DAYRI DERNIE FERLONG
POU TAZIOU, YANNDOU EK RASHOU
©DEV VIRAHSAWMY FOUNDATION
The Management Company of the Foundation is Abax Corporate Services Ltd of 6th Floor, Tower A, 1 Cybercity, Ebène, Mauritius.
Mo kontan dir mo pe galoup dernie ferlong. Anverite depi enpe letan mo finn aret galoupe ousa joge. Souvan mo pe zis trenn-trenn mo lipie ler mo pe mont promenad Rolan Arman pou al Rozil parey kouma masinn nimero 17 lepok ti ena tren. Malgre sa mo kontan servi expresion ‘galoup dernie ferlong’ kikfwa parski li fer mwa rapel letan lontan kan mo fami ti amenn mwa Sannmars pou get lekours Medenn e mo ti tann mo papa ek tonton dekrir seval favori so performans dan dernie ferlong. Mem si parfwa douler pens mwa, mo kontan ki mo pe ‘galoup’ dernie ferlong bien lantman. Sa pe donn mwa plis letan pou ekrir mo dayri.
Kifer mo pe koumans sa dayri la? Pa parski mo ena kiksoz enportan pou dir. Mo finn fini dir seki mo ti ena pou dir dan poem, lartik, tizistwar, pies teat, novela, roman, tradiksion tex literer sekiler ek relizie. Sel fason mo ena pou monitor seki pe pase dan mo latet ek mo leker ler mo pe ‘galoup dernie ferlong’.
Se osi enn fason spesial dir mo 3 tizanfan (Taziou, Yanndou ek Rashou) ki mo ete. Se mo fason dir zot komie zot enportan pou mwa. Komie mo sagren pou kit zot dan enn lemonn kot lavi pou vinn plizanpli difisil akoz global warming ek so sanzman klimatik; akoz kipidite, egoism bann ki kontrol lekonomi; akoz nou planet ki bien malad parski olie okip so biennet nou viol li pou tir tou zi.
Mo espere ki mo Taziou, Yanndou ek Rashou pou, malgre tou, fer tou pou sem lavi ek kiltiv boner dan zarden Bondie.
Mo kwar ki lalians PTr ek MMM li pa enn move zafer pourvi ki bann dirizan ena enn bon sans priyorite. REPIBLIK MARITIM MORIS pou bizen fer fas enn seri problem ekolozik, ekonomik, politik, sosial ek kiltirel:
• Global warming ek so sanzman klimatik;
• Sekirite alimanter;
• Konstriksion enn nasion;
• Egalite jennder;
• Literesi fonksionel bileng iniversel an Morisien ek Angle.
Pou reysi tousa anmemtan li enperatif ki nou bizen met fren ar inegalite ki pa pe aret grandi dan tou sekter lavi e rapidman konble fose ant enn ti pogne siper-ris ek enn gran lamas pov. San tousa NOUVO REPIBLIK ou Deziem Repiblik pou res enn slogan vid.
Bizen osi ki lider MMM ki ole vinn enn PM sefdorkes konpran ki se Prezidan ki pou konpoz lamizik ek ekrir partition pou sak enstriman. Misie sefdorkes lerla pou ena responsabilite pou ekzekit enstriksion konpoziter. Falepa li kwar ki so baget li enn roten-bazar ousa enn fwet.
Kouma mo gagn enpe letan mo pou ekrir seki mo panse lor tousa. Pa kapav koumanse zordi parski mo bizen prepare pou al dan “KABAR LIV LA KREOLITE” dan Larenion dime gramaten. Kan mo retourne mo pou fer sa travay la vinn mo priyorite.
‘KABAR LIV LA KREOLITE’ (26-28 SEPTAM 2014)
Axel Gauvin ek so lekip finn fer enn extra zoli travay: trwa zour aktivite akademik, kiltirel ek artistik dan kat landrwa anmemtan; prezans militan lang kreol ki sorti plizier landrwa (Giyann, Martinik, Gwadloup, Moris, Rodrig, Sesel, Larenion ets.)
Solidarite ek partaz ti lor azanda.
Mo finn osi gagn sans rezwenn boukou kamarad lontan: Carpanen, Babet, Patris, Ani, Alen, Permalnaik, Bernard, Daniel, Renols ek Martinn.
Mo finn osi fer konesans nouvo kamarad: Lorans, Liliann, Yanik, Misel ets.
Finn ena osi nouvel tris: Dede ek Zoel finn kit nou. Zot finn fini galoup zot dernie ferlong …
… Ti pou enteresan si tanzantan ti kapav rezwenn pou mizir distans ki bann lepep kreolofonn finn galoupe dan maraton lavi.
ZOZEF EK SO PALTO LARKANSIEL
Version Morisien Joseph And His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat pe remont lor lasenn an Novam 2014.
Souvan mo panse ki sa opera-rok la li profetik.
So kontribision pou devlopman lang nasional Repiblik Moris li enorm. Aster li kapav vinn enn enstriman devlopman enn nouvo lespri ki pou ed nou fer fas bann gran problem ki pou afekte nou.
Akoz global warming ek sanzman klimatik nou pou rant dan youg marenwar. Pou ena enn long peryod vas meg; lipou blan pou detrir pie rezen; deliz kouma lepok Noe pou nway nou; korbo pou devor nou dipen; kosmar pou aval nou rev.
Bann zenn, tifi kouma garson, bizen met zot palto larkansiel e lerla zot pou reysi geri nou mofinn. Limanite dan mwens ki 300 banane finn reysi detrir enn zoli zarden ki Bondie ti donn nou. Ar nou egoism ek gourmandiz nou finn fer zarden vinn simitier.
Zenerasion ki pe leve pou bizen fer kouma Zozef: konstrir enn nouvo sivilizasion ki baze lor solidarite ek partaz.
LOR LESAFODAZ TRAIZON EK MANSONZ
De semenn desela mo ti ekrir: “Mo kwar ki lalians PTr ek MMM li pa enn move zafer pourvi ki bann dirizan ena enn bon sans priyorite. REPIBLIK MARITIM MORIS pou bizen fer fas enn seri problem ekolozik, ekonomik, politik, sosial ek kiltirel:
• Global warming ek so sanzman klimatik;
• Sekirite alimanter;
• Konstriksion enn nasion;
• Egalite jennder;
• Literesi fonksionel bileng iniversel an Morisien ek Angle.”
Me lider MMM finn fini trair enn prensip fondamantal. Pou li dan swa kandida pou eleksion, kriter jennder ensinifian parski dan so lozik macho-kominalo-karsteis peyna plas pou fam ki reprezant plis ki 50% popilasion Repiblik Moris.
Bann fam bizen donn li enn koreksion. Servi zot vot kouma roten-bazar. Pou ki bann politisien zom koumans respe drwa bann fam fale ki:
• Zot donn zot vot formasion politik ki met omwen enn kandida fam dan sak sirkonskripsion;
• Si pa ena formasion politik ki promouvwar egalite jennder, donn zot vot zis fam;
• Si pa ena kandida fam kot zot vote, vot blan, anil zot bilten.
Me lider MMM pa zis koupab traizon, li osi pe servi mansonz pou kouyonn so elektora. Nenport kisannla ki konpran fonksionnman leta, kone ki dan sistem Wesminster se PM ki ena tou pouvwar. Dan sistem Prezidansiel, se PREZIDAN ki detenir pouvwar. Li kapav, si li ole, deleg enn parti so pouvwar me li repran li si ena katakata. Kan Lider MMM pe dir so dimoun ki kom PM li pou ena pouvwar ki PM Wesminster ena LI PE KOZ MANTI. Zis bann iletre politik ki kapav kwar li.
Li pa pe zis kouyonn so dimoun, li pe osi sem konfizion pou ki li kapav magouye.
Eski Dr Navin Ramgoolam pou aksepte vinn konplis traizon ek mansonz Paul Berenger? Nou gete ki li pou fer.
Yer tanto lor Rajo+ mo ti ekout mo kamarad Rama Sithanen koz lor so program devlopman si li revinn minis finans ek devlopman. Rama pe revizit enn senario klasik. Eski li ena rezon? Eski ‘text-book economics’ valab zordi? Lekonomi mondial zordi li domine par egoism ek gourmandiz. Rezilta: pa devlopman ki pe avanse me inegalite ki pe poste so vilen lagel partou.
Ena filozof devlopman ki pe warning nou lor limit krwasans ek pe dimann reflexion lor enn nouvo stratezi devlopman ki baze lor solidarite ek partaz. Planet Ter pa pou kapav kontinie satisfer nou bann bezwen demezire, eksantrik ek absird. Pa krwasans ki bizen soubasman nou devlopman me realite ekolozik.
Li tris ki mo kamarad Rama pa finn panse pou koz lor ‘SEKIRITE ALIMANTER’. Sekirite alimanter ek sanzman labitid alimanter ek nou stildevi bizen vinn enn fakter fondamantal nou program devlopman. San sa Repiblik Moris pou al drwat ver katastrof.
Si nouvo repiblik pou konsolid sexism (tou pouvwar dan lame zom; prezidan, visprezidan zom; premieminis ek vispremieminis zom; 90 % depite zom); si devlopman vedir krwasans neoliberal; si transformasion kiltirel pa pou fer parski bann lespri aryere pa’le sanzman; si tou pou parey kouma avan, eski volapenn kre nouvo repiblik?
RICH MAN, POOR MAN
Rama Sithanen ena boukou merit. Malgre so lanfans difisil, li finn montre so kouraz ek determinasion. Li entelizan e ardwerker. Sa explik so sikse profesionel.
Me li agasan kan li servi so lanfans difisil kom enn kalifikasion ki garanti bonte ek zenerozite.
Hitler ti konn enn lanfans extra difisil. Sa pa ti anpes li vinn enn bouro. Margaret Thatcher ti tifi enn ti boutikie; li ti entelizan ek ardwerker e grasa so zefor li ti gagn labours pou konplet so ledikasion segonder ek iniversiter. Sa pa ti anpes li vinn ennmi klas travayer. William Wilberforce ti ne dan enn fami bien eze parey kouma Karl Marx e sa pa ti anpes zot amenn enn konba kont esklavaz ek explwatasion travayer respektivman.
Rama, aret zwe ar emosion. Dir nou plito ki to plan pou fer fas global warming, sanzman klimatik, sekirite alimanter, nivo ba literesi ek konstriksion enn idantite sipra-etnik.
Konferansdepres yer par PM ek lider MMM li ti enn liv ouver pou seki anvi lir. Ti ena enn sitiasion kriz parski lelandime ti kapav ena enn lagrev ki ti pou paraliz transpor piblik e amenn difikilte dan lavi boukou dimoun.
PM ti gard so kalm; ti enform popilasion ki li ti finn telefonn lider sendika; ti dimann travayer pa rant dan aksion brit-brit; ti propoz enn rankont dan detrwa zour pou sey regle problem la ets. Lider MMM ti prefer fer so fanor; montre ki li konn plis; servi menas dan enn manier degize.
Erezman lider sendika ek travayer finn swazir sime negasiasion e sa finn bes tansion e diminie friksion.
Tousa finn fer mwa mazinn ‘EKLEZIAST’ dan Ansien Testaman. Ena so ler pou riye; ena so ler pou plore. Sak sezon ena so fler, so fri, so pikan. Asakmoman ena seki chombo renn ek ena seki fer laplans lor vag e dan vag. Asakmoman ena ki kapitenn ek ena ki chokrra.
MITING DIMANS 12.10.2014
To ti malad yer?
Pa ti trouv twa dan miting.
Miting nou bann. Sawsi bizen dir twa? Dir twa Lydi, mo ti dan mangann. Lanbians jos net. Jal, dolok; ravann, maravann. Boukou-boukou zoli nengres. Enn nisa apar!
Ki zot ti dir?
Orater dan miting.
Mo pou dir twa enn sekre. Pa dir sa personn. To promet?
Metres mo bourzwa ti dan miting. Mo dir twa Lydi, enn minn mari sexi. Ler mo yam so kontour, mo gagn tourdisman. Mo konpran kifer so latet finn gate net.
Ki to bourzwa ti dir dan so diskour?
Ler li ti pe koze, so lizie ti kole lor zwe-zwe so lagamsouna. Koumadir samem lasours so enspirasion…. Twa kot to ti ete?
Boner mo ti al lames; apre, mo kopen ek mwa nou ti al Vakwa lor so mobilet; ti ekout enpe e lerla nou ti desann Katborn.
Katborn ti plis nisa pa vre?
Vakwa, Katborn, toulede ti pe serfe lor enn lot planet. Koumadir lanez Grinnlenn pa pe fonn!
Ki grinnlenn to pe koze? Koz jalsa douniya.
Amoris bahout acha.
Dalenn mete langouti
Amoris mete kalson-palto…
Lydi? Kot twa? … Bez sa fam la!
POUVWAR EK PREROGATIV
Dan miting Dimans (12.10.14) dan Katborn, lider MMM ti nians so koze. Li pa ti koz partaz pouvwar parski li finn koumans konpran ki mem si so bann chokrra/chokrri ena kapasite aval ar lapeti so bann envansion lagli, boukou dimoun nepli manz so boul. Alor sa exper kamouflaz la finn koumans sant enn nouvo refren. Dan Deziem Repiblik Prezidan pou ena POUVWAR e PM pou ena PREROGATIV. Si nou konpran ki ete pouvwar, eski nou kone ki ete prerogativ. Enn prerogativ se enn drwa ek privilez ki enn dimoun ena. Kot li gagn sa? Kisannla donn li sa? REPONS: PREZIDAN.
Kifer lider MMM finn sanz parol so sante? SENP! Bann mouvman sosio-kiltirel Endou pa dakor ditou ar ‘partaz pouvwar’. Pa drol ki bann chokrra Berenger pe fer enn latak anreg kont sa bann mouvman sosio-kiltirel me bizen note ki exper kamouflaz pa dir nanye. Li donn lord so bann chokrra al zape for-for.
Me kifer lider MMM pa dir kare-kare ki, dan Deziem Repiblik, Prezidan pou ena tou pouvwar e li pou deleg enn parti so pouvwar ar so PM ki li swazir e ki li kapav limoze? SENP! Ardkor so elektora fondamantalman anti-endou. Zot pou prefer retourn ver PMSD plito ki aksepte zwe deziem violon.
Akoz sa exper kamouflaz ek koustik pe rod nway pwason dan so dilo labou. Li kler ki MMM pa’le konstrir enn nasion larkansiel. Enn nasion larkansiel li vedir ki sak sitwayen ena 2 idantite: idantite etnik (Endou, Mizilman, Kreol ets) ek idantite sipraetnik (Morisien).
MMM ti kont enn Prezidan eli par sifraz iniversel parski li pou vinn enn senbol politik for nou idantite sipraetnik. Pou mem rezon MMM kont devlopman Morisien kouma nou lang nasional parski sa pou enn senbol kiltirel for nou idantite sipraetnik. Aster MMM pe koz Prezidan eli par sifraz iniversel enn tour. Savedir kapav ena enn Prezidan ki pa reprezant enn mazorite dan Repiblik Moris.
Li fondamantal ki Prezidan reprezant plis ki 50%. Akoz sa si neseser, bizen enn deziem tour kot de meyer kandida mate. Bann ki dakor ar konstriksion enn nasion larkansiel, ki fer konfians matirite politik bann sitwayen, bizen ensiste pou ki dan nouvo repiblik Prezidan bizen reprezant plis ki 50% elektora.
ARET FANE, NAVIN!
Mo ti dakor ar twa pou zet baz enn nouvo sivilizasion atraver NOUVO REPIBLIK ki ti pou ed nou fer fas global warming ek so sanzman klimatik; asir sekirite alimanter; kontrol ek konn servi resours nou lamer; promouvwar devlopman enn idantite sipraetnik; konbat sexism e amenn egalite jennder; amenn enn reform profon dan nou sistem edikasion. Malgre zestikilasion to sefdorkes san partision ek so langaz pit latrinn mo ti dispoze pez nene bwar dilwil parski mo ti panse ki to ti pou kapav tini lakord dan likou sef bourik. Abba! Afors to frekant lisien to ‘si to finn ramas pis.
Twa, enn dokter, garson SSR, to kritik enn adverser malad parski li servi servis medikal Repiblik Moris! Sa pasian dializ la li enn sitwayen ki pey tax. Se so drwa servi fasilite medikal so pei.
To finn bien bese dan mo lestim. Lopital Moris zot PA to propriyete prive. Eski to kwar nou pou kapav konstrir enn nouvo repiblik demokratik ek progresis ar sa kalite mantalite la? To kritik bann paseis. Be nek get dan laglas e to pou trouv enn lot paseis ki to bizen kritike.
ENN REPIBLIK, DE PEP, DE KILTIR
Mo ti sezour dan Rodrig ti bien pozitif. Proze 2 diksioner Rodrige – enn diksioner 12,000 mo (Diksioner Rodrige Konple) ek enn ti diksioner anviron 300 mo pou zanfan lekol primer 5-7 an – pe avanse.
Li ti pou enn gran erer enpoz lang Morisien lor zanfan Rodrige. Lang Morisien ek Rodrige bien diferan. Anplis falepa bliye sansibilite enn pep.
Apre eleksion zeneral dan detrwa semenn pou bizen fer gouvernman Repiblik konpran anprofoder spesifisite Rodrig.
“Kan premie fwa Zozef Ek So Palto Larkansiel ti mont lor lasenn teat ti ena trwa kouran panse ki ti pe dominn lespri. Ti ena dabor bann frankofil ki ti exprim outraz parski ti pe permet enn patwa vilger al skwat dan enn lespas kiltirel prestiz rezerve pou gran kiltir; ti ena answit bann gosis ki ti pe akiz Gerard ek mwa parski dapre zot nou ti pe koken kiltir lepep pou ferm li dan mize bourzwa. Pou zot nou ti bann tret ek ipokrit. Trwaziem tandans ti silansie. Zot ti pe anvi konpran ki sa nouvo fenomenn la ti ete: ENN OPERA-ROK AN KREOL?
Depi sa zour la ziska zordi finn ena boukou devlopman e seswar nou pe rezwenn pou gout enn senbol for nou kiltir nasional.
Fidel ar so labitid, Gerard pou donn nou sok lor sok e permet nou rafinn nou pale estetik. Me mwa mo zis anvi koz lor de ti zafer personel. Seswar mo enn granper (Tata an Telegou) fier. Mo premie tizanfan, Anastasia, pe partisip dan sa spektak la. Ki sa deziem zafer la?
Kan mo premie Tifi ki apel Saskia – Loga ek mwa nou ena de, Saskia ek Anushka – ti gagn so deziem zanfan apre Yann, li ti anvi apel so tifi Rachel. Pa kone kifer! Kouma li pa ti konn foul sinifikasion nom Rachel, li ti dimann mwa dimann ‘Tonton’ Gerard fer enn ti resers pou met foul lekleraz lor sa nom la. Lelandime Gerard ti telefonn mwa, exite kouma sipakiete, pou dir mwa ki mama Zozef ti apel Rachel. Tou ezitasion ti mont lor pie.
Okoumansman larkansiel ti pou mwa enn senbol pirman politik me zordi li finn vinn enn senbol spiritiel for: li senboliz lalians ant Bondie ek so bann zanfan lor later. E dan tousa mo enn granper ki ena boukou lasans parski mo bann tizanfan finn vinn zanfan Zozef Ek So Palto Larkansiel.”
(Program Zozef 2014)
ZOZEF 2014 finn montre zeni kreater bann artis Morisien (santer, danser, mizisien, koregraf, teknisien ets.) e sirtou kapasite Gerard Sullivan pou dirize, kree, inove ek transforme. ENPRESIONAN!
Kree an 1981 sa spektak la finn ena enn dimansion profetik parski li finn montre lafors politik ek poetik nou lang nasional, Morisien; parski li finn devlop enn aspirasion pou viv anpe ansam malgre nou diferans; parski li finn donn nou enn senbol for pou konstrir enn nasion: larkansiel ki enn senbol politik, poetik ek spiritiel.
Si nou tou nou met nou palto larkansiel, nou pou reysi fer fas bann gran chalenj ki pe menas nou pli divan. Lavenir pa pou fasil akoz global warming ek tou so konsekans me si mesaz linite, solidarite ek partaz ki dan leker ‘ZOZEF EK SO PALTO LARKANSIEL’ nouri nou lespri ek nou leker nou pou kapav sorti pli for lor ledo larkansiel, enn veritab ‘ars-de-Noe’ spiritiel.
Ena apepre 250 an desala kan Adam Smith ti pe ekrir so liv lor ekonomi (The Wealth Of Nations) li ti bien preokipe par problem moralite parski li ti fini dekouver ki nouvo ekonomi ki ti swiv deklen sistem feodal ek revolision endistriyel, ti roule ar power egoism ek gourmandiz. Me avek letan limanite finn efas dimansion moral dan liv Adam Smith. Rezilta: 1. Krwasans ekonomik finn kraz tou lor so sime e zordi nou planet andanze; 2. Nou lespri finn kabose. Nou kwar ki zis marsandiz ki ena valer. Lamour, lamitie, solidarite ek partaz peyna valer parski pa kapav pez zot lor balans, mizir zot ar santimet ets.
JAB MARYE ANBA PIE PIMA
Kan mo ti enn zenn ti garson, sak fwa ki ti ena lapli ek soley anmemtan, mo ti galoupe al get anba pie pima parski ti ena enn koze ki kan ena lapli-soley, jab marye anba pie pima. Akoz mo lizie ti fixe anba, mo pa ti trouv larkansiel lao dan lesiel. Si mo ti lev mo lizie mo ti pou dekouver inite de kontrer parski larkansiel li pa zis inite dan diversite me li sirtou inite de kontrer (lapli, soley). … Parey kouma lamour ki inite ant de kontrer (enn dimoun ek Bondie; enn fam ek enn zom; enn kalite zom ek enn lot kalite zom; enn kalite fam ek enn lot kalite fam; dimoun ek zot planet; ant dimoun ek zanimo; kiltir etnik ek kiltir nasional ets.)
YOUSOUF EK SO PALTO LARKANSIEL
Komie Morisien kone ki dan Koran, sapit 12 rakont zistwar Zozef ki dan kiltir Islamic reprezant bote fizik ek spiritiel? Zozef li osi konsidere kouma enn gran profet.
Enn lektir sapit 12 dan Koran li kapav ed nou pou konpran pli bien zistwar ki verse 35 a 50 rakont nou dan liv Zenez dan Ansien Testaman.
Sa ekzersis la pou sirman ed Kretien ek Mizilman pran konsians trezor spiritiel ki zot ena ankomen.
DERNIE REPREZANTASION ZOZEF 2014
Yer swar ler rido ti tonbe, ler lasal ti pe devide, ler lasenn ti pe degarni e lalimie ti tengn komie ti rapel ki depi 35 an Gerard Sullivan ek mwa nou ti pe nouri enn laflam, enn lafwa ki enn zour dimoun later set kouler ti pou viv ansam dan lape kouma set kouler dan larkansiel?
