Madagascar: A Call From the Madagascar Council of Churches

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Antananarivo — The Malagasy Christian Council of Churches (FFKM) released a declaration on the crisis in Madagascar. The PC(USA) works in partnership with the Church of Jesus Christ in Madagascar (FJKM), which was formed by the union of three churches in 1968. The FJKM is a member of the Malagasy Christian Council of Churches. The following is the English translation of the declaration. Pray for the people of Madagascar.

May the grace and peace of God be with you.

After the numerous pleas to the churches within the Malagasy Christian Council of Churches (FFKM) asking them to address the national crisis, we, your religious elders, gave a mandate to the SEFIP (Ecumenical Commission on the Life of the Nation) to listen to the people's voices and complaints. The people have articulated their own proposals for sensible decisions that would enable all the Malagasy people to live together in harmony with justice and mutual understanding ("fihavanana").

After compiling a broad range of opinions, it is clear that most of the Malagasy people are presently living in poverty, hardship and insecurity. The traditional values about respect towards parents and elders have been eroded. The FFKM is standing up without hesitation to fulfill the call of duty from God and to preach the way of justice. The FFKM is thus correcting and leading the way of the Malagasy population in our beloved country.

The FFKM is thus sending the following message:

The politicians inside and outside of the Institutions of the transition are wasting their time on conflicting issues and on protecting their own positions. There are politicians who are tempted to prolong the transition so as to gain more personal profits, and they are not considering the well-being of the Malagasy population at all. However, the FFKM insists that politicians actually consider the good of the whole Malagasy population.

We remind the Institutions of the Transition, especially the President of the Transition, the Prime Minister and the members of the Transitional Parliament (CT and CST) who are preparing a law of reconciliation and the setting up of the reconciliation committee, that it is not only the implementation of the transitional institutions which will create a climate of peace, but also a frank recognition of errors made, as well as a commitment to forgiveness and repentance. This should be done in the spirit of promoting justice and genuine "fihavanana."

The Malagasy people are disturbed to see and to hear the President of the Transition and the Prime Minister and their close colleagues disagreeing frequently. It is not honorable for them to neglect their responsibilities in the face of social problems that are becoming more and more serious with each passing day.

Fundamental human rights are being trampled underfoot. Those who do not hold power or occupy high office cannot expect to be protected in the judicial system. The independence of the judiciary system is not respected; the judiciary cannot perform their tasks according to the laws, righteousness and equity. Our wish is that all the executive officials would stand up and would refuse to compromise with those who are doing wrong.

We are concerned that all those who express their own opinions or who criticize the management of national affairs are systematically silenced or threatened. There are numerous media outlets that have been closed down; some of them were given formal notices because they were exposing misappropriation by those who consider themselves to be indispensable.

In these hard times, the FFKM encourages all Malagasy citizens to have faith and hope in God so that they might dare to stand up and speak out against officials who fail to commit themselves to negotiations to resolve these persistent problems.

We are sending a message to journalists and to all those in charge of information management. We wish that they would accomplish their work in the correct way and that they would not become the weapons of war. They should instead be pillars of the reconciliation.

It is alarming to see the excessive use of force by those in charge of security each time demonstrations are held. Meanwhile, bandits dare to carry out their misdeeds in broad daylight and even publicize their arrival in advance. The security forces are trampling real democracy. We are urging them to fulfill their duties with wisdom and to protect citizens and their property. We are urging them to stand up and to protect what has been agreed on for the highest interests of the nation.

We call on those who dare to kill people because of money and politics to remember that life belongs to God alone and that no one can justify the assassination of someone else. We say again that the preservation of life is the basis of the Malagasy concept of "fihavanana". We denounce and oppose the abuse of power and the use of force without legitimate reasons since we want peace to prevail.

The FFKM asks all politicians not to impede the resolution of the political crisis, whether they are inside or outside the transitional institutions, since iron cannot be forged alone.

The FFKM expresses its deep sorrow about the erosion of moral, religious and traditional Malagasy values caused by the Malagasy population - the youth in particular - indulging in the use of alcoholic beverages as a means to forget their problems, and by the exploitation of people's misery to entice them to seek quick money through gambling and the lottery, making them forget the teachings of Scriptures and the value of saving and developing an entrepreneurial mind.

The FFKM addresses a special call to the international community to consider, as their top priority, the interests of the Malagasy nation in the resolution of this crisis.

The FFKM, acting as the Church, which is a prophet and a watchman to the nation, continues to accept its own responsibilities. The FFKM therefore commits itself to searching for solutions to the protracted crisis that is ruining Madagascar. The FFKM urges everyone to respond to its call.

Let peace always fill your life.

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