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8403: Francophonie - francofolly? (fwd)
Dear Mr. Antoine:
"Though Haitians themselves have not rushed to embrace their own literature,
preferring the folie de la francophonie…"
I guess I am passing my frustration to you, for always being
made to feel as traitors because we -Haitian here- speak French.
Anyway, I will take the opportunity, if you permit my following up
on a tangent, about your recent posting.
Yes, we latch on to the "folly" of Francophonie here. What choice do we
(I understand that you might be speaking strictly about French
continuing to be the "official" language of Haiti, and practiced by Haitians
in Haiti - but this is pertinent to that debate also
since -during my last trip in April there, MOST YOUNG HAITIANS I met
expressed one desire: to come to the "Francophone" world, yes
where French is also spoken and understood -after English and Spanish
(i.e. they dream of coming to France, Canada, and mostly here in the US that
have created Francophone Department in their High Schools and Universities)
As so many Haitians who made their career here, after being
We could not SAFELY practice our trade in our own mother country.
French is ALSO part of our heritage, as the English language (transformed
American English has become part of the U.S. heritage
- passed on to Russian Americans, Vietnamese Americans, African Americans,
Haitian Americans who continue to come for a more secure life here etc…
That hasn't made them forget or reject their native tongue.
Besides, Haitian kids have a capacity within them to learn and function
in many languages, as do the Senegalese students I observed in Senegal,
speaking French for their studies, Wolof at home and Arabic during their
Muslim religious gatherings.
We find opportunities for work here through teaching yes, Francophonie:
that is, literature (our own)
"Ainsi parla l'oncle" the first "Negritude text"
And literature written in French by Pradel Pompilus, Jacques Roumain, Jacques
Stephen Alexis, Paulette Poujol-Oriol, Yannick Lahens
and on and on and on - to name a few.- not even mentioning the
hundreds writing abroad, in "exile".
I love Franketienne's Desafi in Creole, but cannot teach it in my
Caribbean Literature class where only 2 of my students could understand
Desafi in Creole (23 do understand and get to appreciate his work
written in French)
The world is broadening, sharing in a language they can all understand and
intermingling bringing to each other parts of their cultures they can all
People across the world are striving to find a common ground.
we can help each other learn about peace ( for the little people inside, for
those who manage to live, educate their children and work in Haiti, despite
the incredible struggles as well as for the "diaspora" to work together and
rehabilitate the Haitian name that has been so tarnished by our own.
Since we are not about to see a revolution spreading "Haitian" creole
for worldwide communication (there are so many different creoles!),
More "francophone" (and "anglophone") follies might help lead to it?…
Paulette Anne Smith, Ph. D.
Department of Romance Languages