Plitar kan ‘ZOZEF EK SO PALTO LARKANSIEL’ pou revinn lor lasenn e ki Zerar ek Dev nepli la, komie pou rapel ki enn fwa dan pei Moris ti ena 2 fouka ki ti konvenki ki zwazo Samarel kapav sant bote larkansiel?
LOGA FINN GAGN 70 AN
Yer swar Saskia ek Sam ti envit lafami pou selebre 70 an Loga. Ti enn fet extra dan prezans Gerard Sullivan.
Kan nou ti zwenn e nou ti dekouver lamour resiprok Loga ti ena 16 an e mwa 19 an. De tinejer ti deside pou konstrir enn koup ek enn fami. Pa ti fasil me nou kapav dir ki nou finn reysi.
Nou 3 tizanfan ti fer diskour. Sa li nou gran fierte. Zot pe grandi bien sa 3 zanfan la!
Lalians ROUZ-MOV finn gagn enn bate bef. Ti previzib parski li ti enn formasion ar de sant pouvwar ek de latet parey kouma zot proze deziem repiblik. Kan enn lide pa kler, difisil pou fer dimoun konpran. Kan dirizan pe trair bann prensip, difisil pou deklans antouziasm. Kan arogans pe nway larezon, difisil pou gagn senpati. Kan mansonz ranplas edikasion enposib pou donn lepep direksion ki bizen. Kan dirizan kwar ki li kapav aste konsians, sitiasion mir pou katastrof.
Eski Lalians Lepep konsian bann gran problem mwayen ek long term kouma sanzman klimatik ek so konsekans, egalite jennder, nivo ba literesi, nesesite devlop kiltir lamer, nesesite ranplas egoism ek gourmandiz par solidarite ek partaz, nesesite enn reform agrer pou asir sekirite alimanter, nesesite enn reform radikal dan sistem edikasion ets.? Ousa li pou kontinie program neoliberal ki pou agrav sitiasion dan pei?
Bien sir Lalians Lepep pou bizen okip problem irzan kouma fournitir dilo ek lozman sosial me si li pa koumans zet baz enn ekonomi zistis sosial bien vit, lepep pou plen ar li e pou balye li parey kouma li finn balye Lalians ROUZ-MOV e zet li dan salte.
Antretan finn ariv ler pou koumans konstriksion enn Parti Sosialis Demokratik ki rezet neoliberalism; ki ankouraz devlopman enn nouvo maynset ki viz konstriksion enn nasion larkansiel – enn nasion progresis, toleran ek zenere; ki promouvwar enn devlopman ekolozikman korek; ki konbat sexism e fer egalite jennder vinn enn realite ets.
Bann militan Travayis ek MMM pou bizen met lord dan zot parti e tras enn nouvo sime devlopman si zot ole anpes zot parti fini dan depotwar.
Prosenn 5 an pou krisial pou Repiblik Maritim Moris. Anou servi nou entelizans pou kree ek inove!
CAPE VERDE (CABO VERDE)
Ti ena boukou koze lor Kap Ver (Cabo Verde) avan eleksion 2014 me ti kasiet laverite fondamantal. Arsipel Kap Ver ki trouv apepre 350 mil alwes Senegal/Moritani dan Osean Atlantik li ena enn sistem semi-prezidansiel avek 2 sant pouvwar. Kan Parti Prezidan kontrol parlman, peyna problem me kan prezidans kontrole par enn parti politik ek parlman par enn lot, lerla konfli ant de pouvwar paraliz leta.
Ala analiz Lydia Beuman ( www. http://presidential-power.com/?cat=283 ) ki finn etidie sa realite la: … “problems started to emerge between the president’s party and the ruling party over the appointment of members of the so-called external organs of parliament such as the Media Regulatory Authority (ARC), the Data Protection Authority (CNPD) and the National Elections Committee (CNE). These nominations need to be approved by a supporting vote of a two-thirds majority in parliament. In other words, the ruling party and the opposition need to reach a consensus on the composition of these organs. Yet the appointments have been delayed several times, leading the ruling party to accuse the opposition of intentionally blocking negotiations.
The absence of political consensus between the two dominant parties has affected the judicial branch as well. Cabo Verde has no constitutional court even though the (revised) 1998 constitution provides for its establishment. This is because the PAICV and the MpD have been unable to reach consensus on the composition of the court. Also the appointment of a new prosecutor-general has been delayed. While the term of the incumbent prosecutor-general formally ended on 11 October 2013, the tug-of-war between the president and prime minister has so far prevented the nomination of a new candidate.
Power sharing has also led to a power struggle over foreign policy issues. In particular, the president and prime minister have publicly disagreed on who should represent Cabo Verde at the Africa summit scheduled for August 2014 in Washington. According to the prime minister, the government is responsible for the foreign policy and not the head of state. The prime minister also made clear that Cabo Verde adopted a semi-presidential system and not a presidential system. The president, for his part, said that it was too early to talk about these issues eight months ahead of the summit.
Legislative and presidential elections are scheduled for February and August 2016, respectively. Yet elections are unlikely to resolve crucial issues such as the nonexistence of a constitutional court. Cabo Verde’s political landscape is dominated by two more or less equally strong political parties. To pass such crucial legislation these parties need to work together, regardless of whether there is cohabitation or not.”
Bizen rekonet ki elektora pou bann diferan rezon finn fer seki ti bizen fer parski Paul Berenger ek Dr Navin Ramgoolam ti pe amenn nou dan trou. Eski zot pa ti kone? Ousa zot ti pe koz manti ar nou pou anbet nou? Dan toulede ka zot koupab.
A FEW THINGS TO REMEMBER
The horrendous crime perpetrated in Paris which led to the death of several journalists and artists has, in general, aroused emotional outbursts, shock, disgust and even anger. It is quite understandable. However we should not allow moral dualism or manichaeism to blind us to the complex nature of any event.
1. Worse, O worse, is the tendency to exaggerate, oversimplify and amalgamate.
How often do we hear people blaming Islam for crimes committed by extremists? Islam is presented as a religion of hatred and violence. This is absurd. It is true that there are verses which may give that impression. Those who want to demonise Islam will quote such verses as:
“Slay them wherever you fall upon them, and expel them from where they had expelled you; apostasy by force is indeed more serious than slaying. Do not fight them near the Holy Mosque unless they fight you therein. If they fight you therein, slay them: such is the reward of unbelievers.” 2.191-2 – The Qur’an translated by Tarif Khalidi, Penguin Classics.
Quoting out of context is not only intellectually dishonest but also dangerous. The Mecca and Medina contexts should not be confused.
Let us take a few examples from other religions. In the Gospel according to Matthew, Jesus said: “ Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s foes will be those of his own household.” Matthew 10: 34-36 – The Bible, Revised Standard Version.
Because Jesus said, “Mo pa finn vini pou amenn lape, me lepe”, should we conclude that Christianity is a religion of destruction or that the verses above show that Jesus was against family values?
The Bhagavad Gita which deals mainly with philosophical and moral concepts also contains passages in which Lord Krishna extols the virtues of war. Are we to conclude that Hinduism is a religion of hatred and destruction? Let it not be forgotten that the Bhagavad Gita inspired Mahatma Gandhi to develop his belief in non-violence.
2. How easy it is to have a selective memory!
Listening to the mainstream media one would feel that western Europe and the USA are peopled by angels straight from heaven. The massacre of Algerians never happened; Palestinians have always had a fair deal; the invasion of Afghanistan, Irak and Lybia never took place; non-whites in Europe and the USA are not victims of discrimination, injustice and repression; multiculturalism is the fuel of everyday life in western Europe; racial profiling (delit de facies) is a sordid invention by those who are against the ‘civilised world’; etc. etc.
If we want genuine and satisfactory solutions we must not lose sight of a complex network of interdependent linkages among different historical, political, social and cultural realities. Oversimplification and dualism are recipes for disaster.
3. Freedom O Freedom!
Satirists and caricaturists have enormously contributed to the development of art and to the opening of new aesthetic and moral horizons. However they have always been careful not to abuse and slander for their aims are not to ridicule and humiliate but to educate and enlighten. But now there seems to be a new trend. It seems fashionable, all of a sudden, to think that freedom of expression should be absolute without any limit. This provocative attitude can irritate and exacerbate tension. But let it be clear that it gives no right to anybody to resort to murder to seek redress. Counter your aggressor with the same weapon: i.e satire and caricature.
4. The way ahead
The way ahead will not be smooth because of a set of serious issues which will definitely check and frustrate our attempts to find a way out. Neoliberal greed on the one hand and global warming on the other are the two main stumbling blocks. Finding solutions to global warming and inventing a new economic system based on solidarity and sharing are vital not only to the survival of humanity but also to the ensuring of sustainability. What we have known so far is the prehistory of humanity. Let us now together build the new world based on love and sharing, a heaven on earth.
TILTING AT WINDMILLS 1
After the 1983 general elections, the then Minister of Finance (also the NOW Minister of finance) discovered that we had become a nation of gamblers (enn nasion zougader) and among his great initiatives was the decision to raise the lottery stakes substantially. If my memory serves me right, the first prize went from some hundred thousand rupees to a million. Was the aim to reduce gambling? Or was it to whet people’s appetite for easy money?
When Mr Vishnu Lutchmeenaraidoo (A.K.A Razwar) was the special adviser of Paul Raymond Berenger (A.K.A Iznogoud) he proposed that the state of Mauritius should go into the gold business. Buy when gold is cheap and sell when the price goes up. How thrilled were Iznogoud and Raj Meetarbhan of l’Express by this proposal which according to them would save the nation of gamblers by making our country THE GAMBLER STATE.
Between 1983 and 2015 the greed for easy money has grown to monstrous height and the economy has become casino-lusty. Now Financial Razwar rediscovers America on the map. Nasion Zougader is vibrant. To curb the greed for easy money he proposes an intensification of gambling activities to save the casino-economy and the gambler state.
Don Quixote is furious that he has been beaten at his own game of tilting at windmills not only by Financial Razwar but also by trigger-happy Ecology Rambo who is excellent at treading on forbidden grounds in his muddy military boots.
In the meantime urgent issues such as:
• global warming and climate change in its wake;
• food security and sustainable development;
• gender equality;
• renewable sources of energy;
• serious flaws in the education system etc.
• the need to fight greed and selfishness and build an economy based on solidarity and sharing
are left unattended.
During 2014 when both Two-Headed and Jump-On-Bandwagon alliances were taking shape; when election campaigns were roaring; and now that a new government is in place, one thing that strikes anybody of average intelligence is that old and new heroes have carefully avoided and are nonchalantly avoiding issues such as global warming, climate change, food security, sustainable development, gender equality, renewable sources of energy, serious flaws in the education system, the need to fight greed and selfishness and build an economy based on solidarity and sharing. Why is that so? The answer is not too difficult to find although vested interests are very active to blind us to reality. Don’t we regularly read and hear that:
• there is too much government;
• politics must take the rear seat;
• deregulation and privatisation are universal panacea;
• solar power is nonsense for it rains too much;
Yes, neoliberal ideology reigns supreme.
Economic pundits, mainstream politicians, ideological turncoats, bourgeois opinion leaders and self-proclaimed journalists all sing in unison the glory of capitalism, the beauty of absolute laissez-faire freedom, the soul-soothing salvation in the liberating energy of greed and selfishness. Left-wing thinkers and militants are pooh-poohed for right-wingers can only be (arrogantly) right. This has been going on for quite some time now. But the scene is changing.
‘HOPE BEGINS TODAY’: SYRIZA’S RISE TO POWER
The far-left party Siriza and government led by Alexis Tsipras in Greece are bound to generate new hope and enthusiasm throughout the world. Orthodox socialists and social-democrats have to undergo some soul-searching exercise. Pseudo-socialists turned neoliberals, please abstain!
But please understand that we are not suggesting aping and mimicking. We rather suggest that a thorough appraisal of the objective reality in each country will yield specific strategies, tactics, approaches and methods. What recent changes are showing is that it is possible for Maoists, Trotskyists, Guevarists, Gramscists, green-militants, anti-neoliberals to work together on a common programme; it is possible to build democratic socialism using a democratic election system; that ‘TINA’ (there is no alternative) is bullshit.
Please do understand that it is not a question of subjective resolve but what is dictated by objective conditions. Global warming, the result of humans’ negative impact on nature, a phenomenon caused by our greed and selfishness will force us to learn to live differently, to produce and consume differently, to build new relationships with nature, to encourage solidarity and sharing.
We are lucky in Mauritius that 3 BRICS countries, namely South Africa, India and China, are our neighbours and also countries with which we have strong and deep historical, genetic and cultural affinities.
Mainstream political parties have either been drowned in the quagmire of constant neoliberal conditioning and reflexes OR have been corrupted beyond recognition, repair or redemption. Without succumbing to crude ageism, we must also admit that most of our left-wing leaders and intellectuals are now SENIOR CITIZENS. Far from us the thought that they are ‘has been’, ‘vie siko’ or ‘dinozor’. Through their experience and knowledge they can help in the development of a new democratic radical socialist party which alone can be the spearhead of radical change. But most important of all, we must prepare the grounds for the emergence of new charismatic leaders with intellectual and political clout. At a later stage, that party may have to build links with other progressive organisations. Let’s not jump the gun!
The time is now to start work. Either we wither or we find whither to go.
NO TO CAPITAL PUNISHMENT!
IT HAS NEVER BEEN A SOLUTION!
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. New Testament
This is true knowledge, to seek the Self as the true end of wisdom always. To seek anything else is ignorance. Bhagavad Gita
Whoever knows himself knows God. Prophet Muhammad
Since the recent elections there has been an ongoing vociferous outburst of irrationality championing and supporting capital punishment as a solution to horrendous crimes. Those who want to know do know that capital punishment has never reduced crime and this is why civilised countries have been systematically getting rid of it. Only diseased minds still stick to their delusions.
Violent criminal behaviour can be generated by a whole assortment of causes. They include poverty, unemployment, poor education, greed for easy money and certain mental conditions ranging from depression to schizophrenia. It is NOT being suggested here that these social and medical conditions automatically trigger violent actions but it has been observed that intake of drugs and/or alcohol definitely lead to uncontrolled violent action which can have tragic consequences.
Nature (genetic factors) and nurture (economic, social, emotional and cultural environnment) combine to cause profound disruption in the lives of patients and people around them. Typical symptoms are: delusions (believing things that are not true); hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not there); disorganized thinking ; agitation; disorganized speech (e.g., frequent derailment or incoherence); grossly disorganized behavior; lack of drive or initiative; social withdrawal; apathy and emotional unresponsiveness . (http://psychcentral.com/). But it must be remembered that only a small fraction of schizophrenics have a violent behaviour.
About 1% of the world population suffers from this mental condition but the rate may go up if the environment is hostile and stressful. Psychiatrists, anthropologists and neurolinguists think that a language policy of the type which prevails here in Mauritius may produce these undesired effects. In our country there may be more than 15, 000 patients suffering from different forms of schizophrenia and if 10% of them are prone to violent behaviour, we have a serious problem to cope with.
KILL OR CURE?
Taking into consideration the medical and social background of those brought down by reflexes they cannot control, we cannot allow gung-ho, trigger-happy Ramboes to whip up blood-thirsty mobs ready to lynch so-called offenders. New practices in prison management and rehabilitation programmes have yielded positive results in Mauritius and abroad. Let us ignore these Middle Ages morons and get on with our humane work and responsibilities.
QUO VADIS MAURITIUS?
The short-lived honeymoon is over. The infatuation between the people (lepep) and the EXTENDED FAMILY LEPEP GOVERNMENT (EFLG) is already on the wane. People are now drifting slowly but steadily from etherised slumber into a nightmarish Kafkaesque situation. They suddenly realise that they have been taken for a ride.
Even Paul Berenger now understands that his good REMAKE pals are dangerous. It has taken him more than TWO months to have only a partial understanding of his big poilitical blunder and he has a long way to go to become fully aware that his excessive power-sharing penchant is at the root of his political rout.
Those who from the right copiously poured unwarranted praises at the feet of the old patriarch or gave him the benefit of the doubt from the far left have a lot of rethinking to do.
EFLG have already shown their appetite for arbitrariness and abuse of power and the less they deliver, the more brutal and antidemocratic they will become. The feel-good factor of the very early days has vanished, eroded and corroded by unkept promises of good governance, systematic witch-hunt, zero understanding of gender politics and blatant ignorance of the ways global warming and climate change are threatening our lives.
WHAT DO WE DO NOW?
• It is imperative that we build an OPPOSITION COMMON FRONT (OCF) inside and outside parliament to face and defeat totalitarian tendencies and practices. The MMM should not out of sheer strategic stupidity drive dissidents within the party into the enemy’s arms. Without contracting a formal alliance, the MMM can devise a working arrangement with the Labour Party.
• Local government elections are coming. If we cannot unite the many to defeat the few we will have only ourselves to blame when the enemies of democracy and nation building get complete power to impose mediocrity on us.
• Difficult moments are often the best times to come forward with new ideas. Why can’t the LP choose a Muslim to be the parliamentary and extra-parliamentary leader. Shakeel Mohamed can do a fine job. There’s no point moaning about our not being able to develop a national identity when we refuse to seize an opportunity just because conservatism holds us by the throat.
Seize the time! Seize the day! Now is the time for a new praxis.
THE THREE GREENS
I said on several occasions that it was a pity that before, during and after the last general elections (December 2014) none of the main protagonists bothered to even mention – not even in passing – the need to be prepared to face the consequences of global warming and climate change. For them the problem does not exist. If it does exist, it is not important. If it is important, it is not vote-catching for people are too stupid to understand. O admirable people! The Extended Family Alliance (Lepep) and the Power-Sharing Duovirate (Modernite) were more interested in filling coffers and finding juicy postings for relatives and friends.
While this boring rigmarole was going on, climate experts were warning the world of serious dangers threatening our planet and putting human life at stake. While a few young ecology activists like Yann Hookoomsing or Jeff Lingaya were trying to sensitise people on some urgent green issues, mainstream politicians were bent on flogging dead horses. Three months after the last elections the old scratched vinyl record is still on. And fools are still waiting for Godot to come.
In the meantime the situation is not getting any better. Sea level is rising and Environment King Canute still believes he can order the waves to recede. Local John Smith and his Pocahontas are still digging for gold while many have now found their true self: how to become ‘Dirty Harry’. The weather pattern is changing and yet sycophants and cronies claim that we are being blessed. While flooding is on the daily menu the Grand Old Patriarch has still not found his code, key and cue.
DENIERS AND OTHERS
It cannot be business as usual. There will always be deniers who are bribed into feathering vested interest’s bed and their own in the process. But that will not change reality. Global warming and climate change willy-nilly are operating devastating changes to our habitat, threatening our very existence. As more and more people start to feel the brunt of the matter both self-seekers and yesterday’s adamant deniers will try to suggest solutions which will preserve the privileges of the few. Three trends will emerge:
• Green Capitalism, the ideology of those who through their selfishness and greed have brought about this catastrophic situation. They will strive through technological solutions such as nuclear energy and geoengineering – Solar Radiation Management (SRM) and Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) – to maintain the present social structure which will enrich a handful to the detriment of masses of people.
• Green Fascism, the ideology of those who think they should have the power to decide who should live and who should die when all resources become scarce and inadequate.
• Green Socialism, the ideology of egalitarians who believe in grassroots democracy, gender equality, solidarity and sharing.
NO SILVER PLATTER
Egalitarians will not be served on a silver platter. It’s going to be a tough fight for survival. Green socialists have to learn to live with the masses like fish in water; have to teach people and learn from them. Facebook ‘like’ ticks are certaily not enough.
GREEN SOCIALISM PRE-MANIFESTO
(TO MY YOUNGER FRIENDS)
I doubt that neoliberalism with its technology arsenal will save the planet and human civilisation. It will simply make matters worse. Green fascism must be nipped in the bud. The only solution left for us and humanity at large is GREEN SOCIALISM. What does this mean? I cannot pretend that I can offer a comprehensive, detailed plan. This can only be the product of experienced green socialists working in close collaboration with grassroots activists and who through this specific praxis have become organic intellectuals of the people fighting for their survival. All I can do is offer to my younger friends some suggestions which are the result of some 50 years of studies and odservation.
IMPACT AND EFFECTS OF GLOBAL WARMING
• rise in sea levels and a change in the amount and pattern of precipitation;
• severe weather conditions;
• expansion of subtropical deserts;
• heat waves, droughts, heavy rainfall, and heavy snowfall;
• ocean acidification;
• species extinctions due to shifting temperature regimes;
• threat to food security from decreasing crop yields;
• the loss of habitat from flooding.
Neither the world nor Mauritius will be as we know them today and we must prepare ourselves collectively to face the difficulties of living differently in a different world.
A FEW THINGS MAURITIANS MUST ANTICIPATE:
• beach tourism as we know it will be a thing of the past;
• globalisation will be replaced by protectionism;
• we will have to grow what we eat and eat what we grow;
• private cars will be replaced by public tranport systems powered by photovoltaic panels;
• burning of fossil fuels will be banned;
• we will have to develop and strenthen reciprocal cooperative links principally with Reunion, the Seychelles, Madagascar, the Comoros, south and east Africa;
• the development of a maritime and seafaring culture will be a must in terms of marine biology and solar and wind powered marine engineering;
• the education system will have to be completely overhauled;
• nation building will be a top priority;
• there must be generalised computer literacy and internet connections;
• gender equality must become the rule;
• democracy must not just be a system of government but must become a way of life present in all fields (economic, political, social and cultural) etc.
Land is a fundamental and sacred resource. We will need it principally to ensure food security and for the building of homes for all. Speculation and the use of precious land to build sumptuous villas for the world’s super-rich is certainly out of the question.
Food security does not merely mean producing what is traditionally consumed but rather exploring new possibilities. I am convinced that a slow shift to breadfruit as the staple will boost up national food security efforts. We should also seize this opportunity to adopt a new nutritional culture to fight obesity and diseases connected with it.
Gender equality should replace patriarchy. Sustainable development based on sharing and solidarity means a new kind of relationship between men and women and also a more humane and tolerant attitude towards people with different sexual orientations.
Universal literacy can be achieved only if we are prepared to face the truth. Primary schooling in its present form does not generate a high level and rate of basic literacy; most Mauritians are semi-lingual and semi-literate, having a meagre smattering of two or more languages, but unable to master any of them properly; a dynamic bilingualism featuring Mauritian Creole (MC) and English can be achieved with a judicious language policy. This universal literacy and MC/English bilingualism will promote learning as a continuous life enhancing process and favour greater creativity.
Locally centered economy is well worth investigating into. For example we could reorganise Mauritius into 20-25 autonomous municipalities endowed with various economic, political, social and cultural activities and institutions. Within a municipality people will use muscular power (walk or cycle) and solar-powered public transport would service inter-municipal travels. Rodriguans will decide how they want to do it.
When the national creative genius is freed from the fetters of greed, selfishness, obscurantism and conservatism, thousands of new ideas will emerge to help us face our growing difficulties. In the process we will certainly become the rainbow nation where ‘UNITY IN DIVERSITY’ will not be just a slogan but the very essence of our identity made up of both centripetal and centrifugal reflexes in harmonious self-reinforcing relationship.
