It is a paragraph taken from the book the "Drama of Madagascar" by Sonia E Howe.
Here is the money quote from the passage:
"There was the introduction of equitable taxation, so vital from the financial point of view; but also of such great political, moral and economic importance. It was the tangible proof of French authority having come to stay; it was the stimulus required to make an inherently lazy people work. Once they had learned to earn they would begin to spend, whereby commerce and industry would develop."
"Inherently lazy people", really ? As sipakv said: "I take exception to that."
Since I am indeed too....lazy to come up with my own rebuttal, I will let Rad Geek do the rebuttal for me.
Rad geek says:
" The Malagasy natives supported themselves well enough on Madagascar, through the sweat of their own brow, for centuries before ever a white man ever arrived. What the Governor-General succeeded in achieving within a few years was not to make Madagascar self-supporting, but rather to use a mixed system of robbery and involuntary servitude to coerce otherwise unwilling Malagasy workers [...] In 1938, a European historian writing about colonialism in Africa would think nothing of saying commonplaces like these, and if it is jarring to read now, it’s only because, in the intervening years, the most explicit statements of that mindset have been questioned, vigorously challenged, and cast down out of cultural favor in Europe and the U.S. But the mindset itself is not gone [...]"
So, is it then just the political correctness of the world now that would prevent that kind of discourse today or have we now firmly established that such general statements are unfounded?
I am always flabbergasted when people assume that people from one country are just lazier. We often hear that nonsense about here in the US about Frenchmen taking 2 hours lunch breaks in a Parisian cafe.
If we were to believe all those stereotypes, Gov. Galieni assuming that Malagasy people are lazy would be similar to Governor Spitzer asking to chair the sexual behavior and ethics committee.
Madagascar is somewhat reknown for being the country of "moramora" ( slow-paced life). Plenty would disagree on what a moramora lifestyle truly means.
As blogger friend IM reflects on the Malagasy identity, (I believe she would also argue that there is nothing lazy about Malagasy people) I will post later and point out to a few things that Malagasy people have achieved just the past few days all over the world . You know, let' see if the remnants of Howe and Gallieni's line of thinking ought to be removed from wikipedia for good :)....