Back in December, I was invited as a speaker for an HIV/AIDS in Africa awareness rally by the Purdue African Student Association. The debate about the reason for the extent of the epidemic and how to go about solving this issue was quite lively and enlightening. I then went to get my ASA T-shirt when I realized that missing from the map of Africa on the shirt was Madagascar.
Unfortunately, it is not the 1st time that Madagascar is omitted as part of Africa from the general public. If one were to look for a map of Africa on google images, 3 out of the 18 first maps would not show Madagascar.
On the same theme, I am currently reading a book, "the state of Africa" by Martin Meredith that is trying to explain the roots of the economic woes of the African continent in the post-colonial period. Meredith goes in great depth about most of the issues and historical events he addresses. That obviously does not allow him to cover all the nations in Africa (and I believe he is correct in choosing this approach). His take on the reason for Che Guevara's despise for Laurent Kabila's army in Congo was compelling. That was in the chapter called "The Birth of Nations". The chapter discusses the fight for independence in Algeria and Fanon's involvement in what he called the African Revolution. My problem is, if you are to discuss the first fight for independence in Africa, how can you not mention the insurrection of 1947 in Madagascar ? It was only one of the very 1st act of rebellion against colonialism in Africa. The book does not mention Madagascar even once and quite fittingly, the cover also fails to include Madagascar.
This is certainly frustrating but not quite as infuriating as the small group of people back home who also would like to forget that Madagascar is part of Africa. But that is another story for another time.
So that is why any pan-African effort that includes Madagascar will be highly lauded over here. And if it involves a friend and fellow Global Voices author Mialy in it, it then becomes must-read. Another initiative that has done a lot in including Madagascar in the sub-Saharan African region is Global Voices Online. Not only as part of Africa but also as a relevant part of the global conversation. Obviously, I am awfully biased towards Global Voices Online. Still imagining Ethan trying to read Global Voices in Malagasy was quite an enjoyable kick. I too now regret giving up so quickly on learning Spanish and reading Edddie Avila's friends working their magic.
So If people thousand miles away are reaching out to us, there are no reasons why we should not reach out to our neighbors and hope that our neighbors will not forget us next time they map the continent.