I went to sleep and had a dream on Caliban’s island which the great Pandav Yudishtir, Merlin’s cousin, called a Creole Island. A beautiful dream it was. The royal court had met for a debate presided over by the king himself.
Patricians and plebians discussed the need to make of democracy not just a system of government but a vibrant way of life. Even notorious antimonarchists were given a free rein to challenge royal prerogative.
Should there not be democracy at home? Should dick-headed Hubby be allowed to give free vent to his barbaric impulses? Does it mean that the thing should become no-thing? Or should the thing rather realise that it is nothing without no-thing?
Kids asked to have a say in the matter and moreover claimed that at home and at school they should be actors not extras.
A well-known loon, Master Loony, stood up and talked, and talked and talked. Some laughed, a few listened and most went to sleep. He thought that the sea level was rising because the snows of Kilimanjaro were melting because too many cows were farting. He was against the production and consumption of sugar for sugar breeds diabetes. He would rather grow sugar low, high fibre carbon neutral cane to generate energy.
All Calibanians should use their bikes to fight obesity and be fit for marital and extramarital joys and duties. Moreover they should learn to live with, in, on, through the sea, a vital part of their environment.
Slobbering soft-brained Potty Prospero snored while his extended family retinue waited for the signal to cheer or boo. But there was no signal for the Grand Old Patriarch had lost his cue in slumber.
Histrionic loud-noise Empty Pampered Rusty Barrel tried to silence Master Loony but that woke up His Majesty who reminded histrionic EPRB that he should wait for his turn.
Potty Prospero mumbled something which sounded like, “No turn if no return!”
Master Loony continued with his vision of solidarity and sharing, of the limits of growth, of the need to develop worker councils and empowered cooperatives, to reduce carbon footprints; of the importance of literacy and gender equality. Suddenly the door barged open and exiled King Canute fresh from his ashram, dreaming that in a previous life he was Dirty Harry, a feared sheriff, entered with fracas. He ordered the debate to be stopped for he had a most important announcement to make. He wanted his male progeny fresh from his groin to be made king.
There was general panic but suddenly a peal of reverberated laughter swept through the hall. That was Master Loony’s doing and …. I woke up.
Like Caliban “I cried to dream again.”
THE NEW gods
Did you doubt that Mauritians are the most religious people on earth? Did you doubt that God made Mauritius first and then used it as a model to build heaven? Did you doubt that we have loads of shamans, rainmakers, witch-doctors, voodoo priests, demigods, quasigod only a little below God in status who are authentic miracle makers? Well you were wrong for you didn’t realise that there was a special dog (sorry!) god for Mauritius.
Every new dawn and twilight, every waxing and waning crescent, every moon and sun partial or total eclipse, neophyte worshippers of new avatars pull out of empty hats, helmets and pagri(s) rabbits, dead ducks, special rings and branded watches.
All Mauritians, from conception to death … O heresy! Mauritians do not die. They have learnt from Sir Gaetan Duval how to pretend to be dead …. Mauritian boundless faith ignores time and space for we have the gift of miracle making. Some three decades ago armed with a miraculously materialised new avatar ring, putting Harry Potter to shame, our local Merlin a.k.a Ustad Taye-Raze, snapping his miraculous and avatar blessed fingers, metamorphosed a backward, illiterate, plague-ridden island into a brave new world. Only some faithless blockhead with a warped mind, some green-eyed monster, could suggest that he was helped by certain local and international circumstances. How could that be? Don’t you have any faith in the new avatar? Shame on you!
Today we are all hanging on his blessed lips which like a washerless faucet will spew out a kilometric string of incomprehensible mantras, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
Behold how he will be applauded!
We have just been the browbeaten witnesses of a political miracle which has ushered a healthy period of sane persecution, a legitimate thirst for blind revenge, an orgasmic urge to witch hunt, a supernatural desire to lynch. We have been promised several more miracles. Blessed be those who perform miracles galore! Ye ungrateful wretch, don’t you dare sneer.
All men and women will henceforth be androgynous (yoni and linga combined) to help them understand gender equality; all children will be made functionally literate in Sanskrit and Latin to force them appreciate language purity; to green Mauritius, trees will be planted everywhere in schoolyards and classrooms, on motorways and runways. A miraculous pill a day will replace food intake and keep the doctor away; rainfall will be thermostat controlled; King Canute and his offspring will halt the upward march of the tide; King Hippocrates will place all his qualified Amazons in strategic places to stand against pathological attacks; all fridge doors will be left open by law to cool the atmosphere; women will henceforth be ordered to give birth to children with wings to solve once for all the perrenial transport problem; local John Smith and his Pocahontas will, with a miraculous Midas touch, turn tin into gold; unlimited growth will skyrocket to new heights without any harm to the planet. There will be income equality, compulsory expenditure equality, and unanimity of the graveyard.
Silence, you nitwit! All our shamans, disguised as Dirty Harry, are at work. Watch for the next string of miracles.
ENN BIDZE KOUYONER
OU ENN TA SENN DAN VID
Bidze 2015-2016 se enn bidze kouyoner. Ala kifer:
1. Minis finans dir ki so bidze li enn bidze ‘no-tax’. Manti sa! Depi ki li finn kit MMM pou redekouver lasours enspirasion dan lizie SAJ, VL trouve ki pandan 10 an, fose ant ris ek pov finn grandi. Ris finn vinn pli ris ek pov finn vinn pli pov akoz enn sistem tax ki favoriz bann ris e kraz kor malere. Li ti fer kwar ki li ti pou sanz sistem tax pou fer ris pey plis pou ki bann pov gagn enn meyer lavi. Li ti fer kwar ki VAT ti pou bese ousa disparet pou tou prodwi ki malere konsome. Gouvernman dominer avan ti pe fer milioner ek mandian pey parey; enn senp ti polisie ousa enn ti profeser lekol primer ti pey 15% parey kouma miliarder. Lepep finn glis lor so diber. Aster ki pouvwar dan so lame VL pe fer parey kouma ansien gouvernman. Li ena toupe koz ‘no tax’ kan li pe servi mem enstriman ‘dominer’ ki ti servi avan li. Kikfwa li pa konn diferans ant ‘no tax’ ek ‘no new tax’!
2. Minis finans dir ki li pou amenn partaz dan pei. Zordi anviron 1% popilasion Repiblik Moris posed 90% larises nou pei. Savedir anviron 12,000 dimoun posed 90 sou dan sak roupi; 1,188,000 partaz 10 sou dan sak roupi. Dan so diskour kas-kase (pa konfonn ar kas-pake) pa ti ena nanye lor partaz. Okontrer gro lamone pe aplodi parski neoliberalism ortodox ki anrisi enn ti minorite 1% pe vinn ankor pli for. 90% pou kriy lasasen pli divan.
3. Minis finans fer nou kwar ki so bidze kouyoner pou sov planet TER fasa global warming ek sanzman klimatik. Dan enn mem souf li koz proteksion anvironnman ek foraz ofshor kan tou dimoun ki finn konpran problem la dir ki ‘bizen ki konbistib fosil res anba later’. Minis finans kontan manz banann dan 2 bout.
4. Minis finans promet ki li pou revolisionn ledikasion me li pa kone ki nou sistem prodwir 70% semiletre ek iletre. Pa finn ena okenn reflexion anprofonder. Wi Misie minis, fasil fer enn rezime ou sinema. 5 mo: Enn Ta Senn Dan Vid.
ARET MET SARET DIVAN BEF
Parmi bann teknokrat neoliberal ena enn nouvo slogan lamod (buzzword): lavil smart (SMART CITIES). Ena global warming? Ena sanzman klimatik? Lanatir finn vinn fou? Nou planet malad? Fose ant ris ek pov pe grandi? Ensekirite anpes dimoun dormi? KASPALATET! Nou ranz boukou-boukou-boukou LAVIL SMART partou-partou-partou.
Ki ete sa, lavil smart? Tinekonnpa, fatra? Lavil smart li modern, li zoli; li zoli, li smart! Mari frengan. Dimann Misie Narendra Modi, li pou dir twa. Enn lavil pez bouton, nisa vini. Pez bouton, lalimier alime; pez bouton lalimier tengn; pez bouton, ordir disparet; pez bouton, manze vinn lor latab; pez bouton, bounga-bounga; pez bouton, trafik nepli jam …
Propriyeter vila ek flat delix dormi san traka; kadna kadnase; kamera sirveyans sirveye; travayer parke dan site satelit servi pas pou rantre pou netway lari, pou repar rezo, batiman, biro; pou okip lakaz misie ek madam me aswar fonndos, pa gat bote peizaz. Ki pli bon ki sa?
Aswar dan santvil smart, restorann ofer manze erotik-ekzotik; kabare-teat ofer spektak eroik-erotik-ekzotik; loto roule priz parski peyna plas pou kachakcharli. Dan rev pa gagne sa kalite zwisans!
Pardonn mwa lekter admirab. Pa gard dan leker. Pa gard mwa dan zwen. Mo kwar Ustad John Smith ek so Pocahontas, enspire par zeni enkontinan Gran Patriyark Tribal eternelman zenn, pe rekouyonn ou. Anplis karism Narendra Modi finn manitiz li e li finn desid swiv lizie ferme Margaret Thatcher version Endien. Bare lakes! Bel treboul pli divan.
Dan Lenn bann lavwa derezonab ar lespri kabose kouma mwa pe kriye:
• nou pa’le lavil smart; nou’le lavil kot dimoun kapav viv kouma dimoun;
• nou’le ler prop pou nou respire;
• nou pa’le nou zanfan vinn asmatik;
• nou’le transpor piblik efikas;
• travayer, pa zis bourzwa, bizen enn lakaz konfortab pou grandi so fami kouma bizen;
• tidimoun ‘si bizen dilo prop ek potab 24/7;
• tidimoun bizen kouran 24/7;
• sak lakaz bizen konekte ar toutalegou;
• nou bizen lapis spesial de kote sime pou siklis ek motosiklis;
• santvil bizen vinn zonn pieton;
• tou dimoun bizen konn lir ek ekrir pou ki zot kapav servi konpyouter ek enternet;
• nou’le trotwar lor ki nou kapav marse san rant dan trou;
• bizen ena fasilite pou seki roule lor fotey roulan ets.
• Kan fini okip tousa, lerla kapav koz lavil smart. Pa met saret divan bef!
NOU BIZEN BANN MINISPALITE OTONOM
Olie fer zako e imit bann nouvo lamod, nou bizen prepare pou fer fas bann gran problem ki deryer laport akoz GLOBAL WARMING EK SO ZIMO SIAMWA, SANZMAN KLIMATIK. Bann neoliberal kouma Narendra Modi ek Gran Patriyark Lakavern ek so tribi ansam ar bann ideolog teknokratik dedrwat, pe fer nou kwar ki teknolozi pou sov nou planet. Zot servi taktik detourn latansion pou anpes nou reflesi; san pitie zot explwat ignorans lepep admirab pou ki zot kapav angres kofor gran misie e anmemtan plen seki pou zot.
Bann ki asiz lor latet piramid, zot lespri bouse akoz zot kouma kamaron. Solision pa pou vinn depi lao. Solision pou sorti dan later anba ler lepep dekouver manigans bann kouyoner. Bann militan ekolozi sosialis ki finn vinn bann entelektiel organik lepep anmars pou kone kouma pou amenn mouvman dan bon direksion. Sak minispalite otonom pou ena so lespas rezidansiel, agrikol, endistriyel, kiltirel, medikal ek sosial. Alenteryer enn minispalite, dimoun pou servi lenerzi miskiler pou zot deplasman (lipie, bisiklet, trisik); transpor ant de minispalite pou fer par bis ousa tram elektrik ki ekipe ar pano foto voltaik. Prodiksion, distribision ek konsomasion pou organize dan enn lot manier pou evit gaspiyaz sistem kapitalis.
Mo tann bann neoliberal pe boufonn mwa. Pa fer nanye! Sistem kapitalis finn fini fouy so tom. Aster veritab lepep, pa mamlouk Lakavern, pou bizen reorganiz lavi pou ki dime ena sourir lor figir nou zanfan ek tizanfan.
Anou Aret Zot Lelan! Anou Dir Zot Aret Met Saret Divan Bef!
THERE THEY GO AGAIN!
The new buzzword among local neoliberals, specially those who have just discovered a new flamboyant intellectual-cum-spiritual flame in the person of Mr Narendra Modi is: SMART CITIES. Don’t try to define the term. The vaguer it is, the better. It works like magic, blows up your fantasy and keeps you erect and happy. You need no longer worry about global warming, climate change, insecurity, loss of love and friendship, frustration that your life has become pointless. Just regurgitate the mantra ‘smart city’ and soon you’ll be in blissful slumber.
But what the hell does it mean? Nobody knows and it doesn’t matter. Just remember that a new avatar has decreed that a hundred such places will soon emerge from the sacred ground of India; that upper and upper middle classes will have their gated, modern, fully wired sanctuaries; that for these chosen ones it will be permanent dolce vita and instant bunga-bunga; that all around these cities at a reasonable and respectful distance there will be satellite townships which will be packed with lower classes and marginals who must know that their karma compels them to a life of misery. As reparation these underdogs must service the smart cities laboriously, diligently to earn a better status when they are reborn.
But in the land of avatars loud voices of protest are being heard. People do not want smart cities; they want livable places where they can have decent homes, unpolluted air, running water, constant power supply; a good sewage system, good public transport, special tracks for cyclists, safe pavements, facilities for people forced to use a wheelchair, pedestrian zones, employment opportunities not too far from home, access to literacy and eventually computer literacy etc.
The elite and the grassroots do not have the same aspiration and requirements.
AND IN MAURITIUS?
A small island is much more vulnerable to havoc wreaked by global warming and climate change but at the same time we also have great possibilities if we use our imagination and stop aping others who live in a different context. We must not wait for the last moment to start implementing survival plans. It has been suggested that we divide Mauritius and Rodrigues into a set of autonomous municipalities each having its own political/administrative, agriculture, industrial, culture, leisure, health and other zones. All streets should have special cycle tracks; town centres should be pedestrian precincts; electric vehicles are to be used for special purposes (ambulances, fire engines etc); solar-powered buses and light trams could service inter municipal transport.
In due course we will have to ban fossil fuels; to ensure food security by growing what we eat and eating what we grow; to accept the limits of growth; to ensure that in each municipality all citizens have decent homes with running water, constant power supply and a good sewage system.
We cannot expect those who are responsible for the impending disaster to provide solutions. They will only think of ways and means of getting richer. They will put the cart before the horse, make matters worse and pooh pooh anyone who does not think like them.
Only leaders with a new mindset in close communion with the masses have any chance of doing the world some good.
MMM’S FUITE EN AVANT
After its recent debacle, you would have expected the MMM to start a genuine soul-searching exercise to understand the whys and the wherefores of its catastrophic rout and third defeat in a row. Come off it mate! Self-criticism and MMM are contradiction in terms. Since 1973 its favourite line of defence has been mud-slinging, copping out and search for scapegoats. You want me to change, MOI? NEVER! It’s so easy to duck the issues. The fault is in our stars, Ramgoolam’s blunders, mass hysteria, media ignorance, a minority of opportunistic scabs who sneaked their way into the sanitised fold. The page has been turned and a new chapter is being written in invisible ink to keep off undesirables.
The obsessive power-sharing penchant is not to blame. Far from it. Is it not normal, reasonable and logical that someone who is elected by ONE constituency should have all state powers on becoming prime minister and the one elected by universal suffrage, popular vote and TWENTY-ONE constituencies should just be a figurehead? Since it has been shown that the semi-presidential system in Cape Verde (Cabo Verde) is not the good model of democratic power-sharing presented to us before 2014 general elections, now our sight is being redirected towards another beautiful examplary model: Tunisia. Another hairless rabbit pulled out of a decrepit old hat!
Now that he has his Vaish secretary general, the non-racist, non-communal, non-casteist, 100% merito-democratic leader of the MMM is ready to face the glorious task of conquering state power in the shadow of another Vaish giant. Let us not anticipate problems if ever the Vaish shield starts to have a mind of his own.
Listening to the superlative leader of the MMM one has the impression that issues linked to global warming and climate change are mere inventions of a diseased mind. MMM leadership wants to ignore the following fundamental problems and difficulties:
• rise in sea levels and a change in the amount and pattern of precipitation;
• severe weather conditions;
• heat waves, droughts and heavy rainfall;
• ocean acidification;
• species extinctions due to shifting temperature regimes;
• threat to food security from decreasing crop yields;
• the loss of habitat from flooding.
• beach tourism as we know it will probably be a thing of the past;
• globalisation will be replaced by protectionism;
• the need to grow what we eat and eat what we grow;
• private cars to be replaced by public transport systems powered by photovoltaic panels;
• the need to ban the burning of fossil fuels;
• the development of a maritime and seafaring culture in terms of marine biology and solar and wind powered marine engineering;
• the need to overhaul the education system;
• make of nation building a top priority;
• development of universal literacy together with computer literacy and internet connections;
• gender equality to replace patriarchy;
• democracy to become a way of life vibrant in all fields (economic, political, social and cultural) etc.
Instead of paying lip service to the concept of a rainbow nation, he and his secretary general must tell us what they propose to do to free the national creative genius from the fetters of greed, selfishness, obscurantism and conservatism. How do they propose to build a rainbow nation where ‘UNITY IN DIVERSITY’ will not be just a slogan but the very essence of our identity made up of both centripetal and centrifugal reflexes in harmonious mutually self-reinforcing relationship?
The leader and his secretary general must try hard to understand (if they can) that there is no future in the blind thoughtless headlong drive into nowhere.
GIVE A DOG A BAD NAME …
In the land of semilingualism where people have a smattering of two or more languages but believe they are fluent speakers of these languages; where most people have a poor mastery of even their own mother tongue of which they are ashamed; where 70% of people are semiliterate but think they are bilingual/trilingual literates and yet they are unable to write a grammatically correct and semantically coherent sentence in any of the languages they think they have mastered, there’s bound to be general mental confusion. Such a land can easily become the home of half-baked intellectuals with half-baked notions and arguments who use arrogance and bluff to hide their ill-digested concepts which in our beautiful national language is termed ‘fer vadire’.
Over the years, I’ve collected a few specimens of this syndrome which for want of a better term could be called the ‘fer vadire syndrome’. Let us look at at least one example from some fields of knowledge.
I. THE WORLD OF FINANCE: For some ‘ponzi scheme’ is now a buzzword to harass and embarass opponents. It is used in such a loose way that it could mean anything. Any semanticist will tell you that a word which means too much finally means nothing and that is equally true for ‘ponzi scheme’. For those who know it means one thing. It is “a fraudulent investment operation where the operator, an individual or organization, pays returns to its investors from new capital paid to the operators by new investors, rather than from profit earned by the operator. Operators of Ponzi schemes usually entice new investors by offering higher returns than other investments, in the form of short-term returns that are either abnormally high or unusually consistent.” (Wikipedia) Those who have expert knowledge in the field have already refuted half-baked arguments and ill-digested knowledge of ponziwalas.
II. IN LANGUAGE STUDIES: The word ‘dialect’ is often misused or thought to have a pejorative meaning. What does it mean? It is a particular form of a language that is peculiar to a specific region or social group. For example in England there are several dialects of English which are spoken and written such as Cockney English, Liverpudlian English etc. The standard form known as RP (Received Pronunciation) is also a dialect of English but it is most prestigious because it is used by famous institutions such as universities, the BBC etc. In Mauritius it is conceived as a non-language. How often do we hear half-baked intellectuals clamour that Morisien (Mauritian Creole) is a patois/ dialect but not a language. Ask them what they mean and you’ll get a dumb answer.
III. IN EDUCATION: Whenever discussions start on the right medium of instruction to ensure mastery of literacy and promote learning, an avalanche of misconceptions and preconceived ideas sweep through the land. Dwarfs in giant robes will use the word so inaccurately that instead of having moments of enlightment which could clear the atmosphere, rudeness, vulgarity and invectives will simply kill civilised debate, clarity and precision and make the atmos phere so stuffy that our buds simply wither instead of blossoming. How many times have I had to explain that a medium of instruction has four features and functions: (a) it is the language used to teach literacy; (b) it is the language used to learn other subjects – geography, science, mathematics, cultural values, literature etc. (c) it is the language used to set examination papers; (d) it is the language in which examination questions are to be answered. Do we have to be a genius to understand that? Yet prime ministers, ministers, MLAs, headmasters, teachers and journalists keep on confusing it with the term ‘support language’ which is an alternative language (spare tyre/stepne) used when communication in class collapses because the official medium flies high above the children’s heads and is totally inappropriate.
IV. IN RELIGIOUS MATTERS: Although quite a few people believe that faith and rituals are one and the same thing or are interdependent, has not the time come to draw a line, however flimsy, between the two? There are people who believe in God, who study theology and religious texts such as the Mahabharata, the Bible and the Koran, live a moral life but do not practise any cult. I am sure some Tartuffe will come along to accuse such people of heresy and blasphemy.
My distant cousin, Juliet, tells me in irritation: “What’s in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
Yes Juliet dear! A stinker by any other name would still stink. In the cuckoo land where I live, we love to give a dog a bad name and hang it.
POU DIR MERSI
Mo anvi dir mersi bann lekol ek kolez Katolik parski:
• Lekol Saint Enfant Jesus ti ed mwa pou konplet mo ledikasion primer;
• Kolez Saint Joseph ti permet mwa gagn zoli rezilta sinior;
• Lekol Philippe Rivalland ti okip ledikasion mo frer Raj ek mo bann ti ser Nilah, Swatee, Devi ek Santa;
• Kolez Saint Esprit ti ed mo frer Raj konplet so letid segonder;
• Kolez Lorette Rose Hill ti akeyir mo ti ser Nilah;
• BPS ti okip ledikasion mo ser Swatee ek Santa;
• 2 nies, Gitanjali ek Malika, ti gagn zot ledikasion segonder dan kolez Lorette Saint Pierre;
• Zordi Kolez Saint Esprit pe okip ledikasion mo tizanfan, Yann.
Mo anvi dir mersi Kardinal Jean Margeot e selebre so nom parski:
Grasa so sazes nou finn reysi anpes disan koule apre lendepandans nou pei. Par respe ek gratitid nou bizen apel li ‘TONTON NASION MORIS’. Li pou res tonton tou Morisien pou toultan.
Pou tou sa bann rezon la mo finn deside pou donn tou mo bann drwadoter Institut Cardinal Jean Margeot apartir zordi.
Preske tou mo travay zot lor mo websayt. Ena plis ki 1,000 poem, 40 pies teat, 19 tizistwar, 5 novela, 1 roman; tradiksion ekriven Angle, Franse, Alman; tradiksion literatir relizie (Bhagavad Gita, Labib ek Koran). Ena osi bann lartik ek letid akademik.
PLEASE HELP ME IF YOU CAN
Over a period of 50 years I’ve written a lot in terms of creative writing, translation, academic works and journalistic writing.
CREATIVE WRITING: over 1,000 poems; 40 plays; 19 short stories; 5 novellas and a novel.
