TV5 disappoints, Martelly gets the blame


It is peculiarly unjust to judge Michel Martelly’s performance in his recent interview with TV5 without consideration of the man reputation as a simple high school graduate whose public speaking skills come mainly from the entertainment industry. Our president is a conflicted man whose speech mangles the toniest of high-class educations, yet he’s still our president. Let’s be honest here, whenever Michel picks up a microphone only two scenarios await: either he sings beautifully or you just hope for the best. When it comes to the TV5 interview, I think he did well; we just fail to spot the disrespectful arrogance of the French journalists, which in my opinion was the most disappointing fact of the whole thing.

As a people, we tend to value style over content. Aside from an arduous minority, there’s scarcely a decent French speaker in Haiti. The inability to properly speak French is a flaw of ours, not just Martelly’s. As far as content, we don’t have much to offer politically to the world. We’re just trying, and that’s exactly what Martelly did, he tried. The average IQ of our senate is subpar at best. We can’t expect to compare our policies to the likes of USA and others. Martelly, to his credit, defended his policies in the interview. He talked about education reform, changes in the justice system, tourism, paying homage to Toussaint Louverture et cetera. Whether these aforementioned policies are effective or not is not the point of this column. What I’m trying to drive home is that for the first time in a very long time, we have a president who at least tries to show he has something to offer. Ludicrous or not, he has a plan.

The French journalists in my opinion did the interview with one thing in mind: this is going to be about charity, we’ll try our best to convince you that something is fundamentally wrong with you and your country. The very first question of the interview can be interpreted as a simple: “How can we help you?” How arrogant is that? Several times during the interview, Sophie Malibeaux asks the same question over and over as if she was expecting president Martelly to mess up the next time around or at least say what she was expecting him to say. Maybe that’s her style of interviewing, but to me, this is plain disrespectful regardless of the interviewee’s identity.

We have given up on ourselves so much that we can’t even cut one of our own some slack when he did us some good. I’ve been against Martelly on multiple occasions, but this interview isn’t one of them. Try to put a Haitian creole speaking journalist in front of the president and ask him the same questions, if you translate his answers, you’ll most likely see that he did more than hold his own. There was nothing mind-blowing in his answers, but absolutely nothing to cause such unnecessary press bashing. Then again, we value style over content and often forget that sometimes it’s ok to support our own; reason doesn’t have to always come from the high mind.

Marc Evenst Jean-Jacques

Mechanical Engineering, University of Florida


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