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Madagascar News Forums The Transformation of Antananarivo Reply To: The Transformation of Antananarivo


As soon as he arrived in Madagascar on June 15, 1939, the governor general of Coppet announced the color: national defense for the French, work for the Malagasy in order to “preserve liberty”. At this time, Antananarivo with the facts of the world events, awaited this arrival with impatience. Thirty thousand people with a Malagasy majority, a real human tide, are mobilized to welcome this “raiamandreny” since “it would be sacrilege to fail in the duties that are imposed on him, and even the only indifference towards him is not Admitted by tradition “(chronicler of the Magazine of Madagascar, July 1939).
According to our reporter, impatience and joy can be read on all faces-and no doubt also the curiosity-of seeing Coppet “the object of indescribable ovations.” Governor-General, who is “very much affected by the enthusiasm of this delirious crowd, who acclaim him frantically and to which he never ceases to reply majestically.” It should be noted, however, that all the new chiefs of the colony are thus welcomed in the capital!
It is during a reception that follows this popular reception “delirious”, that it presents what it calls its two programs short and long. “Although a governor, a mere executing agent, has no policy other than that of the government he represents, I have in mind two programs, two action plans.”
The first can be summarized in two words: national defense. “In the grave circumstances which the world is going through in the presence of the lusts of which our colonial empire is the object, every Frenchman in France or Outremer has the first duty to defend his country. “More precisely, the ground where he was born, the one he puts forward, to defend his property, which he conquered by his work. “Above all, he must defend his freedom, for no one escapes us today but a defeat would be slavery to us. “
In this program, Coppet plans to set up a colonial army, a concern
Cardinal “of those who hold the least power. For their part, the inhabitants must contribute to this defense by their work. To work is to produce more.
The other program “of further realization (…) in all truth I confess that I do not know. “
De Coppet has already spent three years in Antananarivo, thirty years earlier. “Thirty years of fruitful work for the French in favor of the Great Island, whose present-day manifestations so diverse amazed me,” he said. It must be recognized that these three years spent in Madagascar in his youth make him follow the evolution of the country through books, regulations, exhibitions, photographs and even films.
“But nothing replaces direct experience, contact with the earth, the atmosphere, the life of a country …” And in order to learn the country again, to see everything, to hear everything in order to draw up this program at Long-term like any good self-respecting governor. And he plans to draw up this plan of action with the collaboration of the “various peoples” who make up the Great Island because “it must strive to achieve harmony between these elements”.
However, it warns that it will take any decision that will dictate to him the circumstances and the general interest of the country. With his thirty-five years of colonial experience, particularly in Africa, where he performs all the duties that can be entrusted to a trustee from the lowest to the top of the scale, he declares himself a “professional man. And above all a man of order and discipline. ” He then issued a severe warning against “those who would be tempted to disturb this order, to infringe this discipline on the law, the regulations”.
And to explain his conception of discipline: “Without discipline, there is neither freedom nor progress possible, neither for a man nor for a country. Anyone who violates this necessary social discipline would be astonished at the speed and rigor of the decisions I would certainly make. “Finally, he indicates the meaning he gives to the” formula
Touching “of” raiamandreny “. “On the one hand, it means firmness, and on the other, benevolence, and I shall endeavor to apply it thus. “