TRANSLATION WORKS: 9 Shakespeare plays; poems by several English poets (Keats, Byron, T.S.Eliot etc.); works by well-known French writers (Moliere, La Fontaine, Baudelaire, Jacques Prevert etc); Books from the Old Testament; Chapters from the Holy Qu’ran; the Bhagavad Gita etc.
ACADEMIC WORKS AND PAPERS: On Mauritian Creole; on bilingual literacy; on language planning etc
A DEV VIRAHSAWMY FOUNDATION has been incorporated to manage my work which can be freely accessed on my website www.boukiebanane.orange.mu .
I have decided to donate all my royalties to INSTITUT CARDINAL JEAN MARGEOT.
People who read my works for pleasure or for research will continue to do so free of charge. Only those who use them commercially will have to pay royalties according to established rates. As we (the foundation and I) have no idea of the current practice I thought that you could perhaps help me to decide on what we should ask as royalties.
A HARD RAIN’S A-GONNA FALL
Oh, where have you been, my blue eyed son?
Oh, where have you been, my darling young one?
I’ve stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountains
I’ve walked and I’ve crawled on six crooked highways…
And it’s hard, and it’s hard, it’s hard, and it’s hard
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall (Bob Dylan)
What we are experiencing today in terms of stress, uncertainty, insecurity and frustration is nothing compared to what we will experience in a not too distant future when we will have to face the full blown effects of global warming and climate change. We all love our comfort zones but it is in moments of great distress that new energies are liberated and, as we are forced to get out of the rut of routine and old habits, we invent new means to survive and help others survive. A few years ago I discovered something that revealed the humanity that is found deep in our hearts. When my father was a late teenager he fathered a child with an Afro-Creole girl. His parents quickly arranged a marriage with a Telugu girl to save the ‘honour’ of the family. My father’s illegitimate first child was not recognised. A couple of years later I was born and as my parents were not civilly married, I too was illegitimate but as the true-blue Telugu boy had to be recognised, they were quickly civilly married. That was, in those days, ‘quite normal’. All this, we must remember, happened during World War II when there was food shortage and severe rationing. My very conservative Babam (paternal grandmother) used to sneak food from the pantry to feed the unacknowledged castaway child. We tend to think of the gall in us and yet there is hidden somewhere much milk of human kindness. Father Gerard Sullivan, victim of a hit and run accident, will, I am sure, not contradict me for was he not ‘saved’ by sex workers and transvestites. That generous aspect of human nature is beautifully, graphically and convincingly described in John Steinbeck’s novel, ‘The Grapes Of Wrath’.
But more often than not, when a situation turns out to be messy and complex, we hear condescending do-gooders use slogans and cliches such as ‘we must educate people who are ignorant’ or ‘people must change their mindsets’ as if changes are brought about with the touch of a magic wand. These bigotry champions, so eager to pay lip service, never bother to find out why and how people are kept in the dark and why they think and behave the way they do.
EDUCATION AND MINDSET CHANGE
In a simple, easy go lucky world, a few oral instructions may yield satisfactory results but would they work in a world which is getting mazelike. In such a world, oral instructions must be supported by writing and reading. The question then arises. In such a context what strategy and pedagogy do we use to educate the masses? The present dispensation in our country has only succeeded in producing 30% of functional literates, 50% of semi-literates and 20% of non-literates. To raise the standard of general education we must aim at universal functional literacy first. A steep uphill fight! Can this be achieved by using one or more foreign languages as medium to develop literacy skills? Will the do-gooders accept that mother tongue literacy is the foundation on which modern education should be built?
Our mindset is to a very large extent determined by economic, political, social and cultural realities and yet the ‘mindset-changewalas’ want a change in mindset that keeps reality intact. I leave it to my readers to gauge their intelligence and integrity.
Yet major dramatic changes are behind the door because the powerful who were responsible for many crimes against humanity such as slavery, colonisation and genocide are now ruthlessly destroying life in order to make more money. The consequences will be disastrous to all of us.
Yes, Bob Dylan was prophetic when he wrote that song.
“And what’ll you do now, my blue-eyed son?
And what’ll you do now, my darling young one?”
“I’m a-goin’ back out ‘fore the rain starts a-fallin’
I’ll walk to the deepths of the deepest dark forest
Where the people are many and their hands are all empty
Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters”
“Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison
And the executioner’s face is always well hidden
Where hunger is ugly, where the souls are forgotten
Where black is the color, where none is the number”
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, and it’s a hard
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall”
IDENTITÉ ET LANGUE NATIONALE
Toute discussion sur la situation linguistique à Maurice se bute toujours sur des a prioris, des assomptions et des idées préconçues qui demontrent d’une ignorance à vous décoiffer. Les clichés et termes inappropriés ne semblent guère gêner car très souvent les mauriciens pensent qu’ils sont tellement doués qu’ils n’ont aucun besoin d’étudier une matière pour se faire une idée juste de la chose. Quelques exemples suffiraient à illustrer ce mal mauricien. On entend souvent même chez des gens supposément eduqués des mot tels que ‘patois’, ‘patois créole’, ‘pidgin’ ou ‘dialecte’ utilisés pou decrire la langue nationale de notre pays qui depuis lontemps aurait dû être connu comme le mauricien. Petite parenthèse, la variété parlée à Rodrigues devrait avoir pour nom le rodriguais.
C’est quoi un ‘patois’? Ce terme a deux sens. Premièrement un patois est une langue qui se meurt. Le mauricien (creole mauricien) est la langue la plus vivante de notre republique et il n’est certainement pas dans un coma leger ou profond. Le mauricien est la première langue (L1) de 90% de la population. Ensuite il y a le bhojpuri (5%) et le français (3.8%). Les autres langues se partagent les 1.2%. L’autre sens de patois c’est qu’il s’agit d’une langue que parle une minorite qui est obligée de changer de medium linguistique s’il faut communiquer avec le plus grand nombre. Par exemple la generation de mes grands parents parlaient le telougou entre eux mais étaient obligés de changer de langue pour nous parler, nous leurs petits enfants. Même chose s’ils voulaient socialiser avec les non-telegous. Dans ce sens le telougou est, à Maurice mais pas en Inde, un patois. Cette constatation s’applique à la plupart des langues utilisées dan notre pays. Prenons le cas du français. Un mauricien francophone pour qui le français est sa langue maternelle est obligé d’utiliser le mauricien s’il veut être efficace en politique.
Comment justifier qu’il s’agit là d’un dialecte quand le mauricien est composé de dialectes et autres sociolectes comme toute langue qui a atteint un haut niveau de développement. Pir encore! Comment justifier le label ‘pidgin’ quand ce terme signifie un parler sans locuteur natif. 90% des citoyens de la republique sont des locuteurs natifs de cette langue.
Les colonisateurs et autres esclavagistes disaient de cette nouvelle langue qu’elle n’était qu’une corruption du français, une excroissance qu’il fallait extirper à tout prix. C’était une façon façile de denigrer le locuteur en denigrant sa langue. Ensuite vint les africanistes dont je fis partie dans les années 60 et 70. Nous croyions que la nouvelle langue avait un substrat africain sur lequel est venu se greffer un lexique français. Aujourd’hui notre connaissance des langues créoles de notre région et d’ailleurs a beaucoup evolué. L’hypothèse la plus probable c’est qu’il y avait dans la période post-renaissance dans le bassin méditerranéen un lingua franca que parlait les marins de differentes origines (français, allemands, hollandais, espagnols, portuguais etc.) travaillant à bord du même vaisseau. Les colons qui faisaient le long voyage de la France à Maurice étaient forcés à l’utiliser pour communiquer avec les marins. Ensuite vint le commerce d’esclaves. Il faut se rappeler que la pratique voulait qu’une cargaison d’esclave était faite d’esclaves venant de differents tribus qui ne parlaient pas la même langue pour restriendre toute velleité de revolte. Pour communiquer entre eux et avec les marins il leur fallait utiliser le lingua franca. A partir d’un processus de relexification ce lingua franca devint le créole de Maurice à base lexicale française ou de la Jamaique à base lexicale anglaise tandis que les syntaxes qui s’y developpèrent ont beaucoup en commun. Ce phenomène est fort interessant. L’anglais qui est aussi une langue créole a des caractéristiques syntaxiques que nous retrouvons dans le mauricien tels que l’abandon d’inflexion et l’usage de marqueur de temps et d’aspect dans le syntagme verbal pou indiquer si l’action continue ou est completée.
LE MAURICIEN AUJOURD’HUI
Langue maternelle de 90% des citoyens de la republique, le mauricien a puisé une partie de sa force et de son énergie du français mais nous sommes très loin de l’hypothèse raciste. Analysons d’abord les différents niveaux de la langue.
Phonologie: Des phonèmes vocaliques français tels que /ɛ/comme dan le mot ‘fait’; /ɛː/ comme dans le mot ‘fête’; /ə/ comme dans le mot ‘ce’; /œ/ comme dans le mot’soeur’; /ø/ comme dans le mot ‘ceux’; /y/ comme dans le mot ‘su’; ne sont pas utilisés pour construire des mots mauriciens.
La consonne /ʒ/ comme dans ‘joue’ n’est pas utilisée. Par contre il y a deux consonnes mauriciennes qu’on ne trouve pas en français. Elles sont /tʃ/ comme dans ‘chacha’ and /dʒ/ comme dans ‘jal’.
Syntaxe: Selon certains linguistes bien connu, la syntaxe d’une langue créole est très proche de ce que certains appellent la grammaire universelle avec laquelle nous sommes génétiquement programmés. Une langue à flexion comme le français est totalement differente d’une langue isolante comme le mauricien. Un verbe français a des dizaines de formes : savoir, sais, sait, savons, savez, savent, savais, sache, su, saurai, saura, saurons etc. Le verbe anglais a cinq formes tout au plus : know, knows, knew, known, knowing. Le verbe mauricien a une forme à l’exception des verbes qui terminent avec la voyelle <e> : kone et konn.
Comparons les règles qui gouverne l’adjectif et nous verrons la différence:
Morisien: enn zoli tifi/ enn zoli garson/ bann zoli tifi/ bann zoli garson
Francais: une belle fille/ un beau garçon/ des belles filles/ des beaux garçons
English: a beautiful girl/ a beautiful boy/ beautiful girls/ beautiful boys
Le lexique: Si c’est l’evidence même que la première langue lexificatrice du mauricien est sans aucun doute le français, il ne faut pas conçevoir la relation entre ces deux langues comme celle entre une donneuse active (le français) et une receveuse passive et dépendante (le mauricien). En fait, il existe une dynamique créatrice entre ces deux langues. D’une part le mauricien absorbe des mots français en leur donnant des sens nouveaux tel que le mot ‘madame’ qui en français est un titre qu’on associe à une femme mais qui au fil des années veut aussi dire ‘epouse’ en mauricien. La phrase ‘Mo madam malad’ se traduit ‘Ma femme est malade’ en français. Les lexèmes grammaticaux tels que le marqueur de nombre ‘bann’, les marqueurs du passé ‘ti’ et du futur ‘pou’, le marqueur d’aspect ‘pe’ sont tous d’origine française mais ont une toute autre fonction. Qui plus est, le mauricien de son côte contribue à l’émergence d’un français mauricien comme celui utilisé par l’écrivain Carlo de Souza dans son roman ‘La maison qui voguait vers le large’.
En se développant dans un environnement multiethnique e multiculturelle, la langue mauricienne a absorbé des mots et expressions venant d’autres langues et cultures. Ainsi nous avons des mots d’origine hakka, cantonais, bhojpouri, hindi, tamil, telegou, ourdou, marathi. L’anglais a aussi contribué surtout dans le domaine de l’administration, de l’education formelle, du judiciaire et du parlementarisme. Il faut ajouter à tout cela la créativité endogène, œuvre des locuteurs natifs à l’oral et à l’écrit.
LANGUE À PART ENTIÈRE POUR LA REPUBLIQUE CREOLE
Le mauricien est devenu la langue nationale de facto. Il est partout. On l’entend dans les rues, dans les meetings publiques, dans les lieux de culte ; les textes religieux fondamentaux tels que certains livres de l’Ancient Testament, le Nouveau Testament, le Bhagavad Gita et le Coran sont maintenant disponibles en mauricien ; il existe un corpus littéraire important dans cette langue (poésie, théâtre, prose littéraire); le mauricien est la langue incontournable des grandes créations théatrales (Zozef Ek So Palto Larkansiel, Les Misérables, Godspell etc.) ; il est enseigné à l’école et à l’université ; il est utilisé comme médium d’enseignement dans les classes du PREVOKBEK de l’eglise catholique et dans les classes de littéracie dans les prisons etc.
Si nous voulons construire une nation moderne et progressiste equippée pour faire face aux grands problèmes écologiques, nous serons obligés de l’adopter comme langue nationale de jure et comme medium d’enseignement dans toutes les classes du primaire. L’éducation réformée ne peut se faire sans la reconnaisance de cette langue indispensable au développement et sans une politique linguistique cohérente qui donne au mauricien, à l’anglais et au français leurs places respectives.
L’île Maurice n’est ni la petite France, ni la petite Inde. C’est une île créole façonnée et transformée par des vagues d’immigration et qui pour sa survie doit se forger une nouvelle identité dans un processus dynamique et créateur. Une île créole est définie de la façon suivante : au début elle n’a pas de population autochtone mais, au fil du temps, elle est peuplée par des vagues d’immigrants qui, chacun à sa façon, transforment la faune et la flore de l’île.
Aujourd’hui dans la république créole de Maurice nous avons trois langues créoles : le mauricien, le rodriguais et l’anglais. Et dans cette république ouverte et tolérante, le français a un statut de langue semi-officielle et est devenu la troisième langue par ordre d’importance après le mauricien et l’anglais. Cette république créole est d’une vivacité rare et se sculpte son identite créole lentement et sûrement. C’est ce qui m’a poussé à écrire ce petit poème dans ma langue maternelle qui est aussi notre langue nationale :
NOU TOU KREOL ISI
Zis avan mo somey kase
Mo marenn-fe glis dan mo nam
enn ti-fraz plen ar mister saz,
ki fors mwa reviz mo lespri,
ki fors mwa reget otour mwa
emerveye par seki senp,
telman senp ki nou pa pran kont:
si nou tou isi lor nou lil
nou get bien mem ki nou ete
nou pou gagn sok, gran sok, baba
parski nou tou anverite,
ki nou anvi, nou pa anvi,
nou tou isi, nou tou Kreol,
transplante dan nouvo later.
Kreol krwayan, Kreol ate;
Endo-Kreol Endou / Kretien;
Endo-Kreol Mizilman ‘si;
Afro-Kreol Kretien / Rasta;
Afro-Kreol Mizilman ‘si;
Euro-Kreol Kretien / Endou;
Euro-Kreol Mizilman ‘si;
Sino-Kreol Boudist / Kretien;
Sino-Kreol Mizilman ‘si;
nou tou isi, nou tou Kreol,
transplante dan nouvo later.
Mo pe reve ousa vre-vre
li net-net enn lot kalite?
Sirman enn rev iresponsab.
Sirman enn rev vander lalit.
Melanz sanbrani ar dilar!
Iresponsab jati bechwa!
Mo marenn-fe fer enn sourir,
fer mwa konpran tousa normal,
ki mem si nou tou mem nasion
konfli zame pou arete.
Pou’ena konfli ant de lide,
ant lentere diferan group,
ant lepase ek lavenir,
ant avanse ek rekile …
Akoz samen marenn dir mwa,
fit to kreyon, ouver lizie,
ouver bien gran to de zorey,
les bann kouler ek lamizik
pei Kreol koul dan to nam;
plonz to leker dan santiman
ki sort Ganga, la Seine, la Loire;
les labriz maren kares to seve,
les lapli lete aroz to lipie,
les parfen later mont dan to narinn.
Lerla ar lekritir Kreol
skilpte to idantite
e tras sime to devlopman.
THE BEWILDERED WILD PACK
I heard the bewildered wild pack on radio and could not believe my ears. The people, publicly labelled ‘admirable’ and privately scorned to squeeze out votes, for pseudo-democracy does not tolerate calling a spade a spade, have a high propensity to spew out their ugly backward conditioned reflexes behind the shield of anonimity. One stood categorically for capital punishment as a fit punishment. Another felt that keeping a person found guilty of a heinous crime in safe custody and being provided for in terms of basics was unaccepable for it was a waste of public funds. The acceptable solution was ‘hanging’. Yet another felt that ‘hanging’ was insufficient and too mild. This divinely-inspired justicer suggested that prisoners should be flogged and tortured and when they were too weak to bear more chastisement, they should be medically helped to recover so that more flogging and torture might be inflicted. Yes, these worshippers of the God of love are militating for an end to violence. As typical Mauritians, they know it all without having to learn and don’t you dare contradict them. If you do, you’ll have a taste of their non-violent medicine. After all they are just like their leaders. Some other posing as a profound thinker wielding a one-size-fits-all solution pontificated that all we have to do was to change people’s mentality. How? With a magic wand? Through brain surgery?
The background to all these rare elucubrations was sex violence in general and sex violence on children in particular. Mauritians being what they are, i.e ignoranceproof by nature and nurture, they did not feel the need to find causes of a problem for they were ‘pleinement satisfait’ that the effects were easy to grasp and what they thought to have understood was beyond any doubt the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
Let me dare say a few things which I am sure our self-appointed moral pundits from all quarters will reject as rubbish.
• The perpetrators of these horrendous crimes may suffer from some form of mental illness that impacts the persons’ thinking, feeling or mood;
• The perpetrators may have themselves been victims of sexual violence when young and/or have witnessed their mothers and/or sisters being raped and so consider such behaviour as normal;
• Perpetrators may come from broken homes and have grown up as street children for whom what we consider normal decency has no place in their culture make-up;
• Perpetrators may be offsprings of single mothers who never wanted the child from a one off relationship but could not afford an abortion;
• Perpetrators may have been the product of rape, marital or otherwise and have never been looked after as children should;
• Perpetrators may be diehard believers in the phallocratic ‘virtues’ of patriarchy which sees the female genital as the ‘lecherous pit’ and the male genital as a weapon/tool (zouti) or a harpoon gun;
• Perpetrators see sex assault as a weapon of war or an instrument of revenge.
If it is right to consider them as people with serious mental, social and cultural problems, should we kill them or rather treat their condition through medical care and rehabilitation programmes even if they will have spend the rest of their days in prison?
There is another cause which most of us prefer to dodge. Many young girls and women get pregnant as a result of rape or one off consented sex. The valiant seed bearer normally disappears instead of shouldering his share of responsibilities. The womenfolk don’t want to have the children but are compelled by law to give birth to a baby no one wants. These are the abandoned children who roam the streets and who are easy preys of predators. Because in a patriarchy women are perceived as sex pots and child-bearing machines, they are not allowed the freedom to choose whether they want a baby or not. Their bodies are considered as the personal properties of males. The law must give women the freedom to choose and pregnancy and confinement should not be perceived as punishment to be inflicted on ‘licentious’ females. As a result of this attitude, even a girl who is raped is perceived as responsible. ‘Li ti rode/ she looked for it’. The words have to be used: WE MUST LEGALISE ABORTION. Let the morally upright howl as much as they want. There’s too much double standard in our country. Are there not morally upright people with adequate means who condemn the legalisation of abortion in public but who send their dear ones to Reunion island for a quick and clean abortion?
Enough is enough!
AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? OR THE BIG BAD WOLF?
In general Mauritians do not like to face real facts and prefer to seek refuge in products of fantasy and illusion. They shy off words which are ‘crude’ and painful to hear and opt for euphemism which they find more palatable. Escapism is our favourite hobby. Nay, our preferred survival kit. We are even keen on ignoring sarcasm and finding solace in a literal interpretation. The best example to illustrate this is the statement, which according to some, Mark Twain was supposed to have made about Mauritius being the model used by God to build heaven. Paradise Island, slogan concocted to attract tourists, has become in the minds of many a true picture of reality for just like George, Martha, Nick and Honey in ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf’ we choose illusion to help us avoid hard facts. The way we sometimes use words reveal this trend. A young woman was heard saying to her doctor, “Dokter, mo kwar mo enpe ansent/Doctor, I think I am a bit pregnant.” A pimp trying to sell his ‘marsandiz’/ ‘wares’ to a prospective customer would boast that the ‘sex object’ is “preske vierz/ almost virgin”. Now that a debate is going on as to whether Mr Dawood Rawat’s business could be qualified as Ponzi schemes what do I hear? It is legally registered business with regular assets but it may be construed that the way transactions are carried out smacks of something akin to Ponzilike way of doing business. SO IT MUST BE PONZI. What is it then? Enpe/a bit Ponzi? Preske/almost Ponzi? It does not matter. The less precise we are, the better. Succinctness and precision are luxuries we can ill afford. Most important, we must whip up the blood of those who are after somebody’s blood. In this happiness lies and civilisation grows.
Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte! Don’t tell anybody that we are all immigrants on a creole island. We know that a creole island is one which at the start had no native population. It was peopled by successive waves of immigrants who systematically altered the flora and fauna of the place. The Dutch cleared ebony forests for their precious wood; by accident they exterminated the dodos; they introduced sugarcane, rats and deer. The French brought in slaves and developed sugarcane plantations. The British brought in indentured labourers and further developed sugar production. There has been a lot of cross-fertilisation and yet people argue that there is blood and culture purity. Don’t let them know that the species known as homo sapiens sapiens to which we all belong evolved in east Africa about 300,000 years ago and that we all have a common African ancestry. They will be too upset. This scientific truth is far too hard to bear and so we prefer to think that Mauritius is ‘la petite France’ for some and ‘chota bharat’ for others. This is how we come to terms with reality.
Should we tell them that on this creole island we are all creoles: Afro-creoles, Euro-creoles, Indo-creoles, Sino-creoles etc.? Or should they be allowed to rest undisturbed in their maya-world as pure-gold Mongoloids, Caucasoids and Negroids?
Let them sing “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” while the big bad wolf is behind the door.
Let Bob Dylan sing “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” in vain.
Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte! Don’t tell my fellow citizens what they do not want to know. Go with the grain, not against. Tell them they are NOT semilingual, semiliterate and half baked. Tell them how beautiful they are. Tell them God used Mauritians as models when He designed angels.
There’s bliss in pretending. So let’s all ‘fer vadire’, pretend to be what we are not and still pretend to be happy!
Were we not told there was a special god for Mauritius? So relax and enjoy!
WHICH WAY, MY LORD?
• It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages. (Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations)
• — what’s capitalism supposed to be? Yeah, it’s crony capitalism. That’s capitalism, you do things for your friends, your associates, they do things for you, you try to influence the political system, obviously. (“Black Faces in Limousines:” A Conversation with Noam Chomsky by Joe Walker)
• Corruption is endemic to the capitalist system and has not been successfully regulated away. Perhaps a system change is warranted?( Richard D. Wolff, Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts)
At regular intervals we have self-appointed moralists who claim that their mission is to moralise public life. They mean to clean the Augean stables and free the country from corruption at all levels. Their political programme is very simple and of course it appeals to simple-minded ‘admirable’ people. This can partly explain why the MMM which started as a revolutionary socialist party has finally ended its run in the capitalist paddock and stable, happily scavenging and savouring some dung-benefits. In fact this is what the so-called big political parties do. They fight each other to get there first and be chief stable boys. This is the tragi-comic side of the picture where heroes are in fact puppets dangling on strings firmly held by the mighty moneyed master – yet another mmm.
