"I see a people who want to fight but there are so many problems": Father Pedro's cry for Madagascar
For nearly half a century, Father Pedro has worked with the people of Madagascar, dedicating his life to caring for the inhabitants of this island and alerting the world to their difficult daily lives. Invited to France 24 on the occasion of the release of his new book dedicated to this subject and entitled "Resist", he delivers a vibrant testimony and calls for help for Madagascar.
"Resist", is the title of Father Pedro's new book published by Editions du Rocher. A book in which he evokes his work in Madagascar with the poorest and calls for resistance in the name of fraternity and hope.
On the occasion of the release of this book written in collaboration with Pierre Lunel, the priest was received on the set of France24 by Damien Coquet to discuss his testimony and especially the situation in Madagascar.
Publication of "Resist!" (@EdduRocher1: #PedroOpeka guest of @DamienCoquet to also talk about poverty #Madagascar : "Despite the drought, the Covid, the shortages, the people are struggling"
Thank you🙏@FRANCE24#FatherPedro #Akamasoa
– VendéeAkamasoa (@LePerePedro) November 30st
The Catholic priest was born in Argentina to Slovenian parents who had fled communism. It was in 1970 that he went to Madagascar for the first time. A journey from which he returned marked by poverty and the destitution of the population, which led him to settle on the island in 1975.
Nicknamed the “prophet of the slums”, he dedicated his life to the people of Madagascar and in particular created the humanitarian association Akamasoa in 1989, to help the poor people of Antananarivo, who lived on the Andralanitra dump and in the streets of the capital. Its goal is to get these people out of these inhuman places and help them find a dignified life.
During his exchange with Damien Coquet, the priest evokes a “courageous” people who live in very difficult conditions. "Madagascar suffered the drought, then the Covid which isolated us from the rest of the world, then the cyclones which ravaged everything", he explains, adding that the Malagasy people "stand up".
"I see a people who want to fight but there are so many problems", continues Father Pedro.
Le association's website indeed indicates that he has not "noted any improvement in the living conditions of the Malagasy population" in a "quarter of a century".
“On the contrary, to date, 9 out of 10 Malagasy people live on less than $1,5 a day, below the poverty line as defined by the World Bank. Our fight is more necessary than ever: we continue it, encouraged by past achievements, indignant at the growing poverty around us, convinced that we can reduce this poverty on condition that we set up lasting structures and solid. »
The priest, who did not hesitate to write to Vladimir Putin to ask him to stop "this madness" from the start of the conflict in Ukraine, regrets that to "annihilate, to kill we always find billions" while "to help the poorest, that they have decent housing, that they can take care of themselves, have enough to eat", "they give us crumbs".
At the end of this interview, he launches a call to action. “Purchasing power is minimal, we survive in Madagascar. You who have a good purchasing power, think of those who have to live with pennies”, declares the priest who considers that it is “a human duty to help our neighbour”.
“Let us resist all oppression, all violence, because no brother on earth should be excluded! “, he launches in conclusion.
Camille Westphal Perrier