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#1167: Nekita on Creole : Vedrine replies

From: E Vedrine <evedrine@hotmail.com>

"Emmanuel Vedrine raised some interesting points in a post he sent in 
Creole. One of them is the hardship that those who write in Creole have to 
go through. There is no publisher that will publish a Creole manuscript 
without asking advanced payment. Most writers as many of you know don't have 
money..." (Nekita)

- Well, as Nekita paraphrases from my article ("Vid ki merite konble nan 
lang kreyol la", posted in http://windowsonhaiti.com), these problems do 
exist and Kreyol writers have been facing them. But it's a challenge for us 
to make a difference in a society where our so-called "leaders" and 
"intellectuals" (for the majority) never value what is part of culture and 

Through my 3 years intensive research (1996-99) , reviewing publications on 
Kreyol (from colonial times to the end of this century) for the most 
complete Kreyol bibliography ever existed, I discover a great number of 
important publications (on / in Kreyol) by both Haitian and non-Haitian 
authors. The questions are:
Do our so-called intellectuals and leaders know about them? If yes, what are 
they going to do with them for the advancement of the vernacular language?

"My point is as a person who has been  writing  in Creole for the last 20 
years, I can see and understand all those "intellectual" discussions. But 
the reality is it is not encouraging to write in Creole. The majority that 
speak Creole don 't have the money to buy books.  Writing in Creole does not 
have as much prestige as writing in French or English does. There is nowhere 
to publish your work" (Nekita)

- Here, I can take some from Nekita's points and reject the rest. As I 
already mentioned, it's a challenge for Kreyol writers and a tough one also. 
With my 10 years experience as a Kreyol writer and Haitian (100%), I would 
advise Kreyol writers to continue their works and looking for other avenues 
also to expand them (e.g translation of their works in other languages for a 
larger market). The question is: who do we write for in the first place? or 
toward whom our writings are directed? R- My answer is "Haitians" (in the 
first place) therefore I choose Kreyol, not only as the target language but 
also the language in which I express myself the best though I am polyglot at 
the same time.

Kreyol has as much prestige for me as any other languages. If we are proud 
of ourselves, then we must be proud of our native language and culture. 
First, we have to believe in ourselves and what we are doing (at all 
levels). If Franketienne is one of the most well-known Haitian writers of 
this century, it is due to his writings in Kreyol that hit the reality of 
our society and most critiques (that I know of) focus on the production of 
his literary works in Kreyol rather than in French though he writes in both 
languages without any problem. Leon Francois HOFFMAN (Princeton University), 
in one of his recent publications on "Haiti' Literature" comments on Kreyol 
Literature in where comments on Franketienne covers many pages.

Again, it's a challenge for us (Kreyol writers) to make a difference in our 
society and this challenge can be applied in all other areas to change 
Haiti's face in the next century and also a great path for Haiti's Second 
Independence (of which real Haitians dream). Also, remember that language is 
part of our soul and blood. A person who is not proud of his/her native 
language is a "zombie". A zombie has no soul. Once one can think/write in 
her/his native language, that person is free. Let's rid of colonization in 
our writings to liberate the mind.


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