What is sad is that there are honest but naïve men and women who think that being in government and having some sort of role or responsibility within a capitalist or bourgeois state can give them real power to bring real changes to society. They cultivate the illusion until they are booted out with brimful pockets and coffers . Though they do dish out – with the blessing of the real bwanas – some petty crumblike goodies to keep the credulous masses under control, we must bear in mind a few things:
A. Capitalism is a system driven by selfishness and greed and its success is based on its ability to use grafts to secure illicit gains in politics or business. Some people talk of crony capitalism as if non-crony capitalism exists. Noam Chomsky points that the word ‘crony’ in ‘crony capitalism’ is redundant as capitalism is by definition ‘crony’.
B. As an economic system, capitalism has enormously developed the productive forces of some countries but in the process it has impoverished the rest of the world whose resources it has plundered. Hence the building, through military power, of colonial empires where the sun never sets and the outbreak of two world wars driven by territorial conquest and control of resources.
C. It commodifies everything including human beings. Hence the industrialisation of slave trade. Pre-capitalist slavery was of a completely different kind. The master-slave relationship under feudalism was not as ruthless and inhuman as the slavery which our ancestors have known. The relationship between the landlord and his serf was certainly less callous than the capitalist employer-employee relationship of the kind we find in sweatshops.
D. For capitalism, debauchery and corruption are indispensable instruments of power together with wastage in the form of planned obsolescence. As a consequence everything becomes disposable. Even human beings.
E. Capitalism is amoral. It is fuelled by selfish motives and aim only at maximising profits to the detriment of everything else. Hence it is a threat to our very existence on planet Earth. Global warming and climate change are the consequences of its ‘ravishing’ strides.
F. Capitalism, which is the infrastructure of a country, controls everything in the superstructure: politics, culture, morality, education, art, sports and even religion. It is a magician which gives the impression that it liberates while it enslaves. The present global capitalism has made matters worse for in fact a few corporations rule the world and democracy has become an empty slogan. As capitalism controls everything, including the dominant media outlets, we are made to believe that we are free when our very thoughts are under the sway of some Big Brother.
G. In a capitalist system the state is the instrument that supports the power of industry and finance. Its fundamental mission is to feather capital’s beds and further the interests of the moneyed class. What was initially hidden behind the veil of social-democratic welfare becomes crystal clear under neoliberalism through its programme of deregulation and privatisation.
H. State capitalism as it is found in the People’s Republic of China is no better as a matter of fact. It has generated inequality, massive corruption and catastrophic ecological destruction.
WHICH WAY THEN?
Is there no hope then? There is no hope if we think that we can build new values and leave the old infrastructure intact; there is no hope if we think we can change mindsets without destroying the old infrastructure to build a new and different one; there is no hope if Mammon lurks behind our church doors or hides in the shadows of our saints; there is no hope if we want our cake and eat it (Manz banann dan de bout).
We don’t have any model to follow. We must invent a new course. China and India are not models of sustainable development. Narendra Modi’s neophyte fans will soon be disillusioned. Is he not the Margaret Thatcher of India? Modi’s neoliberalism will wreak havoc of unimagined proportion. The saddest story comes from South Africa. Decades of struggle against apartheid has unfortunately ended with more black faces in limousines while economic apartheid has remained intact for ANC leaders failed to understand something basic: state power is an offshoot of economic power. By leaving complete economic power in the hands of the small white minority they have created an explosive situation.
There is hope if we learn from our mistakes; there is hope if we can derive wisdom from such texts as the Bhagavad-Gita (life is a contradiction), the Old Testament (we are the stewards of the planet), the New Testament (love and forgiveness), the Holy Qu’ran (sharing); there is hope if we support and assist the wretched of the earth who are struggling against world plunderers to protect their habitats; there is hope if new intellectuals emerge and they integrate grassroots struggle for decent living; there is hope if new political organisations help us to oust the present mainstream parties which are in fact the doormats of big money.
Yes, sisters and brothers, we can do it
“For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they, they are a-changin’ ”.
WE SHOULD SUE THE STATE!
For the sake of simplification, let us say that the economy is the base or infrastructure of a given country or society and the state is the superstructure set up to manage and control society and the country. The state is a very complex apparatus which, inter alia, comprises the executive, the legislative, the judiciary, the police, the army, the prison service and providers of various social and cultural services etc. It is the duty of the state to see to it that activities at all levels are carried out according to existing legal norms.
When a citizen subscribes to any scheme which is duly registered according to the laws of the land and recognised by established institutions, which carries the stamp of legality and which is controlled and monitored by institutions responsible for its legitimacy and the scheme fails to deliver the promised rewards, the citizen has every right to sue the state for moral and material damage. No one can argue that it was done under a previous government. In a democracy, government change is considered a normal process. Governments go but the state, which is ONE and INDIVISIBLE ensuring continuity, remains. A simple image to illustrate this is an ocean liner operating in a well-defined space. If the ocean liner is the state providing all services needed, the captain and the crew are the government. When captains and crews are replaced, the liner’s integrity and existence are not questioned. Only a revolution can change that and we are not going through a revolutionary process yet. Are the new Rambos and Dirty Harrys prepared to accept the rules of the game?
When the state fails to honour its promises, blunders in the performance of its duties, or mismanages and messes up the whole implementation tasks, ordinary citizens have the power and right to sue the state in the same way as the state has the power and right to prosecute citizens who fail to abide by the law. Let no one falls into the emotional trap that the captain and the crew are kindhearted people prepared to sacrifice their peace and sleep to help unfortunate citizens. They are duty-bound to make amends for all mistakes made by the state. There is no room for “Pa Mwa Sa, Li Sa”. If the state did nothing to stop any unlawful acts and caused pain and suffering, the state must pay damages even if in the meantime there has been government change.
Moreover if the head of state or the head of government makes a public statement on the ‘catastrophic’ financial state of a listed company causing panic and a rush to sell shares with a loss of value as consequence, the board of the company or any shareholder may sue the state if it can be proved that the statement was false and malicious. The reassuring words of a minister cannot be an argument to forgive and forget. It is merely a stratagem to fool and hoodwink.
We must get politicians wielding state power to understand that citizens will eventually understand the nature and function of the state in a capitalist system. If, in general, state power is meant to back up the moneyed class, there are cases where the law of exploiters may be used by victims to seek redress.
I believe that the present situation in the Republic of Mauritius justifies such actions.
POU LULU EK SHARVIN
Enn fwa mo ti pe anim enn diskision lor maryaz e mo ti dir, “Maryaz li enn zafer kot nou done ek nou pran.” Enn tilom exite sot lor mo parol pou dir, “Normal! Fam done, zom pran!”.
Personn pa ti riye. Okontrer plizier per lizie ti fixe li ar mepri. Si lizie ti revolver tilom ti pou kaykoun sek.
Enn lot fwa ler mo ti pe dir enn ti group ki Loga ek mwa nou ansam depi plis ki 50 an, enn mamzel anviron 25 an – mo bizen rekonet li ti enn bay bougres – pa’le kwar so zorey. “Kisasa? Get mem lagel, gramaten-tanto pandan 50 an? … Kan dife lamour finn tengn, finn ariv ler pou sanz mouyaz.” Mo pa ti gagn kouraz dir li ki dan maryaz peyna zis dife lamour. Ena osi lamitie, kamaradri, pran kont, partaz, soutien ets.
Souvan nou tann dimoun dir ki pa kapav melanz sanbrani ek dilar; pa kapav gat nasion; pa gagn drwa dilie pirte zenetik; bizen gard disan prop. Eski zot kone ki limanite ki nou apel Homo Sapiens Sapiens ki zordi finn peple planet Ter ti ne dan les Lafrik e apartir Lafrik zot ti peple nou planet? Savedir, pou nou tou, nou bann anset zot Afriken. Eski zot kone ki Moris li enn lil Kreol e ki dan nou pei ena toutsort kalite Kreol: Endo-Kreol, Sino-Kreol, Afro-Kreol, Ero-Kreol ets? Anverite, nou tou Kreol e nou tou metis zenetik ek kiltirel.
Dan sivilizasion materyalis, tou kiksoz ek tou dimoun vinn marsandiz e tou marsandiz vinn prodwi zetab. Nanye pa dirab. Pran nouvo, zwir, zete. Pran nouvo, zwir, zete. Ad nauseam.
Me erezman ena enn bordir eklere otour niaz nwar; enn ti lalimier ki donn lespwar e dir nou pa dekouraze. Kan nou get bien nou trouve. Get bien divan zot, akote mwa, e zot pou trouve si zot konn gete. Ena DE ikonn kiltirel ki finn vinn ENN; ena DE model konportman ki finn vinn ENN. Zot apel Lulu ek Sharvin. DE profesionel ki sorti dan DE bakgrawn diferan ki finn swazir pou tras nouvo desten; de zenn Morisien ki finn konpran seki tou bann liv sakre finn dir. Zot reprezant Bhagavad-Gita ki dir ki lavi enn kontradiksion, ki konfli neseser pou gagn lape; zot reprezant Ansien Testaman ki dir nou ki nou premie rol se okip nou later; zot reprezant Nouvo Testaman ki dir nou lenportans LAMOUR ek PARDON; zot reprezant Qu’ran ki koz lor nesesite partaz.
Kan laplipar dimoun kwar dan zetab, zot zot kwar dan dirab. Zot finn desid pou konstrir zot koup dan lamour, lespri larz, ouvertir, tolerans, konpreansion, konpasion ek konsesion.
Zordi ena de dimoun beni ki pe dir mwa koz pou zot: Tonton Sima ek Penam Jannkee. Wi Lulu, lao lor zot niaz zot pe get twa ar sourir mouye, sourir lor lalev, larm dan lizie. Zot fier ki zot ti fifi finn vinn enn model ki lezot pou swiv. Zot ere ki zot ti fifi pe tras nouvo dime.
Ordinerman, mo enproviz mo diskour me pou zordi mo finn swazir pou ekrir li pa parski mo pe vinn gaga; pa parski Alzaymer pe fer letour; me parski mo anvi ki zot met sa dan zot albom maryaz pou ki enn zour zot zanfan ek tizanfan dekouver ki enn fwa dan enn pei, ti ena enn vie tonton enpe toktok ki ti kwar ki zwazo Samarel kapav sant bote larkansiel.
Avan ki bann envite lev enn bel makanbo parski zot pe anvi manz gato maryaz, mo prefer dimann Lulu ek Sharvin vit-vit koup gato pou anpes enn kriz ipoglisemi.
Aster anou lev nou ver pou bwar lasante lamour de zenn ki finn deside pou konstrir nouvo dime ansam.
FOR THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN’!
Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Please get out of the new one
If you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’. (Bob Dylan)
It seems that adults in general and parents and teachers in particular find it harder and harder to cope with children, specially adolescents. Do we know who these kids really are; do we really know their angst and aspirations? We have to understand the ways of the world together with economic, political, sociological and psychological mutations going on if we want to live with them, listen to them, understand them, guide them and have their trust. It is pointless to keep on reprimanding and resort to old ways for we will make matters worse. The rod will not work. Military discipline is most certainly not a solution.
Who are they? Most of the secondary school kids are from lower middle class nuclear families where both parents work outside the home so that when they are not at school or taking tuitions, they are on their own or in the company of siblings. Parents have very little time to look after them. Even family the evening meal is disappearing fast. The children enjoy freedom unheard of four or five decades ago; they have access to a huge mass of information through the internet; they enjoy a wide variety of leisure sources through the different gadjets at their disposal; they know more about sex than their parents knew when the latter were adolescents; they have made theirs the disposable materialist ideology which capitalism generates; they are aware that the world they live in is full of conflicts and the future is bleak, unclear and uncertain. In such a situation is it surprising that young people, who by nature are rebellious because the perturbing process of cerebral development and maturation is ongoing, show a preference for different forms of escapism such as drug-abuse, impulsivity and unprotected sexual activity? Until the brain is fully wired when early adulthood starts (when they are twenty), behaviour of adolescents remain bizarre and kinky. Parents and teachers should try to remember their own pranks and escapades when they were young. It’s true. We prefer to forget the stupid things we did ‘when we were young’ and so find it easy to complain that today’s kids are disrespectful, crazy and ungrateful. How often do I hear people in their forties and fifties say, “Nou pa ti koumsa, nou / We weren’t like them.” Either they didn’t hear their parents complaining or they have a selective memory.
Parents and teachers complain that adolescents have no respect for customs and values. Please understand by that ‘traditional lifestyle and beliefs’. Why are we such bloody hypocrites? Most of us support neoliberal policies which have turned the world economy into a mammoth gambling den. With the globalisation crazy train puffing up spoliation, corruption, pollution and constant regressive and repressive law and rule changes, we must be inveterate morons to expect our young ones not to be carried away by the new destructive trends. Parents, teachers, priests and political leaders should rather think of ways and means to help our kids through a difficult time.
Instead of preaching chastity and abstinence, instead of condemning desire and pleasure, teach them protected sex. Don’t you know that adolescent girls practice anal sex to keep the hymen intact and thus save the family’s honour by leaving a drop of blood on the white bridal sheet? Kids are forced by law to stay at school until the age of sixteen. Do we have a curriculum and syllabuses that they find attractive and fruitful and which can generate enthusiasm?
Do we deserve the title of parents or teachers? Are we prepared to seize the bull by the horn and bring about changes which our children will support? Tomorrow may be too late.
Twelve hundred years ago Vikings invaded England and controlled a third of the country, mainly the north and east. As a consequence, in what we today call England, there were TWO peoples andTWO cultures. There were also TWO languages: that of the Anglo-Saxons and that of the Vikings. Interactions between the two peoples and cultures led to the emergence of, first of all, a pidgin which quickly became a creole language when children started to use it as their first language. Although the prestige languages then were French and Latin, the local vernacular developed and spread rapidly and a few centuries later it had become a powerful instrument for literary creation mainly through the works of Chaucer (14th century AD) and Shakespeare(16-17th centuries AD). Another important event was the translation of the Bible in that language (King James Bible, 17th century AD). By that time the creole vernacular in England had become English, the national Language and official language of England. The language which developed between the 9th and 17th century was totally different from Anglo-Saxon or Old English and a detailed study of the morphology, syntax and lexis of the language used in Beowulf, probably written before the Viking invasion, will reveal the point we are making here. The new language has all the characteristics of Creole languages, namely the dropping of all cases except for the genitive (the boy’s book), very few inflections and a rigid word order of the SVO (subject, verb, object) type. Initially an ugly duckling rejected by the intelligentia of the time, this creole language is now the official language of several states and is considered as a quasi-universal language.
WHAT IS A CREOLE LANGUAGE?
When two or more languages co-exist in a particular political or geographical space and they are spoken by different ethnic or cultural groups, the needs for interethnic or intercultural communication will help the emergence of a pidginlike lingua franca which eventually may become a full-fledged natural language and take the name of the people speaking it. Hence we have English, Bahasa Indonesia, Afrikaan and hopefully Morisien in the years to come.
In Mauritius we are blessed with two creole languages with prestigious functions. English is our official language and Morisien the quasi-national language or if you prefer the de facto national language even if it is not yet the de jure one. The genesis of Morisien, another ugly duckling, is not to be found on Mauritian soil. In fact it is the child of an extraordinary history which begins in the Mediterranean basin in the early days of exploration by European navigators. Because sailors of different nationalities worked on the ships, a pidginlike lingua franca developed which settlers and slaves had to use during long trips across the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Through a process of relexification the lingua franca was nativized to later become a fully developed creole language in the Caribbean and south-west Indian Ocean. Creole languages share certain features: rigid word order, massive reduction of inflections. Here are some examples:
The French verb ‘savoir’ has dozens of forms: sais, sait, savons, savez, savent, savais, savions, saura, saurons, saurait, sache, sachant, su etc. The English verb ‘to know’ has only 5 forms: know, knows, knew, knowing and known. The Mauritian verb ‘kone’ has only two forms: Mo kone; Mo konn lir. We may wonder why creole languages share certain features when they don’t share the same history. It has been suggested that the syntax of creole languages is very close to the universal grammar with which humans are genetically programmed.
Knowledge of the structures of creole languages will definitely help us to devise a progressive language policy and sound pedagogy which will ensure a high a standard of functional literacy in Morisien and English. Are we prepared to shed our blinkers? If we do we will discover that what was thought to be an ugly duckling is in fact a noble swan.
TWO DISTANT COUSINS
Morisien and English can be considered as two distant cousins belonging to a family of language known as creole languages which seem to be quite close in structure to what well-known scholars call universal grammar with which all human beings are genetically endowed. This explains why all human beings, who do not suffer from any impairment, will naturally pick up the language of their environment.
SOME SHARED FEATURES
In both English and Morisien adjectives have a unique form. If in English adjectives are prenominal (always placed before the noun), in Morisien some adjectives are prenominal while others are postnominal (zoli fler; fler sovaz). In both Morisien and English word classes are not as rigid and watertight as in French. Nouns can be used as adjectives. This flexibility allows for a greater freedom to coin compound words: stone wall / miray ros; bird cage / lakaz zwazo; cheesecake / gato fromaz; door knobs / pwagne laport etc.
With the growing prestige of creole languages, there are now some francophiles who claim that French is a “creole of Latin” in the same way as (for them) Morisien is a “creole of French”. This deliberate deformation of linguistic concepts is not innocent. It is meant to support a claim that since Morisien is a creole of French, it is logical that French, a creole of Latin, be made the official language of the Republic of Mauritius. This cannot be. Creole languages are in general isolating and French is inflectional. Gender in French is grammaticalised (une grande table, un grand tabouret, une fleur verte, un fruit vert) but in creole languages it is determined by sex. The following examples will show the difference between creole and non-creole languages. 1. Un bel homme / enn zoli boug / a beautiful man; 2. un beau pays / enn zoli pei / a beautiful country; 3. une belle fille / enn zoli tifi / a beautiful girl; 4. Des beaux fruits / bann zoli fri / beautiful fruits; 5. des belles filles / bann zoli tifi / beautiful girls.
In the formation of creole languages, two or more languages collide. As a result they shed all superfluities and redundant features and go to vital basics found in the universal grammar from which point a new system is created. In the case of French there seems to have been no head on collision between Gaulish and Latin but Vulgar Latin (le latin vulgaire) evolved into a new form. There have been some transformations: cases have been dropped; word order has become more rigid but verb and adjective inflections together with grammatical gender have remained.
TENSE AND ASPECT MARKERS
Dozens of inflections are found in the use of French verbs. English verbs have either 3 forms (cut, cuts, cutting) or 4 forms (walk, walks, walked, walking) and some irregular verbs have 5 forms (eat, eats, ate, eaten, eating). Morisien verbs have either one or two forms (‘dormi’ has a unique form; ‘manze’ has two forms: ‘manze’ and ‘manz’).
English uses ‘will’ as future tense marker: I will eat. Morisien uses ‘pou’: Mo pou manze. French uses inflections: mangerai, mangera, mangerons etc.
Morisien uses the past tense marker ‘ti’ as in ‘li ti marse’. English uses the suffix ‘ed’ in perhaps 90% of cases as in ‘he walk+ed’. French uses inflections to build its ‘passé simple’ or passé composé as in ‘il marcha’ or in ‘il a marché’.
Aspect markers are used by both English and Morisien to indicate whether action is still going on or has been completed. In Morisien ‘pe’ is the present continuous aspect marker as in ‘Mo pe marse’; in English it is ‘be + verb+ing’ as in ‘I am walking’; ‘ti pe’ is the past continuous aspect marker as in ‘Mo ti pe marse / I was walking’; ‘finn’ is the present perfective aspect marker as in ‘mo finn marse / I have walked’ and ‘ti finn’ is used ti indicate past perfective aspect as in ‘Mo ti finn marse / I had walked’.
TRANSFER OF SKILLS
Mother tongue literacy in Morisien can become a reliable instrument to quickly develop oracy, literacy and fluency in English as skills mastered in L1 can be transferred to the acquisition process of English as a second language.
MUCH NEEDED REFORMS NOBODY WANTS
Almost 40 years ago now a major reform in the field of education took place as a result of student unrest. Secondary schooling was made free. Parents, pupils and teachers were happy. The biggest beneficiaries were teachers who, overnight, saw their status and work conditions improved. Since then there have been minor changes here and there but nothing of great note. Yet the system needs a complete overhaul. The main reason being its inability to generate a reasonable standard of literacy to drive the country to a higher level of growth and development.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
It means above all a language policy which is based on facts and not fantasy. After almost 40 years of free schooling from primary to tertiary, we would have expected to have a functionally literate population but this is not the case. A great majority of our compatriots still need party symbols to be able to vote because they are either semi-literate or non-literate. Most people still misuse vital terms and words when they talk of education. Mother tongue is confused with ancestral language, medium with support language, literacy with language learning, national with official language. Most surprisingly, teachers who should know the meanings of these words and expressions fail to use them properly and show no understanding of the main aims of primary education.
Besides boosting up the socialisation process and develop sensitivity and imagination, the fundamental aim of primary education is to make children fully orate, literate and numerate. All other fields and activities are of secondary importance and should not divert our attention from our main goal. How to make them fully orate, literate and numerate? Please note that we are not here dealing with preserving ancestral cultures and values or learning second or third languages. The best way to make children fully orate, literate and numerate is through the medium of their mother tongue or what we call L1 in the pedagogical jargon. What is the situation in Mauritius when viewed from this angle? For 90% of children Morisien is their L1; Bhojpuri is the L1 of 5% at most; French is the L1 of 3.8%. I leave it to my readers to decide which language is the ideal medium to ensure global oracy, literacy and numeracy.
Another factor which deserves out attention is the nature of our official language, English. It is a CREOLE language which means that, if the right pedagogy is adopted, we will favour a quick transfer of literacy skills from L1 to L2. We have all the ingredients to build a nation of truly bilingual literates (in Morisien and English) but the political will is absent. Mainstream politicians are not keen on nation building for they need ethnic and caste votes; most parents do not understand the problem and prefer to rely on the ‘wisdom’ of politicians and priests who have their own hidden agenda; the worse of the lot are primary school teachers who are opposed to change because it means more work and, most importantly, more studies, creativity and originality. Moreover they know that the new language policy and pedagogy will dramatically reduce the need for private tuitions which has grown into industrial proportion.
If proposals for a nine year schooling do not take on board the need for a new language policy with the necessary pedagogical innovations, better not do it at all. And let schools become the blackboard jungles they are about to become. And let parents and teachers melodramatically wallow in bouts of despair and self-pity.
If we are unable to develop a system of nine year schooling which can generate enthusiasm; make our young people healthy, free and creative; develop the sense of belonging to a Rainbow Nation in which citizens are functionally literate in both the national language, Morisien, and the official language, English; understand gender equality; learn to become creative and active citizens in a maritime republic which controls 2.3 million square kilometres of sea, then we have only ourselves to blame. Don’t look for scapegoats!
