The French language has been, is and will always be a language of bondage, domination and exploitation for the Haitian people. It is not the French using it as a tool to exploit and dominate the people of Haiti, as it used to be during colonial time; it is, rather, Haitians using it to dominate and exploit other Haitians.

When I was growing up in Haiti, some of the abuses I used to see perpetrated against some of the people were revolting, and I am still traumatized by them. I saw with my own eyes people being ridiculed and humiliated for not being able to express themselves in French. I saw people not being willing to get service from government employees in government offices for not being able to speak French. If they need to get service, they would have to pay someone, a “racketeer,” to accompany them inside and speak on their behalf.

All Haitians educated in Haiti are psychologically tortured and traumatized. In school in Haiti, a country where ALL the citizens speak Creole and only a very few speak French, the French language is made the language of instruction. The students are being forced to learn in a language they can barely comprehend. Subjects such as mathematics, physics and chemistry, for example, are taught to the students in French, but if they must understand and solve the problems, they would have to translate everything from French to Creole. Their research papers or “dissertations” ought to be written in French, yet their chains of thought are in Creole.

Let me tell you the real politics behind this language divide. The French language is made a national language along the Creole language to further divide the already divided Haitian society. It is not to be used as a tool of communication to reach out to people as that is the true meaning of language. Politicians make good use of the French language in their politics of bluff to impress and show off their so-called intellect. They do it because most Haitians see French speaking ability as being educated.

How is French being made my language and I do not speak it? And mind you, I did my primary and secondary education in some of the best institutions in Haiti. In fact, I used to be severely punished in school if ever I got caught in the act of speaking a word of Creole. Yeah, I know some of the Frenchies, broken French speakers, are going to blame me for not being able to speak French as they often do. Why is it that I have never seen me speaking French in my dreams, not even once? Why is it that after so many years living in the US, my Creole has never left me? In fact, the longer I live away from my homeland Haiti, the better my Creole gets. Well, the answer to these questions is simple. It’s because Creole is MY language; French is not and has never been mine. I have never seen me expressing myself in French in my dreams simply because my intuition or subconscious is not molded in French. 

In his masterpiece, The Haitians: Class and Color Politics (1983 edition), Lyonel Paquin, a privileged Haitian mulatto, whom I ADMIRE dearly for his insightfulness, frankness and boldness, had this to say about the French language, the Creole language and the Haitian elite:

St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands -1980

Upon writing the book, I found myself facing several disturbing facts.

After living in the U.S. for more than 20 years, I had lost command of written and spoken French. The Haitian elite insist they control it; that is a fallacy. In the eyes and ears of a Frenchman, the Haitian-French is full of “creolism” and linguistic impurities.

Also in the eyes and ears of the Americans, it is more than obvious that I am still experimenting with their language.

So I was not only a man without a country, but also without a language. I truly felt at ease only in my native Creole, which certain people reject as a bastard tongue.

I was not discouraged. With certain bravado, I plunged into my self-imposed calvary, “So what!” I declared to myself “as long as I can convey a thought, that is all that matters. The finishing will come later.

Whenever I read this clause in the Constitution of my country, making French a national language, I think of how the so-called intellectuals -the politicians -are a bunch of stupid puppets. Here is what I am proposing as alternative of solution to this language nonsense:

  1. Amend the Haitian Constitution to make Creole the sole language of the land. Revise the nonsensical clause in the Constitution that makes of French a national language.
  2. Elevate the Creole language to a whole different level. Make it the sole official language for business and instruction in the country. It must be taught to our students at every grade level.
  3. Since we are evolving in a global environment, we must prepare our young Haitians graduating from high school and college for the global job market; learning many foreign languages is the gateway. That’s why I am proposing that French, English, Spanish, etc. be taught to our students as early as possible (kindergarten) to the very last day of their academic journey (university).

As you can see in my proposal, I treat French as a foreign language, and that is exactly what it must be for us Haitians. Like English and Spanish, it must be taught to our students, not as a national language of the people of Haiti, and certainly not as the language of business and instruction.


