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#1247: Will talk, plain or otherwise, lead to growth or divisiveness? : Antoine comments

From: Guy Antoine <GuyAntoine@windowsonhaiti.com>

Is the Corbett list turning to the model previously followed by the
Haitian Parliamentary, of which I said recently:

" yon kò lejislatif rete nan bay kout zepon sèlman epi refize
aprouve yon gouvènman pou peyi a jiskaske yo fini pa konsakre
ensiyifyans pwòp tèt yo nan listwa "

" politik chirepit ki fè ni politisyen yo ni entelektyèl yo pa janm ka
met tèt ansanm pou yo fè peyi a vanse "

You can see the full text of my commentary entitled " Kòman nou
pral selebre anivèsè sa? "  Certainly, Michel Degraff has advanced
some excellent arguments in favor of recognizing HC as the SINE
QUA NON language of instruction for Haitian literacy.  This is far
from the reality as it is today in Haiti's urban centers, though there
are plenty of rural schools in Haiti that indeed use the Kreyol first
approach.  Speaking of a national education, and not simply
literacy, I will restate that the upper/middle classes of Haiti have
a more urgent need to reinvent themselves than the Haitian
masses need of re-education.  At least they know who they are.

However, at what point will we go beyond the "Haitian First" line
of argumentation, to tackle the issues of its implementation?
Should that be when we have convinced every single critic in
Corbettland?  The Chamberlain/Degraff original debate that
started all of this, is as far as I can tell anyway a false debate,
because it required levels of precision in one's speech that
are simply unrealistic in a forum such as this one.  It's GOOD
to challenge people's ideas at every turn, but rather than
club each other to death or submission, wouldn't it be far better
to give each other an opportunity to grow, and continue to work
hand in hand for a common goal.  Some, as always, will prefer
to draw the battle lines, call for a revolution, take no prisoners,
and march alone towards glory.  I am not an anthropologist,
but damn... that would almost appear to be  a characteristic
of Haitians.  PLEASE... TELL ME IT ISN'T SO!

I do not have an advanced degree, and I can categorically say
that my views would be much ignored by the Haitian intelligentsia,
in fact are most often ignored because I do not have a Ph.D. in
such and such, and I do not Chair this or that Department of such
and such prestigious university.  I enjoy the Corbett forum precisely
because Corbett is unpretentious enough to allow everyone to
speak sensibly at any level regardless of background.  And I dare
say that I am not intimidated by any.  Not by the professorial types,
and certainly not by the revolutionaries.  They can continue to play
their little games.  I will continue to say what makes sense to me
and what does not.  That's my vote for "plain talk".

Some time ago, we had an eerily similar discussion on an
educational program for Haiti.  After weeks of repartees, primarily
from three protagonists who started referring to each other by their
profession rather than their real names, I decided to do my very
best and come up with a list of clearly defined and manageable
ideas that could be utilized in developing a new education
curriculum for Haiti at the basic, primary, secondary, and university
levels.  Could some of my ideas have been wrong?  Absolutely!
Were they ALL wrong?  Hey, I have enough self-esteem not to
believe that.  The point though was that not a single soul on this
forum decided to pick up the challenge.  And that is pretty
discouraging...  We had an opportunity to grow from this discussion,
and collectively we blew it.  The next time, I'll forward my ideas to
a Ph.D. to present them for me... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... On second
thought, nah, I'll continue to take my chances.

Once again, in this recurring debate on the role of HC in literacy,
I forwarded a list of ten observations (post #1186), some of them
expressed as questions really... but I think you could judge the force
of observations that lies behind them.  Once again I heard the
thunderous silence, until this morning, finally, when Josiane
Barnes commented that she thinks that I have some good ideas
about that.  Thank you, Josiane, and let's use those, whatever
they may be, to break this cycle and start talking of a process
of implementation that could be followed.  My bet is that there
are tons of silent Haitian politicians on this forum, content to
let the intellectuals battle it out, without risking their own skin.
For once let us focus on providing them some practical ideas
that they can take back home and discuss with their constituencies.

I will start by fully backing something else that Josiane said:
" I would even propose that if something cannot be expressed
in Creole, it has no real meaning, it should be stricken from the
laws.  The first version of every important document for Haiti
should be in Creole. " Can we inscribe that principle in stone

Guy S. Antoine
Look thru & Imagine!