I BEG TO DIFFER!
It may be fashionable these days to claim that one is “apolitical” but that does not allow us to misuse words or twist meanings beyond recognition.
The State is THE political instrument per se. Anyone with the slighest notion of political science knows that. In the old feudal system, the feudal state was the political arm of the feudal lord or king; in a capitalist system, the state is the instrument of persuasion and/or repression to ensure that the interests of capital are safeguarded.
How can a person be the figurehead of a capitalist state and be neutral? Where is the logic?
How can a person be elected by Parliament, the prestigious seat of state (i.e political) power, and still claim to be apolitical?
How can a person accept to be nominated by a political alliance to occupy the supreme seat of symbolic POLITICAL power and still claim to be apolitical and neutral?
How can an aspiring head of state whose political duty it is to see to it that the capitalist constitution is not violated declares that she/he will serve the government of the day like a common vulgar civil servant? Is this the expression of some naivete or a mix-up of two terms: politics and party politics?
Is it possible to be nominated by a political alliance and yet pretend to be above party politics?
Is it possible to dare and be coy at the same time?
ARE WE SCHIZO?
For Mercy Pity Peace and Love,
Is God our father dear:
And Mercy Pity Peace and Love,
Is Man his child and care. (William Blake)
We’ve been blessed and we don’t know it. Mauritius is one of the rare places where we can study the scriptures on which the world’s great religions are built. The Bhagavad-Gita develops a profound philosophical concept: “Life is a contradiction”. Moreover we are made to understand our duties. The Old Testament reminds us that we are not the mere consumers of the vast wealth and resources of planet Earth BUT the stewards appointed to take care of a fragile spaceship. We will find the promised land only if we perform our duties as stewards. Moreover we are taught the importance of measure and proportion: “an eye for an eye”. The New Testament emphasises that God is LOVE AND MERCY, two prerequisites to build “a heaven in hell’s despair”. The Holy Qu’ran preaches the importance of sharing. At different moments the Almighty has sent clear instructions and guidance. The visionary poet William Blake did grasp this in his poetry. God is Mercy, Pity, Peace and Love. This could be the credo of all believers who want to contribute to make a better world.
But is it so? Instead of seeing links and continuity raising our understanding to higher and higher planes; instead of being prepared to receive new revelations in conformity with new times we prefer to build walls to seclude and cloister. Instead of being instruments of liberation, the holy literature is used to segregate, dominate, exploit and serve Mammon.
Recently there was a loud indecent outcry in favour of capital punishment and torture. Weekly published two articles denouncing this dangerous slide into barbaric obscurantism and inhumanity in contradiction with the spirit of Mercy, Pity, Peace and Love (“No to Capital Punishment” and “The Bewildered Wild Pack”). Now I often hear that the prison authorities are too soft with inmates and people would much prefer a return to Middle Age practice and hard labour. They believe that prison inmates should be denied human rights. I even heard in a phone in programme someone describe the Melrose High Security Prison as a five star hotel, complaining that tax payers’ money is being used to give ‘criminals’ a cushy life. Such complacency in blissful ignorance and non-understanding of modern progressive trends should shock us. Does it? People who claim that they worship the God of Mercy, Pity, Peace and Love find it normal that the spirit of revenge should drive us in our attempts to survive. They do not understand that rehabilitation is essential to build a better society, ensure security and reduce recidivism and crimes.
All religious literature so far were revealed in patriarchal societies and the language is inevitably couched in patriarchal and gender-biassed expressions. Modern scholars stress the need to reinterpret the scriptures. Very interesting discoveries have been made and new insights revealed with regards to language use and translation problems. Instead of probing deeper and deeper to get a clearer picture, there seems to be a preference for idle dependence on stereotypes, cliches and platitudes. We brag endlessly that we are open-minded when we instinctively seek shelter in the comfort zone of conformism. The term “God the Father” is a typical patriarchal term. As we move towards gender equality, should we not privilege the term “Mother-Father God”?
The dynamic universe is expanding; reality is changing; the new is replacing the old; new ideas and attitudes are emerging. We love to boast that we are modern but we are not prepared at all to question intelligently what we do, think and believe. Have we any role models which can inspire us? Yes we have. Visionary Sufi poets are the beacons of our time.
The Jesus of your spirit is inside you now.
Ask that one for help, but don’t ask for body-things…
Don’t ask Moses for provisions
that you can get from Pharaoh.
Don’t worry so much about livelihood.
Your livelihood will turn out as it should.
Be constantly occupied instead
with listening to God.
Can we hear the poet’s words or have we been made deaf by words “full of sound and fury signifying nothing”?
There is a general belief that religious literature is basically gender biased and sacred books cannot be used to promote gender equality. Yet sacred texts can become useful material in the uphill fight against sexism if properly handled.
Take for example the story of Adam and Eve. This is what is found in Good News Bible published by United Bible Societies. Genesis, ch 2, verses 21-22 (page 5) says: “Then the LORD God made the man fall into a deep sleep, and while he was sleeping, he took out one of the man’s ribs and closed up the flesh. He formed a woman out of the rib …” This is often used by male chauvinists to argue against gender equality. Yet some scholars believe that the use of the word ‘rib’ is the result of a mistake in translation. The Hebrew word used in the original is ‘tsela’ which means, according to Wayne Simpson, (‘Adam’s Rib’, 1996, distributed by the Biblical Research Foundation, 629 Lexington Road, Sapulpa, Ok 74066, http://www.jasher.com/Adamsrib.htm ) an entire side or half of Adam’s body. Moreover there is another word which might have been wrongly translated. In Genesis, ch 2, verse 18 (page 5), we read “… I will make a suitable companion to help him.” (my emphasis). The Hebrew word in the original is “azer” which “means not just assistance, but a significant and substantial kind of help. … Eve was made to be everything Adam was not. She was his complement.” (Wayne Simpson)
This new reading is in line with what we find in Genesis, Ch 5, verse 1: “(When God created human beings, he made them like himself. He made them male and female, blessed them and named them “Humanity”.)
The Koran is explicit on this issue. Sura 4, Aya 1 says the following: “O mankind! Fear your Lord who created you from a single soul. He created its mate from it …” (page 56, The Qur’an, translated by Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, GOODWORD BOOKS) A single unit is used to create a pair of humans of both sexes. The text seems to suggest that men and women were made from the same material and at the same time. So they must be equal.
Sometimes negative attitudes may be developed because of losses in translation. For example the Arabic word for menstruation is ‘adan’ which is often translated as ‘impurity or pollution’ when in fact it means ‘a sore’. Sexual penetration is not advised because it causes discomfort to the woman and not because she is impure.
In Hinduism “the Supreme Being contains both masculine and feminine traits. The female part is as important as the male part. One has to consider the feminine aspect of the divine, in order to know the ultimate truth. It is believed that all goddesses of the Hindu pantheon are special forms of the divine mother- Shakti. To recognize the feminine aspect, it is necessary to restore wholeness, completeness and universality.” (http://www.iloveindia.com/spirituality/goddesses/index.html)
Shakti (meaning force, power or energy) also refers to the active, creative and dynamic feminine principle in the universe that is often personified as a Goddess.
In some systems of Hindu thought, Shakti may also be worshiped as the supreme being and principle of the universe ultimately responsible for the creation of the phenomenal world.
In other systems of thought Shakti is conceived as the active force and Shaktiman as the passive one.
With so much evidence in religious literature to support gender equality, why is it that most religions discriminate against women?
The answer is simple. These religions developed under a patriarchal system whereby men had all powers. Re-interpretation of sacred texts by women and men who believe in gender equality and democracy is now a must. This will pave the way to a higher form of civilisation.
Tarif Khalidi writes in the Introduction to his English translation of the Holy Qur’an (page xvii-xviii), “Perhaps the most startling aspect of its rhetoric is the deliberate address to women alongside men, rendering the Qur’an among the most gender-conscious of all sacred texts.” Another piece of scholarship is “Believing Women in Islam, Unreading patriarchal interpretations of the Qur’an” by Asma Barlas (University of Texas Press, Austin). Reinterpretation of texts is a necessary process. Similar work is being done by scholars of different religions and open-minded Mauritians should study them and help others to understand.
YOU MAY VOTE WITH YOUR FEET
At the last municipal elections almost two thirds of the electorate refused to go to the polls. As a result there have been quite a few opinions expressed. The worse of the lot was the irrational, intolerant and totally subjective reaction of the prime minister. Some media people always quick to get into the good books of those in power spoke of his outspokenness. Was it outspokenness or just the uncontrolled anger of someone used to having his wishes translated into commands and who cannot accept ‘NO’ for an answer?
Universal suffrage is a powerful instrument of change if well used. It is also a complex system which demands more than a superficial, emotional response. There are four ways in which we can use our right to vote:
1. We can vote FOR a person, a project and a policy;
2. We can vote AGAINST people, projects and policies;
3. We can deliberately invalidate our ballot papers to express disapproval, discontent or disenchantment;
4. We can vote with our feet by walking away from polling stations to show that we do not trust any of the protagonists or that we think that the whole operation has become futile or senseless.
LOSS OF BEARINGS
There was first of all a political project, the SECOND REPUBLIC, which could have contributed enormously to nation building but it was so badly presented and packaged that instead of generating enthusiasm, it produced suspicion and skepticism. Both Dr Navin Romgoolam and Mr Paul Raymond Berenger are to blame.
For quite some time now municipal elections have been used not to develop local government and encourage local autonomous creativity and initiatives but to tighten up central state power control. Besides party diehards, very few people can be motivated to queue up to fill in the ballot papers.
There was a time when political activities were fuelled by conviction, dedication and a sense of purpose. Now everything is governed by lust for easy money and personal commitment has dwindled to paper thin layer.
Can we blame people who find the whole exercise pointless? Can we blame people who feel that politics, instead of being a means to reorganise and improve life on earth, is a close ally of big business and is under the thumb of business rationale and logic?
Important issues such as global warming, climate change, food security, gender equality, the major flaws of formal education, nation building prerequisites etc. are simply ignored and politics has become the battleground for character assasination. It is believed by some that bread and butter issues are all you need to generate enthusiasm. This is only partly true. The political history of our country has shown that great issues such as universal suffrage, self-government and independence have in the past fanned the flame of imagination and motivation of both adherents and opposers. The massive popular support for the MMM in 1982 was based on the belief that this political movement would prepare the grounds for socialism and nation building. Great was the disappointment.
The political discourse now is much more on insignificant details; it is couched in cliches and platitudes for most mainstream leaders cannot see the wood for the trees or prefer not to see for they are blinded by gifts and grafts. People in general do not feel involved and so bargain their support and yield it to the highest bidder. Ideals are dying in the stomach of horse-trading.
But when serious issues including survival become the order of the day we will be forced to shake off the superfluous to concentrate on essentials. Let’s only hope it will not be too late. In the meantime let us not be intimidated by vote-gorging gargantuas.
WRITERS ARE THE AUTHORS OF LANGUAGE
In his essay ‘A Defence Of Poetry’ P. B. Shelley had a prophetic insight when he wrote that poets are authors of language. Since then many scholars have studied the role of literature and among them we have Professor Terry Eagleton who has clearly shown how creative writing builds up the sinews and muscles of a standard language. If initially a language exists as an assortment of dialects or regional varieties, eventually through the creative genius of writers one dialect will emerge as the prestigious one and it will become the ‘language’ of law, administration and education. It must be stressed here that in the case of some European languages, the translation of religious literature has played an enormous part in the building of national standard languages.
In the case of the origin and growth of the English language Professor David Crystal’s research and writings (“The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language”) give us a clear picture of the evolution from a pidgin to a quasi-universal language. Other scholars have pointed out the role played by such writers as William Shakespeare (more than 10% of his vocabulary are coinage of his own), Christopher Marlowe and Ben Jonson in the making of the prestigious official language of the UK. The impact of the King James Version of the Bible in English has also been studied by several scholars including Melvyn Bragg (“The Adventure of English”).
The French language owes a lot to Rabelais’ creativity. His “use of his native tongue was astoundingly original, lively, and creative. He introduced dozens of Greek, Latin, and Italian loan-words and direct translations of Greek and Latin compound words and idioms into French. He also used many dialectal forms and invented new words and metaphors, some of which have become part of the standard language and are still used today. Rabelais is arguably one of the authors who has enriched the French language in the most significant way” (Wikipedia).
It is believed that Dante Alighieri single-handedly developed the Italian language. “With its seriousness of purpose, its literary stature and the range — both stylistic and thematic — of its content, the Divine Comedy soon became a cornerstone in the evolution of Italian as an established literary language. Dante was more aware than most early Italian writers of the variety of Italian dialects and of the need to create a literature and a unified literary language beyond the limits of Latin writing at the time; in that sense, he is a forerunner of the Renaissance, with its effort to create vernacular literature in competition with earlier classical writers” (Wikipedia).
The history of the German language is very interesting from this point of view. When Martin Luther broke away from the Church of Rome, Germany was not a unified state and there were several regional dialects of German but no prestigious standard German. When he decided to translate the Bible into into his dialect of German, he in fact was laying the foundation of a standard language for his country. This had a tremendous impact on the church and on German culture. It fostered the development of a standard version of the German language, added several principles to the art of translation, and influenced the writing of an English translation, the Tyndale Bible.
WHAT LESSON FOR US?
Those who think that nation building is now a top priority also consider the emergence and consolidation of a national language for the Republic of Mauritius as an urgent and essential task. What language planning strategy should we adopt? Which local vernacular is the best candidate? How should it be called? What links could be built between the Mauritian national language and the Mauritian official language, English? What will be the impact of linguistic studies on the language; the impact of creative writing in the language; the impact of translation of lay and religious literature into our local vernacular? Do we have the political will to succeed? Do we really want to become a Rainbow Nation? Fundamental questions have to be asked and answered. If we do, we will succeed; if we shy away, there is a price we will have to pay. Tomorrow will depend on our making the right decision now.
WHEN WILL WE EVER LEARN?
Mauritian business leaders with rupee glasses on their eyes; Mauritian political leaders with their sectarian specs; and Mauritian religious leaders blinded by traditional rituals are unwilling to take cognizance of serious ecological issues. They prefer ‘business as usual’. In this state of general mental lethargy we are fortunate that the very progressive Pope Francis has dared to raise his voice to shake us from our confort zone and warn us that we must act NOW.
SOME KEY PASSAGES
Key passages selected by Sarah Pulliam Bailey (The Washington Post, Reuters).
1. Climate change has grave implications. “Each year sees the disappearance of thousands of plant and animal species which we will never know, which our children will never see, because they have been lost forever.”
2. Rich countries are destroying poor ones, and the earth is getting warmer. “The warming caused by huge consumption on the part of some rich countries has repercussions on the poorest areas of the world, especially Africa, where a rise in temperature, together with drought, has proved devastating for farming.”
3. Technology based on fossil fuels “needs to be progressively replaced without delay” and sources of renewable energy developed.
4. Christians have misinterpreted Scripture and “must forcefully reject the notion that our being created in God’s image and given dominion over the earth justifies absolute domination over other creatures.”
5. The importance of access to safe drinkable water is “a basic and universal human right.”
6. Technocratic domination leads to the destruction of nature and the exploitation of people, and “by itself the market cannot guarantee integral human development and social inclusion.”
7. Population control does not address the problems of the poor. “In the face of the so-called culture of death, the family is the heart of the culture of life.” And, “Since everything is interrelated, concern for the protection of nature is also incompatible with the justification of abortion.”
8. Gender differences matter, and “valuing one’s own body in its femininity or masculinity is necessary if I am going to be able to recognise myself in an encounter with someone who is different.”
9. The international community has not acted enough: “recent World Summits on the environment have not lived up to expectations because, due to lack of political will, they were unable to reach truly meaningful and effective global agreements on the environment.” He writes, “the Church does not presume to settle scientific questions or to replace politics. But I am concerned to encourage an honest and open debate so that particular interests or ideologies will not prejudice the common good.” And, “there is urgent need of a true world political authority, as my predecessor Blessed John XXIII indicated some years ago.”
10. Individuals must act. “An integral ecology is also made up of simple daily gestures which break with the logic of violence, exploitation and selfishness,” he writes. We should also consider taking public transit, car-pooling, planting trees, turning off the lights and recycling. “What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?” he writes. “Doomsday predictions can no longer be met with irony or disdain. We may well be leaving to coming generations debris, desolation and filth.”
A PRAYER FOR OUR EARTH
Will we listen to the voice of wisdom or will we prefer short term gains? I only hope that we will heed Pope Francis’ prayer that can touch our thinking hearts and fill us with the milk of human kindness.
All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe
and in the smallest of your creatures.
You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of your love,
that we may protect life and beauty.
Fill us with peace, that we may live
as brothers and sisters, harming no one.
O God of the poor,
help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth,
so precious in your eyes.
Bring healing to our lives,
that we may protect the world and not prey on it,
that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.
Touch the hearts
of those who look only for gain
at the expense of the poor and the earth.
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,
to be filled with awe and contemplation,
to recognize that we are profoundly united
with every creature
as we journey towards your infinite light.
We thank you for being with us each day.
Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle
for justice, love and peace.
ENN LAPRIYER POU NOU PLANET
KONPOZE PAR LEPAP FRANÇOIS
(TRADIXION-ADAPTASION PAR DEV VIRAHSAWMY)
Bondie Toupwisan to prezans li la
Partou dan kosmos; gran kouma tipti
Gagn benedixion to gran labonte.
Vers dan nou lespri lafors to lamour
Pou fer nou kapav plant partou kote
Lavi ek bote; vers dan nou leker
Lape neseser pou ki nou isi
Viv lor sa Later kouma frer ek ser;
Fer boner grandi, fer maler kile.
O Bondie bann pov, donn nou to lafors
Pou fer nou kapav ed seki dan pens,
Ki san protexion – sa bann kreatir
Ki dan to lizie pli zoli trezor.
Geri nou lespri pou ki nou kapav
Okip nou planet, aret fer piyaz;
Pou ki nou kapav sem lagren bote
Anpes polision, destriksion fane.
Geri nou leker pou ki nou aret
Rod zis nou profi pandan ki bann pov
Ek planet Later pe kriye-plore.
Ouver nou lespri pou ki nou konpran
Valer sak kiksoz; gid nou santiman
Pou ki nou konpran linite beni
Ant nou ek tou kreatir liniver
Ler nou pe vwayaz ver to lalimier.
Mersi O Bondie parski to vey nou
Ed nou pou konstrir enn lemonn meyer
Kot ena lamour, lape, lazistis.
ALA KI NOU ETE!
Premie dabor, nou tou dan Repiblik Moris nou bann Afriken. Kifer? Ala rezon fondamantal. Apepre 100,000 a 125,000 an desela enn group 200 a 250 Afriken (Homo Sapiens) ti kit Les Afrik dan bor Larivier Omo dan Sid Etiopi e zot ti travers lesid Lamer Rouz. Apartir Mwayen Oryan dan Yemenn zot ti peple Planet Ter. Etid A.D.N finn demontre ki tou imen lor later, ki nou nwar, blan, zonn, maron, nou ena mem anset, anset Afriken.
Deziem dabor, nou tou nou Kreol dan Repiblik Moris. Kifer? Dan koumansman pa ti ena okenn abitan lor bann lil dan nou Repiblik. Bann diferan vag imigran sorti Lerop, Lafrik ek Lazi finn transform bann lil la zot flora ek fona. Akoz sa nou bizen rekonet ki nou Repiblik li pa ‘La Petite France’ ousa ‘Little India’. Li enn Repiblik Kreol kot Endo-Kreol, Afro-Kreol, Sino-Kreol, Islamo-Kreol ek Ero-Kreol viv ansam e pe kre ansam enn Nasion Larkansiel malgre ki detrwa tilespri pe rod blok nou devlopman otantik.
Trwaziem dabor nou ena enn kiltir Kreol ki extra dinamik. Dan nou Repiblik Kreol ena trwa lang Kreol: Morisien, Rodrige ek Angle. Savedir nou de lang nasional (Morisien ek Rodrige) ek nou lang ofisiel (Angle) zot bann lang Kreol. Kiltirelman nou tou Kreol parski metisaz kiltirel samem fenomenn nasional ki plis dinamik, kreater ek vivan.
Pou tou sa bann rezon la li enportan ki nou konpran nou responsabilite vizavi nou planet. Nou bizen fer tou seki nou kapav pou anpes nou planet mor e pou prepar enn bon lavi pou nou zanfan ek tizanfan. Akoz sa nou bizen adopte lapriyer ki Lepap François finn konpoze pou nou dimann Bondie donn nou lafors pou nou fer seki bizen fer.
ENN LAPRIYER POU NOU PLANET
Bondie Toupwisan to prezans li la
Partou dan kosmos; gran kouma tipti
Gagn benedixion to gran labonte.
Vers dan nou lespri lafors to lamour
Pou fer nou kapav plant partou kote
Lavi ek bote; vers dan nou leker
Lape neseser pou ki nou isi
Viv lor sa Later kouma frer ek ser;
Fer boner grandi, fer maler kile.
O Bondie bann pov, donn nou to lafors
Pou fer nou kapav ed seki dan pens,
Ki san protexion – sa bann kreatir
Ki dan to lizie pli zoli trezor.
Geri nou lespri pou ki nou kapav
Okip nou planet, aret fer piyaz;
Pou ki nou kapav sem lagren bote
Anpes polision, destriksion fane.
Geri nou leker pou ki nou aret
Rod zis nou profi pandan ki bann pov
Ek planet Later pe kriye-plore.
Ouver nou lespri pou ki nou konpran
Valer sak kiksoz; gid nou santiman
Pou ki nou konpran linite beni
Ant nou ek tou kreatir liniver
Ler nou pe vwayaz ver to lalimier.
Mersi O Bondie parski to vey nou
Ed nou pou konstrir enn lemonn meyer
Kot ena lamour, lape, lazistis.
27 OUT 2015
MO APEL MORISIEN
Mo’apel Morisien; mo kontan mo nom!
Me bann faner dal, bann kaser nisa,
Veritab gopia, lerwa bachara
Kamarad kamaron, latet makacha
Apel mwa Patwa. Eski zot kone
Ki vremem mo’ete? Lespri kabose
Mo sir pa kone mo torsenn kole,
Mo de larme sek: Rodrige, Angle.
Mo’apel Morisien; mo kontan mo nom!
Mo frer Rodrige, mo kouzen Angle
E nou trwa ansam nou konstrir bann pon,
Nou met lafaya. Nou pa dan dife
Parski touletrwa nou’ena nam Kreol
Ki tras lavenir lor bann lil Kreol.
Nou nou bien kone seki nou ete:
Nou pa pas siro ousa bat lakol.
Mo’apel Morisien; mo kontan mo nom!
Bliye roder bout; bliye bater bis
Ki frekant lisien, ki kouver ar pis.
Zot nat dan koutvan. Barlizour dan les
Pe anons nouvo. Nou finn pas tou tes.
