Haiti, the need for a new school system: “Let us make you foreign” is not education

Haiti: Jean-Jacques Dessalines liberated the Haitian people and founded Haiti in 1804 on the premise that every Haitian has the right to self-determination. Nothing is more consistent with that premise than the access to true education.

Haiti has lost most of its brightest minds to foreign countries. It is inconceivable that there is little effort to elicit any large-scale intellectual contributions from the Haitian diaspora. If we are able to establish competitive schools in Haiti, It is likely that Haitian (and even foreign) scholars and teachers in the diaspora will dedicate some time to the professional preparation of future Haitian generations. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a mechanism in Haiti by which bright minds abroad can volunteer 1 to 2 months per year in shaping the minds of young Haitian generations? We could lobby Haitian scholars and teachers in foreign universities and schools (North America, Europe, and Africa) to participate in a scholar or teacher exchange program. This is why it is so important for all Haitians to be a part of Global Haitian Assets.

This may seem idealistic, but this is already occurring at some level between countries to teach English abroad as a foreign language. In the context of Haiti, it would be one of the most effective ways to partially repatriate millions of minds the country has lost at least over the last century.  You may think that this would be an enormous sacrifice, but only if we forgot the sacrifices of our ancestors. If you were in Haiti more than 200 years ago, you would have thought that this man was crazy as you heard Dessalines say to his fellow humans in slavery: “If the French capture me a hundred times, I will betray them a hundred times; I swear I will make you independent“.When he set his own house on fire to demonstrate to his African fellows that the interests of a nation superseded individual interests, that was a great example of self-sacrifice. When he was assassinated, so was the nation of Haiti. The destruction of Haiti began not decades ago, not with the American occupation of Haiti in 1915, not even 2 centuries ago. It began with the assassination of the Haitian Liberator Jean Jacques Dessalines in 1806, just less than 3 years after he liberated the Haitian people from the tyranny of Napoleon’s French imperialism and racism. The constitution that defines “Haitian” and Dessalines’ vision for Haiti was later abandoned after his assassination, as the country’s leadership (with some exceptions) has since sided for the most part with foreign values and cultures to undermine that vision. The Haitian shift from a Dessalinian to a Louverturian model is the single most significant reason for Haiti’s slow and progressive decline in the last 2 centuries and for current dependence on foreign powers to sustain and manage predictable human disasters in Haiti. That shift in paradigm, which began with the elimination of Haiti’s founding father, has been supported essentially by the systematic establishment of colonial institutions! I grew up in Haiti, and I know no institution with the mission to truly educate Haitians. Most, if not all, Haitian institutions are designed to inculcate self-hatred by negating anything that has to do with the authentically Haitian way of life. The church and the schools in Haiti are the most significant contributors. Most institutions are foreign to Haiti in concept and origin. “Let us make you foreign” is what Haitians experience in these institutions.

Haitian self-hatred starts as a baby. The greatest fear of a Haitian baby’s “support system” is to see how horrifically dark-skinned the baby is. The despised nature of this baby’s biology is a function of his/her melanized skin (which protects against UV rays from the sun) and the culture that is traditionally associated with that melanization,  Hence, the insane concept of “pretty vs. ugly” humans is inculcated in this youngster with a vehement sense of denial of anything African. When young Haitians go to school, they become progressively more distant from their own Haitian Consciousness as they learn to despise the land that is responsible for their own survival–and I  mean that literally. When they go to church, they hear nothing about their own exceptionally inspiring story of Haitian liberation from slavery. Think about it for a moment. Their gospel, which cements their belief in God, is foreign and anti-Haitian. Their schools train their minds to detest the Haitian land and culture, including their own language vis-a-vis the superstrate language. How on earth should you be surprised that Haitian leaders and ordinary citizens do not conceive anything for the benefit of their own nation? Can you imagine an American school system that turns young Americans against the American founding fathers and history? Can you imagine an American school system that trained the American mind to reject Americanness and only embrace and promote British or French interest, despite the similarities between the two nations in origins? You can see why, in concept, the current “Haitian” is not essentially Haitian. That is why any attempt to improve the lives of the people is always going to be a short-term fix without addressing the need for true Haitian education. If we want Haiti to stop producing corrupt politicians and citizens who do not care to invest in the future of their own nation, the machine that molds the Haitian mind must be radically rebuilt.


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