Showing posts with label On Being a Haitian Intellectual! The Haitian Intellectual. Show all posts
Showing posts with label On Being a Haitian Intellectual! The Haitian Intellectual. Show all posts

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Brief Reflections on The Crisis of the Haitian Public Intellectual

Brief Reflections on The Crisis of the Haitian Public Intellectual
by Celucien L. Joseph, PhD

The crisis of the Haitian intellectual is that he separates his academic interest from a life of service and activism toward the common good of the Haitian society and the Haitian people. He establishes a great distance and tall fence between himself and the Haitian masses he claims that he is trying to reach and redeem. The Haitian intellectual has no knowledge about the lived-experiences and lived-worlds of the Haitian masses nor does he have any interest to know or learn from the masses. He is not interested in forging a constructive politics of relationality with those who live in the margins of the Haitian society.

The Haitian intellectual isolates himself from the Haitian masses. He is not a servant to the Haitian people or the masses. The Haitian intellectual does not perform self-criticism in order to reevaluate his own conduct or action, thinking or ideas about the nature of things and his public role in the Haitian society as a social critic and a servant to the Haitian people. For him, leadership means an opportunity for one to get rich and be elevated to a position of power and influence—by any means necessary…including the exploitation and dehumanization of the Haitian people. He is devoid of any sense of servant leadership.

The conundrum of the Haitian public intellectual—both in Haiti and the Diaspora—is also his failure to mentor young Haitian scholars and thinkers. The Haitian intellectual sees the rising young Haitian scholars or thinkers in the academia and public sphere as a threat to his own hegemony, academic success, and sphere of influence; the emerging Haitian thinker is not seen as a collaborative partner or someone who can be mentored toward the common good of the nation of Haiti and the welfare of the Haitian people.

The Haitian public intellectual is devoid of any sense of public responsibility and patriotic zeal and love. Contemporary Haitian society is in deep social, economic, political, and cultural trouble because of the profound crisis and ignorance of the Haitian intellectual to serve and lead sacrificially and responsibly. He is a selfish individual who cares only about his individual success and his rise to the top of the ladder. He is an individual with no goals or objectives when it pertains to the development of Haiti; however, he criticizes those with a plan for Haiti’s development. He has no sympathy toward the Haitian masses but criticizes those who are trying to love the people and perform acts of kindness and compassion toward them.

The Haitian public intellectual is an individual with dazzling rhetoric, but his words are meaningless and lack of substance because they do not contribute meaningfully to the improvement of the Haitian condition in Haiti or in the Haitian Diaspora. The Haitian intellectual is a man of word only and not of action. He criticizes the Empire in the public sphere; in the private sphere, he is an ally and servant of the Empire and contributes substantially to the suffering and social death of the Haitian masses. He calls himself a humanist, but he made no humanitarian deeds to justify his delusional thinking. He writes prolifically about human solidarity and collective mobilization, but his life and actions contradict his own thinking or ideas.

The Haitian intellectual is not loving, serving, and aiding his own people. In the twenty-first century, Haiti has produced few engaged, responsible, and organic public intellectuals.The Haitian intellectual has failed Haiti and the Haitian people.

Monday, June 23, 2014

On Being a Haitian Intellectual!

 One of our contributors: Pierre Justice Lubin has asked a series of important questions that I would like to reproduce here for collective engagement. Pierre articulated these words:

"The word "intellectual," I note, is arguably one of the most loosely used words in the wide Haitian community. Truthfully, how that word is often used confuses me. As such, I innocently pose the following three questions: (1) What is the portrait of a Haitian intellectual? (2) How can one go about identifying a Haitian intellectual? and (3) What is not  a Haitian intellectual?"
Below is my (Dr. Lou's) attempt to dialogue with Pierre:

What is an intellectual? What is the function of the intellectual in society and culture?
Here’s what I think about “on being an intellectual”!

An intellectual is both a cultural critic and a problem solver. He is also a visionary leader who critically analyzes the life condition of his people and that of others, and that which holds them captive. In the same vein, he assesses culture, ideologies, movements, and the world of ideas, and unearths the roots of oppression and injustice in society. He is burdened about injustice, inequality, and the presence of evil and oppression in his community and elsewhere in the world. One can say that an intellectual is also a cosmopolitan. The work of an intellectual should appeal not only to the mind but also to the heart. We might infer that the ultimate goal of an intellectual is to work collaboratively with others to create a just and democratic society toward the total emancipation of his people. The thrust of his work is to create promising future possibilities for the common good. In summary, the intellectual does the following things:

1) diagnose the problem;
2) critique the present condition;
3) foster change and transformation through deep thinking;
4) propose new solutions and come up with new plans, ideas, methods, strategies to alter the present Haitian reality.
5) create new future possibilities and foster a new vision of life and humanity.

Above all, the intellectual is a servant to his people and to the humanity as a whole. 

What are your thoughts on this issue?