Nou pa sap lor kal, pa gard dan leker;
Nou pa rod maler, nou kiltiv boner.
Nou ler pe vini: kiltir solider.
Mo’apel Morisien; mo kontan mo nom;
Mo bizen travay pou konstrir bann pon.
Pa gagn letan asize, ti lipie
Lor gro lipie; mo bizen inove,
Fer lavi meyer pou zanfan dime.
Pli bon ki sa? Pli bon ki sa gate!
Mo’apel Morisien; mo kontan mo nom;
Mo bizen travay pou konstrir bann pon.
Ena 1200 an desela Angle ti enn pijinn. Zordi li lang ofisiel plizier pei e anmemtan li finn vinn preske iniversel. 400 an desela Morisien ti enn pijinn, enn lingwa franka; zordi li finn vinn lang maternel 90% popilasion Repiblik Moris. Li osi lang nasional defakto nou ti repiblik. Li finn rant dan media, dan lekol, dan liniversite, dan legliz, dan teat, dan literatir ek dan diksioner. Pa kapav bar so progre. Li partou.
(Twelve hundred years ago, English was a pidgin. Now it is the official language of several states and a quasi-universal language. 400 years ago Mauritian was a pidgin; today it is the mother tongue of 90% of the population of the Republic of Mauritius and has become the de facto national language of our country. It is present everywhere. Its forward march cannot be stopped.)
POU NAD LEXPRES
1) Eski bizen entrodir Kreol Morisien kouma mediom dan Parlman?
Ki ete Kreol Morisien? Se lang maternel, setadir premie lang, plis ki 90% sitwayen dan Repiblik Moris e pou larestan 10% li enn deziem lang. Li finn fini vinn nou lang nasional defakto, senbol dominan nou idantite nasional, malgre ki lalwa pa rekonet sa.
Ki ete enn lang Kreol? Li pa enn form dezenere Franse; li pa enn patwa; li pa enn nenport. Li enn lang ki ne dan enn sitiasion kot dimoun koz diferan lang e trouv nesesite kre enn nouvo mediom kominikasion. Ena boukou lang Kreol dan lemonn: Morisien, Rodrige, Renione, Seselwa, Afrikaan, Sango, Bahasa Indonesia, Angle ets. Bann lang Kreol zot gramer bien resanble parski zot pros ar gramer iniversel ar lekel tou imen zenetikman programe.
Kreol Morisien finn devlop miskilatir neseser pou fer fas tou bann bezwen ki enn sosiete modern ena. Letid siyantifik lor so fonolozi, sentax ek devlopman lekzikal finn fini fer; zordi ena enn korpis literer solid dan sa lang la; tradiksion Labib, Bhagavad-Gita, Koran, Shakespeare, Moliere, Saint Exupery, La Fontaine, Prevert, poezi Soufi montre lafors expresif sa lang la; mediom prensipal nou kiltir teat se sa lang la (rapel Zozef ek so Palto Larkansiel, Les Miserables ek Godspell, Li, Zeneral Makbef, Toufann). Li deza dan lekol kouma enn size. Nou anvi, nou pa anvi, dan enn lavenir pa tro lwen li pou vinn mediom prensipal ledikasion primer. Peyna okenn problem pou fer li rant dan Parlman parski laba li pou zwe foul-foul so rol kouma enn lang nasional. Parski demokrasi se gouvernman lepep, lang lepep bizen prezan dan bann enstitision ki vital dan enn repiblik demokratik.
Me fodepa met saret divan bef. Bizen dabor entrodir literesi bileng (lir ek ekrir Morisien ek Angle) kouma size obligatwar dan tou nivo ledikasion repibliken.
2) Eski li kapav osi rant dan bann diferan lakour zistis?
Bien sir. Eski lazistis ekziste kan plis ki 60% bann akize/defendan dan bann lakour zistis pa konpran ki pe dir, ki pe pase, ki pe rakonte lor zot. Me bizen prepar teren la: bizen tradir bann lalwa esansiel; bizen form bann avoka, mazistra, ziz ek sefziz ets. Li pa difisil sa. Seki difisil se fer bann dimoun ki ena pouvwar e ki pe gagn li bonn dan sistem aktiel SANZE. Personn pa’le larg zot privilez e fer zefor aprann lir ek ekrir enn nouvo lang. Zot kont sanzman parski enn nasion letre ek edike fer zot per.
3) Komie letan bizen pou fer sa bann sanzman la?
Rapel ki dan Repiblik Moris zis 30% sitwayen posed literesi fonksionel. Savedir 70% dimoun dan marenwar. Ena enn bien gro travay pou fer dan domenn ledikasion. Fer sagren ki dan Repiblik Moris nou ena resours kiltirel neseser pou fer bann progre spektakiler dan domenn literesi me nou bann prezize anpes nou trouv kler. Nou lang nasional li enn lang Kreol; nou lang ofisiel ‘si li enn lang Kreol. Travay ki pe fer dan PREVOKBEK e dan bann prizon Moris montre ki literesi bileng an Morisien ek Angle li enn sime liberasion extraordiner. Kan enn zanfan finn aprann lir ek ekrir Morisien, kone kouma konstrir fraz ki gramatikalman korek ek semantikman koeran, lor vites li oper enn transfer konpetans e so konesans Angle grosi ek grandi. Dimoun bizen realize ki nou ena enn trezor ki nou pa konn itilize parski nou pa konn so valer.
Entrodiksion literesi bileng iniversel tousel pa ase. Nou bizen osi enn lekip dimoun konpetan dan Morisien ek Angle ki pou fer bann tradiksion ki bizen fer, ki pou form enn batayon treyner ek profeser, ki pou form bann tradikter ets. Si donn lekip la mwayen pou fer travay la, dan 4-5 an nou pou parey pou koumans enn revolision kiltirel progresis ek demokratik.
4) Kifer dimoun per ki nou pou tom dan vilgarite?
Zot prezize touf zot lespri. Dimoun vilger koz vilger; dimoun rafine koz rafine. Ena ki kwar ki nou lang nasional li zis enn form dezenere Franse, enn Franse kas-kase. Eski zot kone ki ena version Morisien Nouvo Testaman; ki bann Psom an Morisien finn konn enn gran sikse; ki Toufann pe ansegne dan liniversite Angle ek Zapone? Zordi ena zoli poem lamour pou Bondie, nou pei ousa nou bienneme.
Gete si ena vilgarite dan sa poem la.
SI ENN ZOUR
Si to pa la enn zour gate,
Si to bizen kit mwa ale,
Mosad pou ranz enn nik kot nou,
Fad-fad pou rant dan gardmanze,
Si to pa la enn zour gate.
Si zour la enn zour arive
Ler to soley pou al kouse
Meg-meg pou rant dan nou lakaz,
Eg-eg pou tas dan nou sime,
Si zour la enn zour arive.
Si to pa la enn zour gate,
Si zour la enn zour arive,
Mem to soley aret leve,
Li li pou la toultan gate,
Limem fer nou soley leve.
Kan sa zour la pou arive,
Mem mo tousel pa trakase,
Nwar-nwar pou rod fer so vantar,
Pa trakase, Li li pou la,
Limem fer nou soley leve.
5) Ki bann varyete Kreol ki ena dan Repiblik Moris?
Okenn lang pa monolitik. Li konpoze ar enn varyete dialek ek sosiolek. Franse Paris ek Franse Marseilles pa parey; Angle Liverpool ek Angle Edinburgh pa parey. Akoz samem li neseser ki nou konstrir enn lang standar. Lepep konstrir langaz; ekriven konstrir lang standar. Bann ekriven pran diaman brit ki lepep kree. Zot tay li, rafinn li; zot amelior so pwisans. Akoz sa nou dir mersi Shakespeare pou so travay lor Angle; Rabelais ti fer mem zafer pou Franse; san Dante Alighieri pa ti pou ena Italien; san Martin Luther pa ti pou ena Alman ets.
Enn Morisien standar finn fini ne atraver so literatir.
I HAVE NO DOUBT!
This year will see the great Fabian socialist revival in Mauritius under the leadership of a renovated Labour Party (LP), n’en deplaise à the Jugnauth Extended Family and the Berenger Mo-Mwa-Momem. To achieve this LP will have to undergo some painful but progressive changes.
The leader of LP is a stauch believer in the need and importance of economic democracy for economic apartheid is to be eradicated. We cannot call our country a democracy so long as FOUR families of ONE specific ethnic group own and control 80% of the national wealth. State power is to be used to curb the gluttonous predatory appetite of a handful of monopolistic capitalists and simultaneously empower small and medium entrepreneurs. To succeed in this field, national and regional LP leaders should learn to fight the neoliberal onslaught which is not only widening the gap between rich and poor, enriching a handful and impoverishing the vast majority, but also threatening our very existence on Planet Earth. Empowering medium and small entrepreneurs is not enough. State power must also be used to empower workers not only by improving conditions of work but also by changing the laws to enable workers to become shareholders and to participate in the management of businesses which employ them and also to have as rewards a certain percentage of profits made. LP national and regional leaders and rank and file (activists/militants) must be active at grassroots level to educate, sensitise and motivate people of villages and towns so that when they are in power they may get the support needed to implement the party’s programme. Armchair socialists, please keep off! The days of aspiring candidates, sitting on their bottoms and waiting for nomination day, are gone. So move your delicate behind.
All LP leaders and rank and file should be fully aware of the causes and effects of global warming and climate change. Money, status and ethnicity will spare no one. Food security will become a burning issue because we still import 80% of our needs. We must start growing what grows well here and eat what we grow. LP leaders and rank and file should master this dossier and should start changing attitudes and not wait for ‘kan nou dan gouvernman’. Remember that mindsets are the hardest to change. It demands painstaking work and patience.
LP leaders and rank and file should be active in the struggle for gender equality and democracy in all fields of life be it in politics, at work or at home. Gender parity should be a battle cry of the party. Together with this, the party should not be afraid to adopt new, progressive and daring policies with regards to gay and lesbian or more precisely LGBTI rights, sex work, decriminalisation and eventual legalisation of cannabis, rehabilitation programmes in prison, abortion, language policy in education, a change in lifestyle to fight obesity, diabetes and related diseases etc. A genuine fabian socialist does not shy away from these issues which should be discussed openly within the party and at grassroots level.
After 48 years of independence we are still not a nation for communalism is still rife and rampant. Nation building should now be one of the top priorities. Have we got the ingredients of a national culture? Will LP have the courage to go against the grain or will it be intimidated by conservative vested interests?
I have no doubt that Navin Ramgoolam as leader of LP will play an active and constructive part in this Fabian socialist revival, n’en deplaise à the Jugnauth Extended Family and the Berenger Mo-Mwa-Momem. To suggest that he is a spent force is neither here nor there. The LP and the republic still need him.
NURSERY RHYMES: SUPERB PEDAGOGICAL MATERIAL
Nursery rhymes are invaluable poetic texts that parents can use to communicate with six to seven months old fetuses up to the moment of birth. Research has shown that the ear of the fetus is by then well-developed. Here is the testimony of a father: Amazing! I spoke often into my wife’s stomach directly to our baby nearly everyday of our pregnancy. Well at birth the doctors quickly move the baby to a close by station to clean them up, slather meds on their eyes, tag them with an anklet and give them a shot. To which our tiny baby started screaming his head off. So I was standing nearby and moved closer and started to speak to him like I did everyday and he immediately hushed the crying and turned his head to see where that familiar voice was coming from. Everyone in the room noticed this and marveled. (http://liveactionnews.org/shocking-intrauterine-contents-can-recall-words-heard-utero-birth/)
Parents can use this fast-developing competency to enhance language skills of intrauterine babies. Read and sing nursery rhymes to them. This should continue after birth. The baby’s sense of rhyme and rhythm will grow very fast. Tongue twisters and nonsense poetry are recommended.
Take this example of a tongue twister:
Betty Botter bought some butter,
But, she said, the butter’s bitter;
If I put it in my batter
It will make my batter bitter,
But a bit of better butter
Will make my batter better…
The yet unborn baby enjoys the rhyme, rhythm, alliteration and assonance of the text. At this stage, meaning is of no importance. Prosody is fundamental. Nonsense poetry carries a similar weight.
Hey diddle, diddle,
The cat and the fiddle,
The cow jumped over the moon.
The little dog laughed
To see such sport,
And the dish ran away with the spoon.
We may also sing to the yet unborn baby:
Twinkle, twinkle little star,
How I wander what you are.
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.
This kind of preliteracy work should continue after birth and as the child grows parents should read to them more complex texts such as:
Thirty days has September,
April, June and November;
All the rest have thirty-one,
Except February alone,
Which has four and twenty-four,
And every fourth, one day more.
There are also scores of riddles like:
Little bird of paradise,
She works her work both neat and nice;
She pleases God, she pleases man,
And does the work that no man can.
Answer: the honeybee.
Or knee songs:
This is the way the ladies ride,
Nimble, nimble, nimble, nimble;
This is the way the gentlemen ride,
A gallop, a trot, a gallop, a trot;
This is the way the farmers ride,
Jiggety jog, jiggetty jog.
In the OXFORD DICTIONARY OF NURSERY RHYMES there are 550 in all.
Enough material for parents, preprimary and lower primary teachers.
You would be right to say that this invaluable material will benefit less than 40% of children who come from middle class educated backgrounds. What about the rest? Over 60%?
The good news is that a Morisien version of the 550 nursery rhymes now exists. Soft copies can be downloaded free of charge from www.boukiebanane.orange.mu (click DILO DIBOUT); Volumes 1 and 2 (book version) are also available in bookshops.
The bad news is that parents and teachers must learn to read Morisien.
MIND THAT CHILD’S MIND
Most people think that when a child is born their brain is just a blank sheet or clean slate. There is nothing further from the truth than this. Besides genetic endownments, the fetus-child is exposed to loads of information coming from both inside and outside the womb. Richard Berengarten writes in Imagems 2: “The developing human foetus is bombarded constantly by multiple sounds from its environment, the all-encompassing body of the mother. First, there are the noises that come from the interior of the mother’s body. These include the intermittent peristaltic whisperings, gurglings and swooshings of the mother’s digestive process. Even more regularly, the foetus registers the secure background rhythms of the mother’s breathing, and the pitter-patter of her heart as it pumps and pulses blood. Here is the beginning of every human being’s sense of music. We might call it a proto-music. In a study as detailed and delicate as it is profound and far-reaching, Giselle E. Whitwell collates and synthesises recent research by fetologists as follows:
Uterine sounds form a “sound carpet” over which the mother’s voice in particular appears very distinct and which the prenate gives special attention because it is so different from its own amniotic environment. These sounds are of major importance because they establish the first patterns of communication and bonding. Some researchers have discovered that newborns become calmer and more self-regulated when exposed to intrauterine sound (Murooka et. al 1976; DeCasper 1983; Rossner 1979). The soothing sounds of the ocean and water are probably reminiscent of the fluid environment in which we began life. Tomatis suggests that the maternal heart beat, respiration and intestinal gurgling, all form the source for our collective attraction to the sound of surf and may have to do with our inborn sense of rhythm. Prenatal sounds form an important developmental component in prenatal life because they provide a foundation for later learning and behavior (Whitwell, “The Sound Environment of the Womb”)”.
In Mauritius the general trend is to ignore all this and parents, teachers and society think that they have the right to write anything they want on the blank sheet or clean slate and are not aware of the damage done to the child’s brain. A good example is our attitude to language. Mauritius is the only place in the world where children are forced to learn the basics of literacy in THREE FOREIGN LANGUAGES at one and the same time while at the same time ignoring TOTALLY the womb language to which the child was exposed. Need we be surprised that 70% of the population are either semiliterate or plainly nonliterate. It is indeed tragic that in a country where schooling at all levels is free, we have thousands of children who after 6-7 years of schooling remain nonliterate, unable to read and write. The tragedy is both national and familial. In many middle class Creolophone families, children are forbidden to speak the language they heard in the womb and now hear outside the womb. I know of a case where an old monolingual Creolophone granny was ordered by Creolophone adoptive parents to use only French when talking to a newly adopted child of working class background. Try to imagine the stress and trauma inflicted on helpless creatures by powerful so-called middle class educated adoptive parents.
“The human ear is the first sensory organ to develop and from four-and-a-half months before birth the ears of a child are fully functional. In view of this, it is now generally accepted that a child hears in the womb and it already recognizes and indeed listens for its mother’s voice before and after birth. Tomatis has always emphasized the vital role that the mother plays in listening, and in therapy involving children with listening problems a recording of the mother’s voice is desirable. It is self-evident from this that, of all our senses, hearing is the primary one. In the beginning was the Word….” (Ella Williams in http://www.positivehealth.com/author/ella-williams). When we ignore this, we are sowing the seeds of disaster and we do it everyday with gusto. The result is already known. Only 30% of our population master functional literacy. Moreover the impact of our idiotic language policy has not been fully examined. There are renowned psychiatrists and neurolinguists who privately say that they suspect an abnormal rate of mental conditions ranging from bipolar disorder to schizophrenia. Do we know the link between this and criminality? But hush! Pa koz sa!
DO THEY KNOW?
Recently I heard the Prime Minister and the President lecturing to young people in a bland and uninspiring language and tone reminiscent of days gone by. The times have changed and they don’t know. Paterfamilias and materfamilias content and delivery run like water on a taro leaf (fey sonz). Young people today have a different culture and outlook and if we want them to listen to us we must first of all drop the arrogant and patriarchal style of “I know better”. Then we must address their aspirations and preoccupations. What are they?
Since the fall of the Berlin wall, the dominant ideology is that we have reached the end of history and henceforth the capitalist system will last for ever. According to the same ideology capitalism will penetrate every nook and corner without opposition; class does not exist; only individuals exist. Consequently individualism and selfishness are the motive forces of growth. Most media outlets distill and disseminate these beliefs unopposed and most young people think this is the very essence of freedom and should not be in any way associated with conditioning and brainwashing. Consequently most of them believe Marxism is a dirty word.
At school these are taught as absolute truths that cannot be questioned.
Those who do not go to school and are either employed or, for a very great number, are looking for work in vain for they are not properly trained or jobs are not available, look for immediate gratification in whatever possible ways. ‘Be rich’ is the song that tops the hit parade; ‘having’ is what matters; ‘being’ is rotting away in a dungeon.
Global warming and climate change do not seem to bother most of the young people; some may even believe it’s a hype. Once I told an assembly of six formers in a prestigious school that everything which they consumed had been borrowed from their yet unborn grandchildren. Some of them became aggressive and chose insults instead of arguments. I then realised that my words had shaken, rocked and disturbed their comfort zone and they didn’t like that.
Quite a few people tell them that the answer to the dramatic ecological disaster at our threshold is to be found in science and technology. This is true to some extent. What we should tell them is that a major culture shift is indispensable; that cupidity and greed should be replaced by solidarity and sharing. But solidarity and sharing are retrograde ideas for them. One university student told me once that he saw no reason why he should share his knowledge with others. He believed that amassing knowledge and keeping everything to himself was more profitable to his personal bright future.
Don’t tell our young people that we need to build a new culture and lifestyle. It will anger most of them. Don’t tell them that a new food culture will not only give us security but will also help us to enjoy a better health. Most of them will pour venom on you. Most of them are addicted to fattening fast food made in USA. There is now a new brand of young politicians who think that campaigning through Facebook is the lifeblood of democracy. They have never heard of mass education and grassroots activitities. They don’t believe in debates on burning issues. They think that the electorate will eventually vote for them for they are young and beautiful.
We must tell our youths who we really are: a nation of immigrants living on a Creole island. We must tell them what they do not want to hear: global warming, climate change and a sustantial rise in sea level mean that tomorrow will not be like today. It will be much, much worse. Not only here but throughout the planet. A lot of young people think that because they are educated, they will be able to emigrate to greener pastures. We must tell them that they are mistaken. We will have to build our promised land here. Human beings need grand ideas and ideals to drive them to action.
Mauritius is neither Little France nor Little India. It can become a rainbow nation if all men and women, young and old learn to share, work and live together.
Postscript: I wander whether many young people will read this opinion piece. How will the few who read this react? Will they say it is the drivel of a ‘vie siko’?
HEAD IN THE SAND FOREVER?
We all have our beliefs. But there are times when circumstances may force us to question them. If we are prepared to listen and learn we may adapt and adjust.
We may believe that the present language policy in formal education is good and productive. It has been there since colonial times; it has produced suitable and competent technicians and professionals to see us through from a colony to an independent country; from a low income economy to a middle income economy. Why change?
What are the main features of this language policy?
1. English is the official medium of instruction;
2. French is a compulsory subject and is taught as a second language;
3. There are several optional language subjects (Hindi, Urdu,Tamil, Telugu, Mandarin, Mauritian Creole etc.);
4. The mother tongue of 90% of school children is not used as medium of instruction to teach basic literacy.
Should we be happy with the outcome? The CPE results are a good indicator. Every year about 30% of our children officially fail. More than 7,000 children. These children are mostly non-literate and non-numerate (cannot read, write and count) after 6-7 years at school. Let us now look at the 70% who officially have passed. 40% may be considered basically literate and numerate (if I’m generous) and the remaining 30% can best be described as semi-literate because of the nature of the examination papers and a very low cutoff mark. Five years later only 12, 000 from an initial cohort of 24,000, will get through Cambridge School Certificate with different grades, mostly average, and a lot of borderline passes. Two years after that 8,000 will get the Cambridge Higher School Certificate. About one third of the initial cohort. Parents, teachers and political leaders seem to be happy with that situation, happy that we are pouring scarce resources down the drains. And yet we hear of our wild dreams of becoming a high income economy.
Are we really helping our children to become well-equipped to face the ever-growing problems of survival? I am not here thinking of high income but of a survival kit to face the consequences of global warming and other problems: climate change and food security; development of a maritime culture; a fossil-fuel-free world; nation building; a reorganisation of society based on solidarity and sharing; gender equality etc. To achieve all these, genuine literacy will be indispensable; oral culture will have to play second fiddle.
Prevocational classes have dramatically failed except perhaps for PREVOKBEK (as I knew it). The present Nine Year Schooling is bound to fail for the main cause of failure is simply carried over from primary to secondary.
What is to be done? In an ideal world we would have explored the merit of mother tongue literacy. In present day Mauritius, simply forget it! Most of us keep confusing literacy with foreign language learning.
Having spent 50 (fifty) years of my life to bring about changes, in vain, I will make a last-ditch attempt. Without rocking the boat and disturb people’s comfort zones, we may introduce Bilingual Literacy in Mauritian Creole (Morisien) and English as a new subject as from standard I. It should be compulsory but initially non-examinable and be taught for about 30-40 minutes every schoolday. After a few years we could ask The Cambridge International Examination Syndicate to help us mount ‘O’ and ‘A’ level courses in Bilingual Literacy which, I am sure, will be found intellectually and culturally stimulating. Does this idea have a chance of success? No, if each political group will use it to show their demagogic expertise. Yes, if the growth and welfare of our children have top priority. Coming from me, how will this idea be received?
