called my dad who worked as a barrister. I was afraid that he got stucked in the tribunal. Fortunately, he was away in Behoririka. He told me that several “tough guys who looked like dirty hooligans” were attacking shops and assaulting people.

After the tribunal, Andry Rajoelina and his followers moved to TVM and RNM (national public radio – TV). Andry Rajoelina made a quick speech in which he denounced the policy of these two stations which closed their doors to the opposition. There, some guys – just after the speech – runned to the premises of TVM and RNM and throwed Molotoc Cocktails. In a minute, the whole premises were on fire. The security forces who kept these two national stations have been reported missing. I was completely terrified: MBS? RNM? TVM? Are they going to burn all the  TV and radio stations in Antananarivo? We could see the black smoke through our office windows.

At 02.54 pm, after attacking Magro of behoririka and Blueprint (both companies belonged to Marc Ravalomanana), thousand of rioters came to Ankorondrano and looted the Magro’s headquarters and the Auditorium. It was a nightmarish scene … Thousand of people who run to Magro and Auditorium to stel what they can … Few minutes after, Magro and Auditorium were burnt …

Several companies were victim of looting during the black monday: Courts, Jumbo Score, Zoom, Supreme Center, … these companies which had nothing to do with the crisis, were unfairly looted and burnt.

Monday, January 26, 2009 is considered as the beginning of the fall of Marc Ravalomanana’s power in Madagascar. Everyone has noticed that security forces (police, gendarmerie, army) were strangly missing during that day. Did they receive instructions from Marc Ravalomanana not to react in order to avoid a bloodshed? Did they really mean not to act in order to show to Marc Ravalomanana that he was not anymore the real leader of the country?

Some politicians, close to Andry Rajoelina and the TGV, declared that all these lootings were the expression of a  social explosion.  I agree with the social explosion but to that extent?  That’s  too big to be swallowed …

One year ago, very late in the evening in a Internet Café in Analamahitsy, I posted my own testimony about the events and my feelings about how disgusting the policy of the “orange revolution” has become to oust Marc Ravalomanana. Are we always obliged to burn and to loot when we want to change our leaders in this country ??! One thing is sure, anyone who has taken part into this shameful event did not take profit from it. So … who is the looser in the story?


3 thoughts on “January 26, 2009: Black Monday

  1. I watch it again on TV plus yesterday. Was sad and what happens in haiti recalls me what happened during that day but of course, the reason of it what completely different.

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