On Honour Killing and other topics

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HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH defines "honour killings" as follows:

“Honour killings are acts of vengeance, usually death, committed by family members against female family members, who are held to have brought dishonour upon the family. A woman can be targeted by (individuals within) her family for a variety of reasons, including: refusing to enter into an arranged marriage, being the victim of a sexual assault, seeking a divorce—even from an abusive husband—or (allegedly) committing adultery. The mere perception that a woman has behaved in a way that "dishonours" her family is sufficient to trigger an attack on her life.”

According to HBVA (Honour based Violence Awareness), an international digital resource centre working to advance understanding and awareness of Honour Killings and Honour Based Violence through research, documentation and information for professionals who may encounter individuals at risk,  around 5000 honour killings happen internationally every year (a severe underestimate) of which 1,000 occur in India and another 1,000 in Pakistan.

Honour killing is more related to social and cultural practice and beliefs than anything else and it is wrong to seek the cause in faith.

Why then did Hon. Gayan choose to link honour killing with Islam and Pakistan? Is it because he too has turned into a fervent acolyte of the Modi-type monstrosity?

Trump in the USA is a white supremacist who thinks minorities should be less than second-class citizens; Netanyahu is a Zionist who considers Palestinians as non-humans; Modi the Hindutva/RSS ultra-extremist would like to exterminate Indian Muslims. The Gayans and the Varmas are their loyal servants.

The election victory of BJP has fueled ‘Hindu Rashtra’ enthusiasm in both India and Mauritius and the Modi crows are singing full-throated songs of praise for the new 56 inch chest demi-god. They are not only found in the MSM but also in the Labour Party, the MMM and others. 

It’s high time for progressives to unite and denounce right wing and far right politics; denounce the new militarization of the Indian Ocean through the Americano-Indian alliance; denounce the use of ‘Chota Bharat’ to pillage Africa; and most importantly to build a Rainbow Nation on our beautiful Creole Island.

On bilingual braille literacy

A sound pedagogy is based on the premise that literacy – the ability to read, write and count – should start in the mother tongue of the child and second language literacy should be built on the skills acquired in the L1 or mother tongue. Teaching basic literacy in a foreign language when L1 literacy has not yet been mastered does not yield good results and can even be catastrophic. In Mauritius, thousands of children go through their primary schooling – 6-7 years – without acquiring the basic skills of literacy because initiation to literacy is done, not in the child’s mother tongue – L1 – but in 2 or even 3 foreign languages (English, French and Hindi or Telugu or Urdu or Marathi etc.). If so-called ‘normal’ children are unable to cope with the present policy, children who are visually impaired are doubly handicapped as braille literacy is to be mastered in two foreign languages – English and French.

A proper understanding of the phonology of Mauritian (Mauritian Creole) can help us devise Mauritian braille and teachers who look after visually impaired children must also have a sound knowledge of the syntax and lexis of the mother tongue of 90% of our children.

When the basics have been mastered in Mauritian, the knowledge acquired can be transferred to the acquisition of English which is also a creole language whose grammar (syntax) is quite close to our language. Hence genuine basic bilingual braille literacy can pave the way to a vibrant bilingual braille functional literacy. At a later stage French braille may be introduced.

What is to be done

If the government means business and is not using delaying tactics to hoodwink people, this is what can be done. Work can start today.

  1. An amendment of the constitution must be prepared for the next sitting of the Legislative Assembly. Mauritian Creole and Rodriguan Creole must be made the National Languages - not to confuse with our Official language, English and our Semi-Official language, French - of the Republic to be henceforth known as Mauritian and Rodriguan.
  2. A committee of the House should be set up chaired by the Speaker to train staff and amend the Standing Orders of the Legislative Assembly to allow for the use of Mauritian. Members must be briefed on the phonology, syntax and lexis of our National Language.
  3. The Mauritius Institute of Education must set up a committee of trained creolists who are conversant with the subtleties and intricacies of Mauritian and/or Rodriguan and English to produce manuals in BILINGUAL LITERACY (B.L) for grade 1 to 9 (nine-year schooling). This special subject will make all children literate in Mauritian and English. It should be compulsory but NON-EXAMINABLE. It could be introduced in all schools in January 2020.
  4. The Mauritius Examinations Syndicate should urgently prepare the syllabus of B.L for forms 4, 5 and 6 as an optional subject and negotiations with CES (Cambridge Examinations Syndicate) should start NOW and B.L introduced in form 4 in January 2020. Students may take B.L at S.C (O-level) in 2021 and H.S.C (subsidiary) in 2023. Eventually, we could plan and introduce A-level/Main B.L.
  5. Teacher Training and Textbook Writing in B.L, if work starts now, can be completed before the beginning of 2020.
  6. In all villages and urban quarters evening classes in B.L will allow people to master reading and writing in Mauritian and English. NGO volunteers will be trained for the job.

Let us not waste precious time in committees and sub-committees which specialise in talk-talk-talk and no walk. LET US WALK THE TALK!

The Maritime Republic of Mauritius will benefit from this.

  • Economically, we will have a literate labour force able to adapt to technological and other  changes;
  • Politically, we will have a literate citizenry who will not need symbols to vote and this will make democracy more vibrant at grassroots and parliamentary levels;
  • Culturally, we will be able to develop a supra-ethnic culture and become a true RAINBOW NATION.

English (a Creole Language) has developed from a pidgin into a WORLD LINGUAFRANCA without an Academy to control or promote its growth. Let us adopt a more democratic approach and trust our universities, our pedagogical institutions and above all our writers and thinkers.

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