Haiti’s Linguistic Identity and History Overlooked by President Martelly and French Presidents
by Jacques Pierre
Today marks the 211th anniversary of Haiti’s independence. In other words, 211 years since a bunch of slaves under Jean-Jacques Dessalines’ leadership fiercely defeated the French army whose core mission was to keep the masses in shackles forever. In recent years the last three French presidents, Jacques Chirac, Nicolas Sarkozy, and the current president François Hollande have in one way or another shown amnesia or misunderstanding of the Haitian linguistic reality and of facts regarding the history between Haiti and France.
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Language Barrier in Haiti
By Michel Degraff
Published: June 16, 2010
Creole is the language of the Haitian people. Yet, school is taught in French, a foreign language to the children. In order to promote adequate learning, Degraff argues that the Haitian schools must be taught in Creole, coming from a linguistics standpoint. A Haitian born and a linguist, Degraff provide reasoning and a strong argument in this op-ed, Language Barrier in Haiti
The Power of Creole
By Leon Neyfakh
Published: July 24, 2011
Imagine trying to learn in a language that is unfamiliar to you – this happens all across Haiti, where students are taught in French even though they have never spoken the language before. Michel Degraff, Professor of Linguistics at MIT, opposes this manner of learning through campaigns in Haiti as well as in the United States. He understand that a complete cultural view towards Creole needs to happen. “The Power of Creole” explains Degraff’s work and what he hopes to accomplish with it.
A Creole Solution for Haiti’s Woes
By Michel DeGraff and Molly Ruggles
Published: August 1, 2014
“In a classroom in Port-au-Prince, Chantou, 9, sits silently at her desk. Nervously watching the teacher, she hopes to be invisible. Like most of her 60 classmates, she understands little of the French from the lecture. But if her memorized lesson is not recited with perfect pronunciation and grammar, she may be ridiculed or punished by her teacher.
In a classroom on La Gonâve island, two 9-year-olds, Kelson and Dieuricame, hover over a computer, excitedly playing a math game. Chatting away in their native Haitian Creole (spelled Kreyòl in Haiti), they experiment together and solve problems. When the teacher announces the end of class, they ask, “May we come back later for more?””
What does this contrast show us?
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How Will Haiti Reckon with the Duvalier Years?
By Laurent Dubois
Published: October 6, 2014
Jean-Claude Duvalier, or Baby Doc, died October 4, 2014 before he was able to be tried for his crimes against human rights. Because of this, Dubois asks the question of how Haiti will reckon with those years under the Duvaliers? In looking at this question, Dubois delves into the history of the Duvalier regime and what exactly was happening during those years. In order to reckon with the Duvalier Years, Haiti has to openly look back at them, talk about them, and acknowledge what happened. Yet the question is, will Haiti be able to do this?
Haiti’s French/Creole Divide
By Jacques Pierre
Published: January 12, 2014
Haitian Creole is the “cement that binds all Haitians;” however, there is a division between French and Haitian Creole, where the people see that french is the way for good social and economic standing. “Haiti’s French/Creole Divide discusses the economic division as well as the language division between those who do and do not speak French. Pierre discusses how this division is able to keep the large masses in poverty and that the only way to rebuilding the country is to completely incorporate Haitian Creole.
Creole a Key to Haitian Literacy
by Jacques Pierre
Published: September 4, 2014
A country of two languages that ignores the language of the mass population – what does this lead to? According to Jacques Pierre, this is the reason for the low literacy rates in Haiti. In “Creole a Key to Haitian Literacy,” Pierre argues that “Haiti won’t make true literacy progress until it fosters a society where Creole speakers are viewed as equals.” This op-ed looks at the failure for making progress in literacy due to excluding Creole in official documents and the education system, which leads the reader to think: when will the change come?
Help for Haiti Must Include Embracing Creole
by Jacques Pierre
Published: February 20, 2014
Haitian Creole, one of the national languages in Haiti, is widely underused in official documentation. In “Help for Haiti Must Include Embracing Creole,” Jacques Pierre examines the problem of the lack of use of Haitian Creole in the Haitian Government and the education system in Haiti. French, one of Haiti’s national languages, is more often used in these places and is often thought the “better route.” Yet it creates a barrier between those who do not speak french and those in the government. It separates the two. Pierre talks more about this and the necessity for the incorporation of Haitian Creole.
Haiti Can Be Rich Again
by Laurent Dubois and Deborah Jenson
Published: January 8, 2012
“Haiti wasn’t always the ‘poorest country in the western hemisphere,'” Dubois and Jenson begin in “Haiti Can Be Rich Again,” which looks at Haiti’s history in order to look forward to the future of Haiti and the next steps that Dubois and Jenson believe to be best in alleviating Haiti’s poverty, among other things.
Nan atik sa a, ansyen prezidan Aristide pale sou enpòtans edikasyon pou n rive rekonstwi Ayiti. Li di edikasyon enpòtan anpil pou n rive rekonstwi Ayiti. Se pou sa, li fè konnen lè li tounen ann Ayiti, li pral travay nan zafè edikasyon.
On my return to Haiti by Jean-Bertrand Aristide (The Guardian)
Haiti’s devastating earthquake in January last year destroyed up to 5,000 schools and 80% of the country’s already weak university infrastructure. The primary school in Port-au-Prince that I attended as a small boy collapsed with more than 200 students inside. The weight of the state nursing school killed 150 future nurses. The state medical school was levelled. The exact number of students, teachers, professors, librarians, researchers, academics and administrators lost during those 65 seconds that irrevocably changed Haiti will never be known. But what we do know is that it cannot end there.