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#1309: Antoine replies to Poincy on backing up Josiane (fwd)

From: Guy Antoine <GuyAntoine@windowsonhaiti.com>

Poincy, when I supported Josiane Barnes's statement:

"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.",

I was not doing so on the basis of economic priorities.  It's more
like... whatever we do for Haiti, we need to do with respect and
love for the Haitian people.  You place hunger relief as the number
one  priority.  How would anyone dare contradict that.  But food
production and distribution systems are developed and
implemented with language as a necessary component, as do
most human activities.  Should this happen in a language that
is foreign to the beneficiaries of such systems?  Can we risk
ignoring their input?  All I am suggesting here is that we fully
embrace the language understood by all Haitians, in activities
that directly relate to them.  English is fine for the Corbett forum.
French is fine for French speaking Haitians who want to practice
it between themselves, but until sufficient levels of the Haitian
people speak and understand French, its often exclusive usage
will continue to reflect the mentality of people who subscribe to
the philosophy that "Il faut faire du bien ŕ l'Haitien malgré lui"
(One must do for Haitians against their inclinations).  I still hold
to the belief that all Haitians must participate in deriving
solutions to their problems, however urgent, however basic,
rather than have the solutions handed down to them, or forced
upon them.  Why?  Simply because the best engineered
solutions, technical or political, will not work if people do not
believe in them.  How do you get there unless you make a
serious commitment to utilize the only language ALL haitians

With respect to official documents, I have not argued that
serious funds should be dedicated to their translation in
Creole.  I am suggesting that we need to start somewhere.
Granted, most Haitians would not immediately know how
to read them in whatever language, even their own.
However, reading is only one means of imparting or
acquiring knowledge.  If the laws are first written in HC,
they can be read by literate people in community gatherings
or over the radio, all over the country, without having to
first translate them to HC.  Speaking of economies, isn't a
major one to be realized right there by putting this principle
into practice?

Secondly, these actions would have the very beneficial
effect of starting to bend the mentality of the Haitian elites
with respect to the purported inferiority of Creole.  The
most fundamental change that will happen in Haiti will
be when those elites finally realize that there are more
benefits to be realized from inclusion than from the
exclusionary practices to which we have become so

Finally, I would like to point out that regardless of how
one prioritizes Haiti's needs, all of them need to be
addressed simultaneously.  One need is not going
to simply wait for the other, as you seem to suggest,
or it might easily become the next cancer that gets in
the way of wellness. There is a great diversity of talents
among Haitians. Why shouldn't they ALL be utilized?
Surely, one must give top priority to hunger relief, but I
don't understand the line of arguments that would have
one shelve all other priorities until the most urgent are

Guy S. Antoine
Look thru & Imagine!