Some people could say, and rightly so, that I was too harsh on Wyclef when he had declared his candidacy for the presidency in Haiti. Yes, I was, and I had my personal reason for that. Most of us, and possibly including Wyclef, knew that he was not quite ready to lead the country at this very unique and unprecedented socio-political juncture in the country’s history. In spite of that, we had the same people -who were using Aristide as a political card for their own selfish political agendas only to turn their backs on him right in the middle of the raging sea, when the game got tough -on the forefront catapulting Wyclef again as a political card. I and many others said not this time.

Wyclef is a VALUABLE ammunition which we cannot afford seeing wasted. I was fiercely opposing the idea of having him then running for the presidency. In a sense, it was good sport for him to have tested the waters to have a sense of what he needs to prepare himself for the job. I had been writing extensively on the issue, and thank God it seems as though he has been listening, which is a great thing.

Wyclef has proven to us that he is a fighter, and he does not take defeat lightly. As a fighter on the battlefield, that’s what you do -you assess your defeats to find the causes, correct them, and engage the enemy again with a winning state of mind.

After his defeat by the PREVAL Provisory Electoral Council (PPEC), I wrote to advise him to start his campaign for 2015 the day of. That’s what you do as a politician who believes in a dream to transform the face of your country and the situation of your constituents. So Wyclef started his campaign for 2015 the day he got rejected by the PPEC.

In this election cycle, Wyclef was facing two uphill battles –the legal battle and the perception battle. So he is working on making sure that in 2015, if he will have to endure battles, they are not the ones he just got defeated in.

  1. He lost the legal battle because he could not prove that he was legally residing in the country for five consecutive years following the last presidential election as stated in the Constitution of the land. This is an easy fix. All he has to do is to be in compliance with the law by maintaining his residency in Haiti. He needs to get his lawyer’s counsel on how to go by doing that.
  2. We all know that in politics, whether you want to admit it or not, perception is reality. So on the perception front, he was being hammered left and right by the people who did not think he was educated enough, who did not think he met the intellectual profile of someone worthy to be considered as president. This could be a little toughy, for it is not really easy to change people’s perceptions of you. But he is working on that. The last report I have come in contact with confirmed that he is looking forward to attending Brown University, one of the best institutions of higher learning in the United States. On Tuesday, October 5, 2010, he twitted:   “I Had a great day Yesterday [at] BRown University and look forward to being a Great student and learn as much as I can to take back home.”  
  3. When he was complaining on Facebook about nothing being done to remove the rubbles after nine months of the earthquake, in my blog on Facebook, I wrote “Wyclef: Let Me Holler at You” and slammed him (!/note.php?note_id=441370712272). My argument was that as a leader, when you see something needs to be done, and you have the means to mobilize and motivate the people and get them to make it happen, you act on it; you don’t complain about things not being done. He is doing exactly that, according to Le Nouvelliste of Tuesday, October 05, 2010 ( He has been very active with his organization Yele creating jobs and giving his people on the ground a chance to live better days in a society where desperateness and hopelessness are sapping the inner lives of the people.    

The therapeutic way to cure one’s fear is to have him/her face it, not running away from it. I remember vividly just like it was yesterday that when I was a little boy growing up in Gonaives, Haiti, I was so afraid of “lamayot” that one day I came across one and literally defecated on me. My mother, who found out about the accident, felt embarrassed and decided to do something about it. One Sunday afternoon, she, who did not have any clinical psychology experience to know what she was doing, brought the “lamayot” in the house and had me face, touch and talk to him. And that was the end of my fear of “lamayots” until today. I say all this to say one thing: I want Wyclef to be back PREPARED in 2015 to face and overcome the challenge.

Wyclef is a golden bullet my generation has in its political arsenal which we cannot afford to see going into waste at this early stage in his political career. I do not know what the future has in the bank for him, but I want you to keep eyes on him. He will be back roaring stronger and louder than ever before.