I’ve always walked the talk. I have made it public that, emotionally and ideologically, I now, in the present juncture, feel closer to the Labour Party than to any other political organisations. But it is also known that I have walked a few steps with Paul Berenger, Sir Anerood Jugnauth, Sir Gaetan Duval; Xavier Duval is a friend of my family; Shawkatally Soodhun was an MMMSP politbureau member and my ‘collistier’ at the 1976 general elections; he was also the one responsible for the running of the trade union arm of the party (FTU); Alan Ganoo was a party political comrade. I have never denied my history. Can we shed our animosity and think positive?
Thousands of our children are binned every year. Can’t we all agree to support this project which will raise the standard of education and enhance the nation-building process at the same time? Can’t we on just this issue, avoid bickering and think of the mental health and happiness of our children?
I have already written a basic manual, “Training Manual In Bilingual Literacy”, which is available in bookshops. Moreover it can be freely downloaded from my website (www.boukiebanane.orange.mu). It can be used to train teachers and to prepare school material for primary and secondary studies.
Are we generous enough to forget our petty interests and give our children a chance of growth and happiness.
LITERACY AND THE BRAIN
What is literacy? It “is a fundamental human right and the foundation for lifelong learning. It is fully essential to social and human development in its ability to transform lives. For individuals, families, and societies alike, it is an instrument of empowerment to improve one’s health, one’s income, and one’s relationship with the world… A literate community is a dynamic community, one that exchanges ideas and engages in debate. Illiteracy, however, is an obstacle to a better quality of life, and can even breed exclusion and violence (UNESCO)”.
The acquisition of literacy and language learning should not be confused as is often the case in our country. We may want to learn several languages for different reasons but if we want the learning process to be satisfactory, we must first of all ensure that literacy has been acquired. How to acieve this? UNESCO has always been categorical on this issue. The mother tongue must be used.
Research has also shown how mother tongue literacy skills help the development of the brain. It boosts the organization of the visual cortex; it allows the area of the brain responsible for spoken language to be activated by written sentences; it refines how the brain processes spoken language.
School is not just about learning new information; it is also about improving brain function. Recent research by the neuroscientist Dr Stanislaus Dehaene, Professor and Chair of Experimental Cognitive Psychology, Collège de France, Paris, and Director, INSERM-CEA Cognitive Neuroimaging Unit, Orsay, France, indicates that learning to read actually improves the way the brain functions in several critical ways.
If the ideal medium to teach and master literacy is the learner’s mother tongue there may be circumstances which prevent this for some time. Mauritius is one such example. When the mother tongue has little or no prestige, it is rejected and considered non-profitable as medium. Then alternative strategies are needed. The Morisien-English bilingual literacy programme has been designed to reduce hostility to change while at the same time raising educational standards. As this involves major changes and the national political will being absent, I’ve had to look for avenues which may still improve the situation while reducing tension: introducing Bilingual Literacy as a compulsory, non-examinable subject. It is a minor change which will yield great results but it’s not the ideal solution; it’s only a makeshift.
Readers may wonder why and how this solution works. Mauritian Creole (MC) and English are creole languages and as such they share special syntactic features. A good approach can explore and exploit existing affinities and raise competence in English while at the same time continue the building of the national language which will positively impact on general nation-building efforts. Let us now look at some features that the two languages share while at the same time highlighting their differences.
At the level of phonology there are areas of difficulty. English is stress-timed while MC is syllable-timed; some English phonemes are absent in MC and can be acquired by much effort and practice. But at the level of orthography there are many facilitation features: MC and English do not use diacritics; both languages use capital letters for the first letter of names of days and months, the apostrophe (’) is used by both (don’t; pa’le) etc. The largest area of facilitation is found at the morphological and syntactic levels(see TWO DISTANT COUSINS published in Weekly last year).
Most importantly, skills and knowledge acquired through the acquisition of mother tongue (L1) literacy can be easily transferred to the learning process of a second language (L2) (English, French, Hindi etc.) This is what a UNESCO book says: It may not seem logical that spending more time in developing the L1 will result in stronger L2 in the long run, but that is because it results in stronger L1, building a foundation on which L2 learning is based. This has been established through over 30 years of research and practice in bilingual education. … initial literacy learning is much more efficient if it is done in the language the learner knows best, because so much of the automaticity and psycholinguistic guessing that are part of fluent reading rely on deep understanding of the language being read. Transfer between languages can be facilitated through explicit instruction of features that are not common to the two, such as phonemes, graphemes, and grammatical structures. Transfer happens even when the two languages have different writing systems. Learners are still able to transfer from the L1 to the L2 skills and knowledge such as reading readiness skills, reading and writing strategies, habits and attitudes, knowledge of text structure and rhetorical devices, sensorimotor skills, visual-perceptual coordination, and cognitive functions and thought patterns (Improving the Quality of Mother Tongue-based Literacy and Learning page 5, UNESCO).
Why are we unable to change?
ON READING AND WRITING
Speech is a unique human characteristic not to be confused with sound production by animals. We may talk of our organs of speech but there are no organs specifically designed to produce speech. In the evolution process the human race has adapted existing vital organs of breathing and eating to produce speech sounds. To produce articulate speech we use our lungs, noses, lips, teeth, palates and tongues. This distinguishing mark of our humanity emerged some 300,000 years ago and as a consequence of evolution it is now part of our genetic endowment. Human beings are normally equipped to use speech which is part of our natural makeup.
Does this also apply to reading and writing? NO! Experts believe that writing is a very recent phenomenon. Hieroglyphic writings appeared some 5,000 years ago and alphabetic writing came 2,000 years later. If there is an area in the brain which supports speech, a highly creative activity, there is no such area for reading and writing. This has been clearly, expertly and vividly demonstrated by Dr Stanislas Deheane.
[I would like here to suggest to parents, teachers and educational planners to listen to his online lecture (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSy685vNqYk). ]
To be able to read and write, human beings have to develop new skills by combining resources found in different areas of the brain. By so doing, the structure and possibilities of the brain are transformed. This is achieved through hard work and much effort and practice which do not come naturally. Reading and writing are cultural artefacts which are expressions of the ascent of humans, the rise from primary primatehood to very sophisticated homo sapiens.
Consequently the acquisition of these modern civilisation skills must be well-planned and not done in a haphasard way.
First and foremost is the language issue. Since the learner has to operate with existing brain resources, can we expect success to follow the use of unknown resources? The combination of visual and existing language resources in the brain means that the acquisition of reading and writing skills will certainly grow smoothly if the language known by the learner is used. Hence mother tongue literacy should be the first step. It has been proved that when mother tongue literacy has been properly mastered in terms of phonology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics, second language and third language literacy follow suit as a transfer of skills from one language to another takes place. However foreign language learning must be staggered if we want learning to proceed smoothly and generate profit and pleasure.
When the first and second languages share a lot of features, acquisition progress can be fast, even spectacular. In that sense Mauritius and Rodrigues are blessed to have two Creole languages which are complementary (Morisien and English; Rodrige and English). We just need the political will to use these resources intelligently.
There is also the need to use the most appropriate method of teaching. The phoneme-grapheme relationship is more natural and productive than the so-called whole word approach for this is the way the brain works according to Dr Stanislas Deheane, referred to above.
We have everything to make our children happy. Why do we choose to make them miserable?
READY FOR THE LYNCHING?
When an awesome tragic event strikes, we must all try, however difficult, to keep self-control and presence of mind. And much so when what we write and say may influence people. Since Friday 26 February when the horrendous Camp de Masque killing became known, there has been an avalanche of primary impulses and uncontrolled reflexes. It’s already bad when commoners think that they have every right to pour out their ill-digested knowledge wrapped in ignorance and prejudice; it gets really worse and dangerous when media people and officeholders start to fabulate and forget essential principles which should govern the freedom of the press and democracy which are certainly not freedom to spew out personal anguish, angst, stupidity or general hysteria. Some media people just opened the floodgates and then helplessly watched a massive overflow of passionate, irresponsible and dangerously unverified views.
Not only has there been a vociferous claim for a return to barbaric capital punishment, there has also been firm demands for the use of torture and a total rejection of all rehabilitation programmes. It seems that Mauritians prefer to walk away from civilisation in the company of Soodhun, Dayal and all those backward-looking dunces. What should forward-looking progressives do? Or should I say what they should not do?
Don’t tell them that they are ill-informed for you will be accused of pride, arrogance and non-respect for popular wisdom. O admirable people!
Don’t suggest that law courts are empowered to inflict punishment and the harshest punishment is the deprivation of freedom for you will be accused of shamelessly tolerating and condoning crimes and criminals by giving prison inmates a cushy life. The admirable people want revenge and blood although they claim to worship the God of mercy, pity, peace and love.
Don’t say that 85% of prison inmates are non-literate and as a result they cannot find employment in a society where we are moving from a dependence on oral skills to a dependence on literacy skills for you will be taxed of being soft on crimes and too lenient towards evildoers. O God-loving admirable people!
Don’t say that capital punishment is not a deterrent and it will not reduce criminality for these God-fearing worshippers will conclude that you have some sinful secrets which make you think that way.
Don’t say that at Melrose prison inmates are treated according to modern international norms for, according to these learned citizens, prisons in Mauritius are luxurious five star hotels. If I had the power, I would offer to these venerable, admirable sinless denizens of Tropical Paradise a free one week stay in those MPS (Mauritius Prison Services) five star luxury hotels. If I advertise this, I am sure demand would exceed supply.
Don’t tell them that we live in a highly repressive society in which people have great communication difficulties. Such a situation is likely to cause mental problems which may lead to violent behaviour. That is something they are too clever to understand.
Some want a general debate. Others want a referendum. Why waste time? 90% of the population have already made up their minds. They are in favour of torture and capital punishment for they argue against human rights and believe that public money should not be wasted on the upkeep of people found guilty by courts of law.
Don’t tell them they are wrong. They’ll curse you and pour insults. Sickening, isn’t it?
DUTY TO REMEMBER AND INNOVATE
If it is praiseworthy to remember the past, we must not be obsessed by it. If it is our duty to remember the inhumanity humanity is capable of (slavery, semi-slavery, attempts to set up apartheid in our country, modern slavery, atrocities and crimes), we must be fully aware of new realities and challenges which demand a new mindset and a new plan of action.
We were once a land-based republic. This is no longer the case. We have become a maritime republic owning and controlling 2.3 million square kilometres of sea and so must manage all these new resources in a new and creative way. From a land-plodding species, we must evolve into a seafaring nation. What does this mean? Master fully this new birthright; be fully at ease in an environment which has moved from the background to the foreground; learn to use the new resources to ensure our survival; study and use properly marine biology and marine engineering. In a nutshell, develop a new culture so as to be in our freshly endowed and newly acquired environment like a fish in water. This is tantamount to a major culture shift which will transform education, training, customs and mindset. Worshipping the past and not grasping the new reality is a way to ruin and perdition.
Global warming and climate change will bulldoze away old habits and reflexes in terms of production and use of energy. A new approach to land and country planning is to be contemplated with special emphasis on locally centered economies ensuring that each region, municipality or district is endowed with agricultural, industrial, political, educational, cultural, service and health facilities which are all sustainable and life-sustaining. For transportation and inland travel there must be an increased reliance on muscle and solar power. Creativity and innovation will have increasing importance.
Food security is to be considered as a top priority. The whole world will soon face scarcity. We will not survive if continue to rely on imported food at 80% of our needs. It should however be clear that food security is not to be construed in terms of producing staples we habitually consume (rice and wheat flour) but more in terms of new staples which are cassava, corn, potato and breadfruit based. It should also include a new food culture which will help us face medical conditions such as diabetes and obesity. Nutritionists and chefs will become cultural icons and education will highlight the benefits of good nutrition as opposed to junk food.
Several decades after independence, we are still not a nation although we have much in common. We are all immigrants living on Creole islands (Mauritius, Rodrigues, Agalega etc.). We have a common language (Morisien), a national music and dance (Sega), a unique food culture made of ingredients from all over the world, our different religions have much in common and yet we prefer to focus on difference in rituals, dress and mores. And worst of all, we place a high premium on pretence in order not to face reality. Consequently racism, communalism, homophobia, male chauvinism and hypocrisy are rife preventing us from charting a new course in line with the needs of the time.
THE NECESSITY OF ART
I’ve often wondered why over 30,000 years ago, all over the world, human beings, male and female, living in very harsh conditions felt the need to paint beautiful but awsome creatures on the walls of their caves. Why did they leave behind tracings of their hands? What did they want to tell us? Are these cave paintings there to tell us something about our past and future?
One thing is certain. They were not decorating their living quarters for there are no signs of ongoing habitation and moreover the caves are found in places not easily accessible. What is the hidden truth? Besides being the early signs of religious intuition, it is also believed that cave art was a way of saying to posterity, “I was here”.
Cave paintings also suggest that since time immemorial human beings have used imagination and the imaginary to grasp reality, come to terms with it and transform it. Art is a necessity.
Is this relevant to the present Maritime Republic of Mauritius? Do we need art in our development efforts? It seems that most of us think that art is a luxury, not a necessity. So it should remain in the background to beautify our bland existence and provide us with some leisure activities. We should primarily invest in money-based utilitarianism which yields immediate material gains.
Why is it so? There are, I believe, two reasons. Firstly capitalism as an economic system generates a particular mindset which promotes ideas, beliefs and behaviours conducive to the growth of the system. It is understandable that people feel that it is normal that we privilege activities which are materially profitable. Our mindset (mentality) is the product of the system in which we live. How often do we hear, “Mantalite bizen sanze”(mentality must change). That is something very hard to achieve and the stronger the system, the harder it is to change. The rapid growth of neoliberalism (market fundamentalism and financializasion) in our country has transformed the once-socialist MMM into an agent of economic apartheid; half-baked intellectuals think that politics must be ideology-free for they do not understand that ideology means “a system of ideas and ideals, especially one which forms the basis of economic or political theory and policy” and consequently every political party is powered by some kind of ideology. The second reason is that in the minds of most people art and culture are synonyms and this blurs their vision.
Culture is perhaps the most misunderstood word. Most people associate it with rituals, customs and traditions, a very limited and restricted meaning. A better approach is to contrast it with nature. Nature is “God-given” (for those who believe) and culture is “man-made”. From this perspective culture encompasses the economy, the state, science, philosophy, education etc. And ART too.
What is the function of art then? It certainly provides escape and solace but its main function is subversion, i.e challenging existing reality and contributing to positive change. Cave paintings reveal people ready to face a frightening reality; impressionism and cubism show that it is possible to see reality in a new way; poetry fights cliches and platitudes and in the process refines language; Mozart and Miles Davis tune our ears to new sounds and harmonies; Shakespeare purges our heart and soul through pity and fear; films have helped us to find emotional solutions by boosting up the thinking heart and so lead us to face agonising problems such as poverty, racism, homosexuality, gender violence, wars, or dictatorship and eventually reinforcing theory and practice.
Capitalism is good at commodifying everything, even the sacred. We need artists and philosophers to guide and empower us to prevent the onslaught of greed and selfishness which fuel the present dominating economic system.
OPEN LETTER TO THE BISHOP OF PORT LOUIS
Allow me as a friend to draw your attention to something you said which may be misunderstood as support to male chauvinism. Your appreciation of the importance of women as mothers deserves without any doubt to be supported but it may be used as an excuse by phallocratic males to place the burden of family care and welfare exclusively on the shoulders of women.
Christianity was born and has developed in patriarchal setups and has to adapt itself to gender equality, a modern outlook. Men should also participate in the welfare of the family not only as providers but also as carers. The days when men were providers and women were homemakers are gone. Men and women are both providers and homemakers. We should not deny men the right to look after babies and children. The only thing which women do and which men cannot is breastfeeding. Everything else can be done by men (bottle feeding, nappy changing, bathing etc.). There are men who are even better than women at that. I have seen gays looking after babies in ways which outshine women.
Moreover in the age of gender equality women strive to become top professionals and business, political or artistic leaders. They should be encouraged to reach for the sky. Maternal talents should not become an excuse to tie women to the kitchen sink.
The Divine Jesus Christ did send us this message. “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets, and stones those who are sent to her! How often I would have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you would not!” (Matthew 23:37). Maternal thinking is not to be conceived as a purely feminine trait but as a virtue of human beings filled with “the milk of human kindness” (Shakespeare: Macbeth).
Friendship in the love of God,
YOUTH AND POLITICS
Several voices have recently spoken on the need to get young people involved actively in the national efforts which aim at improving living conditions and general happiness. Most young people cannot be bothered, busy as they are with their studies or their smart phones. But the call has not fallen altogether on deaf ears. Two groups can be identified: head-in-the-cloudwalas and feet-on-the-groundwalas.
The head-in-the-cloudwalas are a new breed of aspiring politicians with bloated ambition, nitwit brains, little or no experience and enormous egos powered by arrogance. Their main line of action is to sweep all ‘old’ politicians and leaders into the dustbin of history to make place for the young and beautiful, a manifesto based on ageism and nothing more. They have no knowledge of how society functions; they know nothing about the dialectical relationship beween the economy and the state; they believe that state and government are one and the same thing; they think capitalism is permanent and immutable, has always existed and will always exist; they see themselves as unshakable stalwarts of virtue, principles and truth and they regularly spew out mouthfuls of abuse on their seniors or anyone who does not agree with them.
They are easily recognisable by the following. They’ve been to university and that makes them learned; they don’t think they can learn anything from anybody who has not been to a university; they know only a few bits from their areas of study and they think they know it all; they find grassroots work repugnant and unnecessary; they are born leaders predestined to run the country and so believe existing leaders, these old fogeys, fuddy-duddies (vie siko), these dinosaurs should have the decency to step down and out. They tweet and expect Facebook electoral miracles. They see themselves as national leaders with divine rights who deserve parliamentary seats and ministerial positions if and only if present incumbents kick the hell out of here.
The feet-on-the-groundwalas have a good knowledge of their environment, are aware of their limits and are keen to learn from their elders without relinquishing their dreams. They try to bridge the gap between generations, denominations, professions, localities, genders and orientations and are already good local and regional leaders with grassroots experience who by sheer hard work, perseverance and dedication will become, in a not too distant future, good national leaders. These are the leaders we can rely on for the future. They are not big-headed; they are open-minded; they will be able to cope with fast-changing reality.
There is no doubt that their influence will grow because they represent a blend of theory and practice. They will play active parts in the democratisation of the economy; in ensuring food security; in building and strengthening gender democracy; in developing the new culture much needed to face global warming and climate change; in promoting an innovating spirit to help us adapt to the needs of a maritime reality; in transcending ethnic loyalty to foster a national identity.
Our national poet, Malcolm de Chazal, used to condemn our inclination to feed prejudices. We have allowed racism, communalism and sexism to harass and hurt our brothers and sisters. Now some unscrupulous mentally-deranged brigand want to persecute people just because they carry many years on their shoulders. And they have the cheeks to talk of meritocracy and Mauritianism.
AM I TILTING AT WINDMILLS?
Recently there has been some controversy with regards to the speakership of the National Legislative Assembly (NLA). Different views have been expressed including the appointment of a non-political professional. Will this reinforce democracy? I doubt it.
Perhaps a simple solution can ensure fair play. Instead of considering NLA speakership as a reward for loyal boys or girls of the party in power let us elect as speaker an elected member from the opposition ranks.
Turbulence in schools has been widely and wildly commented in the different press outlets. Scapegoats are frantically looked for. Parents, teachers, administrators and children are blamed. Could it be that the cause is quite simple?
The colonial educational system was designed to produce an elite to support the governing body. It was caviar for a few. The campaign for independence spearheaded by the Mauritius Labour Party did put a heavy premium on education making schools more and more accessible. Now schooling is free and compulsory up to a certain age.
In the past parents and children were highly motivated as the certificate was a suitable ladder for social promotion. Can the motivation be similar when education is compulsory, free and open to all and is not caviar for a few? The main aim cannot be the making of an elite to support economic and political leadership. What can it be then?
To produce the required effect, the democratisation of education should aim at leading people from darkness and ignorance to enlightenment; at developing critical thinking; at raising free individuals who are aware of their duties to the collectivity; at enhancing the potentials of each individual; at making people functionnally literate and numerate etc.
It is to be noted that the democratisation process, in itself an excellent initiative, has not been accompanied by suitable pedagogical reforms to help us achieve the goals mentioned above. Consequently the right motivation is absent and for most children school has become an open prison where life is boring and pointless; for most parents school is just a day care centre. Will the proposed Nine Year Schooling change that? Nope! It will make matters worse.
As long as we don’t have the right approach, our children will be unhappy and frustrated. Repression will only fan the flames of rebellion and revolt. Reforms in the content of education starting with a new language policy are now long overdue. Without these, frustration will
“Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and caldron bubble.”
Until … I leave the rest to your imagination.
AN OBSESSION WITH GROWTH
I am sure that some readers will smile and say: “There he goes again tilting at windmills!”
Sorry dear! I won’t change. Too old for that.
At a recent SADC meeting the representative of the Republic of Mauritius spoke in favour of CHILD MARRIAGE. UNICEF defines child marriage as marriage before 18 years of age and considers this practice as a violation of human rights. Some of the harmful consequences of such child marriage are: loss of opportunities for education and emancipation; segregation from family and friends; sexual exploitation; early pregnancy and health risks; vulnerability to domestic violence; higher infant mortality rate; low weight babies, premature birth etc.
The meeting was informed that our country would not sign a protocol banning child marriage. All other SADC countries supported the ban. It seems that this decision is in line with government demographic policy to get women to have as many children as possible because for them a woman from the age of 16 onwards is just a child-bearing machine and not a human being. Two ministers have so far made public statements to propose a substantial rise in birth rate to counter the effects of an ageing population. They are champions of growth and productivity. Bankers and financiers do appreciate them and will surely support them at the next general elections. Are they right? Is there no alternative? Some philosophers and scholars have proposed ‘The New Extended Family’ to help and support our seniors and ‘Zero Growth’ to save the planet. In Paradise Island they would be considered ‘loonies’.
Opposition parties, NGOs, media outlets, opinion leaders and gender activists should put pressure on government to have the law which allows child marriage amended.
What is today known as the European Union started as a means to stop war-mongering European nations responsible for two world wars from starting another one. It did not mean the end of war but a mere shifting wars from European soils to the Middle East, Asia and Africa. Brexit does not mean the end of EU but the beginning of a new process which will see European peoples challenging the power of Big Money and Corporation EU. Eventually it will also see the demise of UK as we know it. Scotland which wants to remain in the EU will seek independence; the struggle to reunite Ireland will be intensified. England and Wales will perhaps form a new political entity.
What should we do besides moaning the loss of trade benefits?
Mauritius together with India and South Africa should explore ways and means to revitalise The Commonwealth of Nations and rebuild it into a peace loving entity fuelled by solidarity and sharing and ensuring that big money and corporations keep their hands off it. A true Commonwealth of free interdependent nations could be the end result. The peoples of all present members including England, Australia, Canada etc. will have to strive to help each other face economic and ecological challenges and attain sustainable development which is not a synonym of growth.
The spaceship Earth is already overloaded and development resources are not unlimited. The future is not in selfish growth and the rape of Gaia (Mother Earth).